Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Massachusetts 2022

Liberal arts colleges are a great option for students seeking a well-rounded education in an intimate campus setting. The best liberal arts colleges in Massachusetts offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Massachusetts 2022

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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How do we determine Massachusetts' best liberal arts colleges?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! 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 in their fields of study.

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

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

A liberal arts college is a school that puts a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree. We’ve identified 41 liberal arts universities in Massachusetts. To be ranked among the 25 best liberal arts colleges in Massachusetts, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Massachusetts 2022

  1. #1

    Amherst College

    Amherst , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    What is Amherst College known for?

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

    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Law
    • Sociology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Williams College

    Williamstown , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    15%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

    What is Williams College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Wellesley College

    Wellesley , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    What is Wellesley College known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • History
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    College of the Holy Cross

    Worcester , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    What is College of the Holy Cross known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #6

    Mount Holyoke College

    South Hadley , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Mount Holyoke College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Suffolk University

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/23

    What is Suffolk University known for?

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

    • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • History
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #8

    Hampshire College

    Amherst , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Hampshire College known for?

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

    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Emerson College

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    41%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1305/29

    What is Emerson College known for?

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

    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #10

    Bentley University

    Waltham , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

    What is Bentley University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Stonehill College

    Easton , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Stonehill College known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/25

    What is Wentworth Institute of Technology known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  12. #13

    Bard College at Simon's Rock

    Great Barrington , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $64K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Bard College at Simon's Rock known for?

    Bard College at Simon's Rock’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Cambridge College

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Cambridge College known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Westfield State University

    Westfield , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    What is Westfield State University known for?

    Westfield State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Salem State University

    Salem , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/21

    What is Salem State University known for?

    Salem State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Springfield College

    Springfield , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    What is Springfield College known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  17. #18

    Bridgewater State University

    Bridgewater , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/22

    What is Bridgewater State University known for?

    Bridgewater State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #19

    Gordon College

    Wenham , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    What is Gordon College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  19. #20

    Fitchburg State University

    Fitchburg , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/21

    What is Fitchburg State University known for?

    Fitchburg State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Wheaton College

    Norton , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Wheaton College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Anthropology
    • Medical
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  21. #22

    Anna Maria College

    Paxton , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Anna Maria College known for?

    Anna Maria College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Law
    • History
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  22. #23

    Endicott College

    Beverly , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Endicott College known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  23. #24

    Merrimack College

    North Andover , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Merrimack College known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  24. #25

    Bay State College

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    34%

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Bay State College known for?

    Bay State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
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Find the Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Massachusetts for Your Area of Interest

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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Resources for College-Bound Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Amherst College
  2. Hampshire College
  3. Wellesley College
  4. Williams College
  5. Smith College
  6. Mount Holyoke College
  7. Emerson College
  8. College of the Holy Cross
  9. Stonehill College
  10. Wheaton College
  11. Bentley University
  12. Gordon College
  13. Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  14. Springfield College
  15. Emmanuel College
  16. Wentworth Institute of Technology
  17. Merrimack College
  18. Endicott College
  19. Elms College
  20. Bay Path University