Best Research Universities in Massachusetts 2022

Interested in attending a STEM school in Massachusetts? Our ranking of top research universities for bachelor’s degrees displays schools that will best prepare you for STEM careers.

Best Research Universities 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

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Massachusetts's best 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.

A research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Research universities invest heavily in research, which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. We’ve identified 16 research universities in Massachusetts. To be included in our ranking, schools must be a fully accredited universities and must must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

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Best Research Universities in Massachusetts 2022

  1. #1

    Harvard University

    Cambridge , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    What is Harvard University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1540/35

    What is Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. 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

  4. #8

    Northeastern University

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    What is Northeastern University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #9

    Clark University

    Worcester , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Clark University known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #10

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Worcester , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Worcester Polytechnic Institute known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. #13

    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
  10. #14

    Western New England University

    Springfield , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Western New England University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #15

    Lesley University

    Cambridge , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/23

    What is Lesley University known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #16

    Simmons University

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/26

    What is Simmons University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

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Find the Best Research Universities 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. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. Brandeis University
  4. Tufts University
  5. Boston University
  6. Clark University
  7. Boston College
  8. University of Massachusetts Amherst
  9. Northeastern University
  10. Simmons University
  11. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  12. Lesley University
  13. University of Massachusetts Lowell
  14. Western New England University