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.

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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Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Massachusetts' best colleges and universities?

The best colleges pound for pound!

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 call 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. Harvard University
    #1

    Harvard University

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

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1520/34

    Cambridge, MA

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    What is Harvard University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Law
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    #2

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1535/35

    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:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Earth Sciences
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Amherst College
    #3

    Amherst College

    #89 institution's overall influence
    #26 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    13%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

    Amherst, MA

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    What is Amherst College known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Law
    • Literature
    • Earth Sciences
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Brandeis University
    #4

    Brandeis University

    #86 institution's overall influence
    #167 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/31

    Waltham, MA

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    What is Brandeis University known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Hampshire College
    #5

    Hampshire College

    #432 institution's overall influence
    #955 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    65%

    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:

    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Tufts University
    #6

    Tufts University

    #69 institution's overall influence
    #25 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    15%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1455/32

    Medford, MA

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    What is Tufts University known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Economics
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Wellesley College
    #7

    Wellesley College

    #133 institution's overall influence
    #33 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1425/32

    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
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Williams College
    #8

    Williams College

    #151 institution's overall influence
    #27 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    13%

    Graduation

    94%

    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:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Smith College
    #9

    Smith College

    #157 institution's overall influence
    #111 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    89%

    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:

    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Mount Holyoke College
    #10

    Mount Holyoke College

    #226 institution's overall influence
    #228 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1395/30

    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
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Psychology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Boston University
    #11

    Boston University

    #37 institution's overall influence
    #56 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    22%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    30K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/31

    Boston, MA

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    What is Boston University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Earth Sciences
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Law
    • History
    • Medical
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Clark University
    #12

    Clark University

    #198 institution's overall influence
    #469 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    59%

    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
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. Emerson College
    #13

    Emerson College

    #436 institution's overall influence
    #1246 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1295/28

    Boston, MA

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    What is Emerson College known for?

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

    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. Boston College
    #14

    Boston College

    #272 institution's overall influence
    #49 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    28%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1405/32

    Chestnut Hill, MA

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    What is Boston College known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. College of the Holy Cross
    #15

    College of the Holy Cross

    #417 institution's overall influence
    #134 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    3K

    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:

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. University of Massachusetts Amherst
    #16

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

    #132 institution's overall influence
    #953 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1295/28

    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:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. Northeastern University
    #17

    Northeastern University

    #301 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    19%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1450/33

    Boston, MA

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    What is Northeastern University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. Simmons University
    #18

    Simmons University

    #1067 institution's overall influence
    #754 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1215/27

    Boston, MA

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    What is Simmons University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    #19

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    #489 institution's overall influence
    #826 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $51K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    86%

    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
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Communications
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. Stonehill College
    #20

    Stonehill College

    #1478 institution's overall influence
    #367 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    80%

    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:

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. Wheaton College
    #21

    Wheaton College

    #1243 institution's overall influence
    #822 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1265/29

    Norton, MA

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    What is Wheaton College known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. Bentley University
    #22

    Bentley University

    #1155 institution's overall influence
    #217 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    43%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1325/30

    Waltham, MA

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    What is Bentley University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. Gordon College
    #23

    Gordon College

    #1725 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1167/26

    Wenham, MA

    View profile

    What is Gordon College known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. Springfield College
    #24

    Springfield College

    #2047 institution's overall influence
    #1057 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/24

    Springfield, MA

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    What is Springfield College known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • History
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. Western New England University
    #25

    Western New England University

    #2561 institution's overall influence
    #756 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    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
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

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