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.

Best Public 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.


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.

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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.

How do we determine Massachusetts' best public colleges and universities?

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.

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Best Public Colleges in Massachusetts 2022

  1. Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    29K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1290/29

    What is University of Massachusetts Amherst known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    13K

    What is University of Massachusetts Boston known for?

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

    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    What is University of Massachusetts Lowell known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Physics
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

    North Dartmouth , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/21

    What is University of Massachusetts Dartmouth known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    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

  6. #6

    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

  7. #7

    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

  8. #8

    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

  9. #9

    Worcester State University

    Worcester , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Worcester State University known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Physics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #10

    Framingham State University

    Framingham , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/22

    What is Framingham State University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • History
    • Literature
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/22

    What is Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts known for?

    Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #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:

    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

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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

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