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School Rankings

The 10 Best and Most Prestigious Universities in Massachusetts

Shalom Kamau - March 09, 2022


Massachusetts boasts a rich history and a thriving economy for residents and visitors. A 2019 report by the US News and World Report ranks it among the top 10 states based on its healthcare, opportunities, economy, and education. This article covers the best universities in Massachusetts and provides essential information like location, graduation rates, and countrywide rankings

Massachusetts is home to over 100 higher learning institutions , providing quality education and resources. Several of the most prestigious universities in Massachusetts, including Harvard University, Boston College, MIT, and Northeastern University, rank among America’s top higher education institutions. They are excellent schools that will propel your future career.

How We Defined Massachusetts University Rankings

We derived most of our university rankings from the US News and World Report and other ranking platforms. On our college list, we focus on school quality and prioritize crucial factors like graduation rates, accreditation, enrollment statistics, student resources, faculty, retention rates, student success, extracurricular opportunities, and programs offered.

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Massachusetts’s best and most prestigious universities focus on delivering world-class learning experiences that allow students to thrive in any industry within the United States and worldwide. These dream schools rely on academic excellence, international-standard faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and amazing student support and career services.

Massachusetts Universities Ranked: Top 10 Universities in Massachusetts

  1. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. Boston University
  4. Tufts University
  5. Boston College
  6. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  7. Brandeis University
  8. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  9. Northeastern University
  10. Amherst College

The Best Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, Explained

University students listening to a lecture. Best Universities In Massachusetts
Universities in Massachusetts invest in world-class professors and state-of-the-art education facilities.

The top 10 universities in Massachusetts embody all the factors required to make a higher learning institution stand out. Below is an in-depth overview of the universities, from the programs offered to the education requirements and unique attributes of each university. We derived the information from each university’s official website.

1. Harvard University

US News National Ranking: #2
Campus Location(s): Cambridge, Allston, Longwood
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,222 (US News stats)
Graduation Rate: 98%

Harvard University is one of the most prestigious and oldest private universities worldwide. This Ivy League school is a dream institution for many scholars. It currently enrolls over 20,000 students across its 12 schools, Harvard Radcliffe institute, and HarvardX. College students can select from various degree and non-degree courses that prepare students for professional roles.

In addition, students have access to the university’s state-of-the-art research facilities, extensive study spaces, a personalized academic experience, and world-famous faculty mentors. Harvard provides its student population millions of dollars in financial aid, thanks to the thriving endowment policy, including philanthropic gifts.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

US News National Ranking: #2
Campus Location(s): Cambridge
Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,361
Graduation Rate: 95% (US News stats)

MIT is a leading scientific and research university founded in 1861. The private land-grant university is known for its engineering and physical science programs that contribute significantly to the development of modern technology.

MIT’s primary goal is to enhance innovations in tech and offer professional experience through an outstanding curriculum, research facilities, and over 1,000 experienced faculty members. MIT provides over 2,000 on-campus and online courses and programs, including the famous MIT×PRO program , UROP, D-Lab, and more.

3. Boston University

US News National Ranking: #42
Campus Location(s): Kenmore/Fenway, Allston, South End
Undergraduate Enrollment: 16,530
Graduation Rate: 84% (US News stats)

Boston University is a private research institution established in 1839. BU admits over 30,000 students from 130 countries across its 17 schools and colleges. BU offers over 300 programs of study, 650 courses on global topics, and access to various student groups that focus on transformative experiences.

Moreover, the class sizes at BU are very small, with a student-teacher ratio of10 to one. BU aims to provide real-world experiences through internships and outstanding career services. In fact, recruiters and CEOs rank BU graduates in the 13 th position for employability .

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4. Tufts University

US News National Ranking: #28
Campus Location(s): Boston, Grafton, Medford/Somerville
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,825
Graduation Rate: 93%

Tufts University is among the top research and liberal arts colleges in Massachusetts. The university was founded in 1852 and named after Charles Tuft, who donated 100 acres for the school’s establishment. Tufts comprises three schools, including the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

The school offers a wide range of degree programs, some of which are combined programs or ABET-accredited. Furthermore, approximately 50 percent of Tufts students have the advantage of participating in study-abroad programs. Students also enjoy fun extracurricular activities and the illumination ceremony on orientation nights and other special occasions.

5. Boston College

US News National Ranking: #36
Campus Location(s): Chestnut Hill, Newton, Brighton
Undergraduate Enrollment: 9,445 (US News stats)
Graduation Rate: 94%

Boston College was the first higher education institution in Boston and is one of the most prestigious private Jesuit colleges in the US. Students can take advantage of over 50 fields of study across its eight schools. The school is known for its majors, including liberal arts, social sciences, economics, nursing, communications, and political science.

