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What are the Best Colleges In Massachusetts?

Updated: July 12, 2022 | Published: May 14, 2021

Updated: July 12, 2022

Published: May 14, 2021


If you’re considering where to apply for college and you want to go to some of the best schools out there, then chances are you may be looking at a few schools in the state of Massachusetts. The Codfish State is home to some of the best schools there are, but it may cost you a pretty penny to attend. So, is it worth it to attend one of the best colleges in Massachusetts for the quality of degree you’ll get, or are there alternatives?

About Colleges in Massachusetts

Some of the best movies made about college have taken place in Massachusetts. The Social Network, Good Will Hunting, and 21 are just a few that have all taken place in this state that has some of the best colleges not just in the country, but in the world.

Many students are interested in attending college in Massachusetts because of the caliber of schools in the state, but with so many excellent institutions of higher education, how can you choose?

The Best Colleges in Massachusetts

With two Ivy League schools in the state along with many other globally recognized universities, colleges in Massachusetts are known all over the world. Because of this, students from not just the United States but from abroad will also be applying to universities in this state, too. These are some of the best schools, but how do they measure up?

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Photo by Michael Baccin on Unsplash

Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, otherwise known as MIT, is one of the best institutions of higher education in the whole country, and certainly one of the best in the state. It is one of the largest producers of STEM professionals out there, with a mission “To make a better world through education, research, and innovation.”

These graduates have created industries, jobs, and technologies that have changed the world. To get into MIT, you need to be at the top of your class in high school. At MIT, you’ll join a student body of more than 11,000 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Harvard University

Harvard University is recognized all over the world, and for good reason. The school is not just one of the best colleges in Massachusetts, but considered one of the best in the world as an Ivy League institution. Also located in Cambridge, with another campus in Boston, the school is home to more than 20,000 students who Harvard believes will make a difference globally once they graduate, no matter their discipline. However, Harvard Law and Harvard Business seem to get the most attention.

The school is dedicated to “excellence in teaching, learning, and research,” and is a private four-year school with only a 5% admission rate. The good news is if you can manage to get in, the school offers generous financial aid packages.

Tufts University

Tufts University is a private research university that combines a liberal arts approach with research and a unique personal experience for students who attend. The school is “dedicated to the creation and application of knowledge” and encourages innovation and creativity in students while providing a collaborative environment to “generate bold ideas.”

In particular, the school is a good choice for students interested in entering a career in public service and international relations. It’s located in Medford/Somerville, and is one of the oldest universities in Massachusetts.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

If research is one of the reasons you want to attend a university in Massachusetts, then the University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the most well-known public research universities in the country, and the largest public university in New England.

There are almost 25,000 students and 109 bachelor’s degree programs to choose from. UMass Amherst, as it’s often called, is a “research powerhouse” and “devoted to diversity.”

Best of all, Money Magazine ranks this school as one of the best colleges for your money in 2019, in addition to the stellar education it offers.

Northeastern University

As you can see, many schools in Massachusetts are known for their research programs. Northeastern University is no exception, and prides itself on being a top tier school for “Highest Research Activity.”

The school is a private university that is also well known for engineering biomedical science programs. Their co-op and study abroad programs make it an exciting option for students who want to take their education a step further through experiential learning.

Boston College

Yet another school known for research, Boston College is a private Jesuit research university. Boston College is located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. It’s the first institution of higher education to operate in Boston, and the school encourages students to ask questions and learn how they will use their knowledge to help the world at large.

The school has nearly 15,000 students and offers 58 majors to choose from.

Boston University

Not to be confused with Boston College, Boston University is also a private research university located in the state’s capital city. The school welcomes over 35,000 students from all over the world, and offers over 300 programs of study in 17 schools and colleges, though their law program, economics and business programs, and medicine program. They also have a great study abroad program and more than 500 student clubs to participate in while you’re in school.

Brandeis University

Perhaps you’ve heard of the other colleges on this list, but Brandeis University—a small private research university in the town of Waltham right outside of Boston with global reach—is one of the best colleges in the state for liberal arts in addition to research.

Students at Brandeis University have all the groundbreaking potential they would have at larger universities, but at a medium-sized school that won’t feel as overwhelming as the others. There are just about 6,000 students. These students will find a nice sense of community with students who share similar educational values.

Wellesley College

A private women’s liberal arts college, Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts is one of the best colleges in the state. It’s a member of the Seven Sisters Colleges and is one of the top 5 for best liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review. 

The school is dedicated to gender equality and encouraging their students to make a difference in the world, after graduating from one of the more than 50 programs offered.

Harvard University
Photo by Pascal Bernardon on Unsplash

What Can a Degree From a College in Massachusetts Get You?

When employers see that you’ve graduated from one of the best colleges in Massachusetts, that may be enough on its own to help you stand out from other candidates. But, as Massachusetts is home to some of the best schools in existence, you’ll have to demonstrate how you stand out from other graduates in the same state.

With a degree from a college in Massachusetts, students can stick around after graduation and go into one of the in-demand jobs published by The Boston Business Journal, which include IT management and engineering, just to name a few.

Of course, students also go on to be lawyers, doctors, researchers, and CEOs of their own companies — not just in Massachusetts, but around the United States and the entire world.

What Will Your Salary Be?

How much money you’ll make after earning your degree from a school in Massachusetts depends on what you major in, what school you attend, what job you get, and many other factors.

But it’s worth noting that those who graduate with a degree from a Massachusetts college fair well in their careers, both in terms of security and finances.

According to Payscale, the average salary in Massachusetts is $73,000, which isn’t bad for the most educated state in the U.S.! 

The Pros and Cons of Attending College in Massachusetts

We’ve heard about all the great things that attending college in Massachusetts can do for students. But aside from having a valuable educational experience that will set you up for the future, are there other benefits worth knowing about? And what about the downsides of attending college in Massachusetts?

Here’s what you should know:


  • An excellent education.
  • Good value for your money.
  • Study among the top students from around the world.
  • A challenging yet rewarding experience.
  • Most campuses are located in a beautiful New England setting.
  • Most students graduate with great career prospects.


  • Competitive. It’s not easy to get into one of the best colleges in Massachusetts.
  • Because you’ll be studying among some of the best students, you’ll have to work hard to make yourself stand out.
  • You’ll need to work hard. It’s not just working hard to get accepted by admissions, but to maintain a strong academic performance.
  • Winters can be rough.
  • Some schools are expensive, especially private schools (though, Harvard offers great financial aid packages). This is especially true if you’re coming from out of state, too.

Massachusetts College or Online College?

So, should you attend a Massachusetts college or an online college? Well, if you do get accepted into one of the best colleges in Massachusetts — which, remember, are some of the best in the world — it’s definitely worth considering accepting your admission because of all the benefits of possessing one of those degrees.

But, as one of the major downsides of attending college (not just in Massachusetts but in the United States in general) is the cost — the price of tuition and college fees may outweigh these benefits. And you shouldn’t have to forgo getting your degree just because it’s too expensive, or because Massachusetts is too far.

Instead, consider applying for a degree program at the University of the People, a tuition-free accredited institution of higher education that’s held entirely online. Here, you can get your degree at your own pace, without having to lay out thousands of dollars. And just like many schools in Massachusetts, UoPeople offers degree programs in Business Administration and Computer Science, so that you can enter a secure and well-paying career, too.