Best Public Colleges in Massachusetts 2022

Best Public Colleges in Massachusetts 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Massachusetts provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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.


What are Massachusetts’ Colleges & Universities?

Massachusetts’ Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

Massachusetts's Best Public Colleges Badge
Download Badge

This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 12 public universities in Massachusetts. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Massachusetts, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

Back to Top

Best Public Colleges in Massachusetts 2022

  1. Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    29K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1290/29

    University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality And Tourism Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS or AS in Sustainable Food And Farming
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Film And Media Studies
    • Arts Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Accounting
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Finance
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Marketing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MPH in Nutrition
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 47
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    13K

  3. Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Online Degrees

    BLA in Liberal Arts
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Finance
    • International Business
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 122
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Paralegal
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Finance
    • International Business
    • Management
    • Management Information Systems
    • Marketing
    • General Program of Study
    • Required Credits: 120-122 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology – Second Degree
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Arts
    Degree Concentrations
    • Art History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • English
    • Gender Studies
    • Graphic Design
    • History
    • Legal Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/21

    University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Crime and Justice Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Economics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Economics: Healthcare Services Administration Concentration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English Literature And Criticism
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Arts
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Medical Laboratory Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120 overall
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management-Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management Information Systems
    Degree Concentrations
    • E-Commerce/Digital Business
    • Technology & Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Operations Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Public Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology and Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    Westfield State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 75
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 42
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Finance
    • Required Credits: 75
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 75
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/21

    Salem State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Fire Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/22

    Bridgewater State University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Communication Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Communication and Media Studies
    • Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/21

    Fitchburg State University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 32
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/22

  10. #12

    Massachusetts Maritime Academy

    Buzzards Bay , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/21

    What is Massachusetts Maritime Academy known for?

    Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

Back to Top

Find the best public college in Massachusetts in your area of interest

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. University of Massachusetts Amherst
  2. University of Massachusetts Lowell
  3. Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  4. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  5. Fitchburg State University
  6. Worcester State University
  7. Framingham State University
  8. Salem State University
  9. Bridgewater State University
  10. Westfield State University

Check out our directory of public colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top public colleges in every state.