Boston College is rooted in a liberal arts curriculum education approach, which encourages critical thinking, ethics, and interdisciplinary studies. Moreover, students have access to the Career Center, where they will get guidance on supplementing their core curriculum to become career-ready and get access to a range of employment opportunities.

6. University of Massachusetts-Amherst

US News National Ranking: #68
Campus Location(s): Amherst
Undergraduate Enrollment: 22,745
Graduation Rate: 84%

UMass Amherst is the largest flagship academic institution under the University of Massachusetts System. The university was founded in 1863 as Massachusetts Agricultural College and later switched its name to UMass Amherst.

UMass Amherst provides cutting-edge academic and research programs for all its students. Students can enroll in undergraduate programs, masters, and doctoral degrees, which comprise various majors and minors. In addition, undergraduate students enjoy summer programs, academic advising, plentiful research opportunities and unique school libraries.

7. Brandeis University

US News National Ranking: #42
Campus Location(s): Waltham
Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,493
Graduation Rate: 88%

Brandeis University is a private research university established in 1948. It is sponsored by the Jewish community and is known for its high-ranking English, social policy, management, and history programs. Brandeis is a medium-sized institution and only admits enough students to maintain small average class sizes and uphold the 10 to one student-teacher ratio.

Current students enjoy a high quality of life, with a diverse culture, sense of community, and the academic freedom to select from a wide range of degree programs. As well as domestic students, international and transfer students are also well-accommodated at Brandeis.

8. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

US News National Ranking: #63
Campus Location(s): Worcester
Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,892 (US News stats)
Graduation Rate: 89% (US News stats)

WPI was founded in 1865 to introduce modern science and engineering knowledge to the community. The university has since grown into one of Massachusetts’ leading academic institutions, focusing on a student-centered, project-based approach. WPI majors center on engineering, science, liberal arts, management, and life sciences.

9. Northeastern University

US News National Ranking : #49

Campus Location(s) : Boston
Undergraduate Enrollment : 21,063
Graduation Rate : 89%

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a leading research university with a global reach. Outside of Boston, Northeastern has successful campuses in Seattle, Charlotte, Portland, San Francisco, Burlington, Silicon Valley, London, Toronto, and Vancouver. NU enrolls over 12,000 international students and prides itself in a diverse student body and supportive community.

The class sizes are typically small, and the majority of students find jobs or enroll in graduate programs within nine months after graduation. NU advantage allows students to get an experiential educational experience and a cooperative education through the co-op program.

10. Amherst College

US News National Ranking: #2
Campus Location(s): Amherst
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,970
Graduation Rate: 92%

Not to be confused with UMass Amherst, Amherst College is a private, not-for-profit institution in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1821 to provide accessible quality education. Amherst College is part of the Five Colleges Consortium. Current and prospective students select bachelor of arts degrees in 40 majors and over 80 courses.

Is a University in Massachusetts Right for You?

Yes. Massachusetts is home to the most acclaimed universities in the country and is among the leading economic states in the US. In addition, the universities in Massachusetts are leaders in research and liberal arts programs and offer an array of study options. You will learn from influential professors as you explore the rich history of Massachusetts.

There’s also a lot to do in Massachusetts, from attending a Boston Celtics game, visiting the first public library in the US, or hanging out at any of the beautiful natural parks. The state is also home to some of the best coding bootcamps , so if you can’t afford a university education, you can consider these.

Best Universities in Massachusetts FAQ

Why should I pursue my university education in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is an exciting academic state, as it hosts the oldest education institution, first public library, oldest boarding school, first women’s college, and several top companies . Students in this vibrant city experience plenty of entertainment opportunities. In addition, more than five universities in Massachusetts rank among the top universities in the United States.


What is the most pursued university program in Massachusetts?

Universities in Massachusetts are popular for liberal arts and humanities programs. However, students also pursue business, engineering, computer science, nursing, education, and several tech-related programs.


Which is the most popular university in Massachusetts?

Harvard University is the most popular university in Massachusetts. It is the oldest higher education institution and has the largest endowment amongst higher education institutions worldwide. In fact, Harvard University contributes to Massachusetts’ economy as a tourism site for visitors.


What are other universities in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is home to over 100 private and public universities. They include Emerson College, Wellesley College, Bentley University, Smith College, Williams College, UMass Boston, Emmanuel College, UMass Dartmouth, College of The Holy Cross, and Clark University.

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Shalom Kamau

About the author: Shalom is a career freelance writer whose work has appeared online at Ledmond and Watotolove. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and Film Technology from Kenyatta University. She also has a copywriting certificate from DigitalMarketer.

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