Massachusetts’ Best Research Universities of 2021

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.

Massachusetts’ Best Research 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.

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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

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How do we determine Massachusetts' best colleges and universities?

Methodology

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.

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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. There are 16 research universities in Massachusetts, 14 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best research universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a fully accredited university.
  2. It must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
  3. It must report high levels of research activity based upon the number of research and/or practice doctorates awarded each year.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%.

Best Research Universities in Massachusetts for Undergrads

  1. #1

    Harvard University

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

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    Cambridge, MA

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    What is Harvard University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1540/35

    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:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Brandeis University

    #98 institution's historical influence
    #167 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/31

    Waltham, MA

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    What is Brandeis University known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • History
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Tufts University

    #93 institution's historical influence
    #25 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    Medford, MA

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    What is Tufts University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Boston University

    #48 institution's historical influence
    #56 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    32K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1425/32

    Boston, MA

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    What is Boston University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

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  6. #6

    Clark University

    #263 institution's historical influence
    #469 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    4K

    Worcester, MA

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    What is Clark University known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Boston College

    #211 institution's historical influence
    #49 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    26%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1420/32

    Chestnut Hill, MA

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    What is Boston College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

    #149 institution's historical influence
    #953 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    29K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1290/29

    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:

    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Northeastern University

    #294 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    Boston, MA

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    What is Northeastern University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

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  10. #10

    Simmons University

    #1152 institution's historical influence
    #754 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/26

    Boston, MA

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    What is Simmons University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    #511 institution's historical influence
    #826 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    89%

    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
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Economics
  12. #12

    Lesley University

    #2466 institution's historical influence
    #281 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/23

    Cambridge, MA

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    What is Lesley University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Sociology
  13. #13

    University of Massachusetts Lowell

    #973 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    Lowell, MA

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    What is University of Massachusetts Lowell known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Western New England University

    #2520 institution's historical influence
    #756 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    3K

    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
    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Social Work
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