Massachusetts’ Best Colleges and Universities of 2021

Here are the best colleges and universities in Massachusetts. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you.

Massachusetts’ Best Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts

Some of the most talked about universities in Massachusetts are its private schools, including Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which also happen to be the largest. Tuition for these prestigious schools runs between $50,000 and $54,000. Students here have access to some of the top programs in the country in fields such as biology, literature, law, education, engineering, and religious studies. The alumni from New England schools are equally as impressive, including Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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The public higher education institutes also boast top-notch programs, allowing students to pursue associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields like mathematics, social work, medicine, and economics. The University of Massachusetts Amherst, the state’s largest public university, offers tuition around $16,000 and serves over 28,000 students. Additionally, students who are interested in attending a religiously affiliated school have 17 options to choose from, most of which feature high graduation rates for their students. For future dental, medical, or mental health professionals, Massachusetts also offers loan forgiveness programs for those working in underserved communities.

As the port of destination for the Mayflower, home to the Plymouth colony, and site of the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts looms large in United States history, but this most populous New England state isn’t just for history buffs. The Bay State is also known for its delicious cuisine, beautiful coastlines, and devout sports fans. Not to mention, it has over 100 colleges for students to choose from.

Find a program that’s right for you and explore the best schools Massachusetts has to offer.

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What are Massachusetts’ Colleges & Universities?

Massachusetts’ Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Massachusetts' best colleges and universities?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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Every fall, more than 2 million high-school graduates will enroll in colleges and universities across the United States. Finding the best college for your educational, personal, and professional goals may be challenging. The purpose of this ranking is to help you manage this challenge with an accurate, objective, and up-to-date ranking of the best colleges and universities in Massachusetts for earning a bachelor’s degree.

We’ve identified a total of 59 colleges and universities in Massachusetts, 46 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the 25 best schools in the state focuses on those that offer four-year undergraduate degrees, includes both public and private colleges and universities, and also meet the following two conditions:

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%.

25 Best Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts

  1. #1

    Harvard University

    #1 institution's historical influence
    #2 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    Cambridge, MA

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    What is Harvard University known for?

    Harvard University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    #9 institution's historical influence
    #3 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1540/35

    Cambridge, MA

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    What is Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for?

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Amherst College

    #112 institution's historical influence
    #26 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    Amherst, MA

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    What is Amherst College known for?

    Amherst College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Brandeis University

    #92 institution's historical influence
    #167 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/31

    Waltham, MA

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    What is Brandeis University known for?

    Brandeis University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • History
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Hampshire College

    #623 institution's historical influence
    #955 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    1K

    Amherst, MA

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    What is Hampshire College known for?

    Hampshire College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Tufts University

    #88 institution's historical influence
    #25 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    Medford, MA

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    What is Tufts University known for?

    Tufts University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering
    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Wellesley College

    #187 institution's historical influence
    #33 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    Wellesley, MA

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    What is Wellesley College known for?

    Wellesley College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • History
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Williams College

    #164 institution's historical influence
    #27 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    15%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

    Williamstown, MA

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    What is Williams College known for?

    Williams College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Smith College

    #154 institution's historical influence
    #111 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    3K

    Northampton, MA

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    What is Smith College known for?

    Smith College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Mount Holyoke College

    #278 institution's historical influence
    #228 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    3K

    South Hadley, MA

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    What is Mount Holyoke College known for?

    Mount Holyoke College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Boston University

    #46 institution's historical influence
    #56 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1425/32

    Boston, MA

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    What is Boston University known for?

    Boston University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

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  12. #12

    Clark University

    #263 institution's historical influence
    #469 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    3K

    Worcester, MA

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    What is Clark University known for?

    Clark University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Emerson College

    #708 institution's historical influence
    #1246 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    41%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1305/29

    Boston, MA

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    What is Emerson College known for?

    Emerson College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Boston College

    #197 institution's historical influence
    #49 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    26%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1420/32

    Chestnut Hill, MA

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    What is Boston College known for?

    Boston College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    College of the Holy Cross

    #418 institution's historical influence
    #134 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    Worcester, MA

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    What is College of the Holy Cross known for?

    College of the Holy Cross’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Communications
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

    #141 institution's historical influence
    #953 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1290/29

    Amherst, MA

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    What is University of Massachusetts Amherst known for?

    University of Massachusetts Amherst’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Engineering
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    Northeastern University

    #285 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    Boston, MA

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    What is Northeastern University known for?

    Northeastern University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  18. #18

    Simmons University

    #1147 institution's historical influence
    #754 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/26

    Boston, MA

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    What is Simmons University known for?

    Simmons University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
  19. #19

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    #503 institution's historical influence
    #826 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    7K

    Worcester, MA

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    What is Worcester Polytechnic Institute known for?

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Economics
  20. #20

    Stonehill College

    #1607 institution's historical influence
    #367 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    3K

    Easton, MA

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    What is Stonehill College known for?

    Stonehill College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #21

    Wheaton College

    #1304 institution's historical influence
    #822 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    2K

    Norton, MA

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    What is Wheaton College known for?

    Wheaton College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  22. #22

    Bentley University

    #1770 institution's historical influence
    #217 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

    Waltham, MA

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    What is Bentley University known for?

    Bentley University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #23

    Gordon College

    #1670 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    Wenham, MA

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    What is Gordon College known for?

    Gordon College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  24. #24

    Springfield College

    #1862 institution's historical influence
    #1057 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    Springfield, MA

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    What is Springfield College known for?

    Springfield College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • History
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #25

    Western New England University

    #2307 institution's historical influence
    #756 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    3K

    Springfield, MA

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    What is Western New England University known for?

    Western New England University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Economics
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    REQUEST INFO

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