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10 Popular Colleges in Massachusetts
We put together a list of all four-year nonprofit schools in Massachusetts.
Before we get to that, though, here are some of the most well-known Massachusetts colleges based on factors such as prestige, selectivity, and enrollment size.
All school data below comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Tuition and fees are from 2022-2023, while acceptance rates, enrollment statistics, net prices, and number of applicants are from 2021.
1. Harvard University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $57,261
- Acceptance Rate: 4%
- Total Student Enrollment: 31,345
Established in 1636, Harvard is the country's oldest university and among the world's most prestigious academic institutions. The private Ivy is commonly one of American students' top dream schools, according to The Princeton Review.
Harvard's business and medical schools are world-renowned, and its law, education, and public health schools often rank in the top five.
The Cambridge-based campus also has the world's largest academic library, with millions of volumes, manuscripts, photographs, and maps.
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $57,986
- Acceptance Rate: 4%
- Total Student Enrollment: 11,934
Overlooking downtown Boston and situated less than 2 miles from Harvard, MIT is one of the most prestigious and famous STEM schools in the world.
The institution is primarily known for its physical science and engineering programs. Most of MIT's 11,000-plus students are graduate students enrolled in top-tier programs like computer science, astronomy, and mathematics.
And, believe it or not, MIT has more varsity sports teams than any other college in the country.
3. Boston University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $62,360
- Acceptance Rate: 19%
- Total Student Enrollment: 36,104
Founded in 1839, BU is the state's largest university and a top-tier private research institution. The school has a rich history, having graduated the country's first woman Ph.D. student, first Black woman MD student, and first Indigenous American MD student.
BU's housing system is one of the largest in the U.S. The university offers four years of guaranteed housing, with 75% of undergrads living on campus all four years.
Nearby attractions include two famous museums, nightlife on Lansdowne Street, and Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park.
4. University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $16,952 (in-state) | $38,171 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 66%
- Total Student Enrollment: 32,045
Known for its diversity and campus food, UMass Amherst is the flagship campus of the UMass system and the largest public research university in New England.
The school is among the top colleges in the Campus Pride Index, ranking highly for LGBTQ-friendliness. It was also among the first universities to establish LGBTQ+ and women's centers.
Another fun fact: UMass Amherst's campus food has gained national recognition, with sushi rolls and stir fry being the most popular choices among students.
5. Williams College
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $61,770
- Acceptance Rate: 9%
- Total Student Enrollment: 2,224
Williams is a leading liberal arts college in rural Williamstown, with highly selective admissions and rigorous academic requirements. It was the first college to eliminate loans in favor of an all-grant financial aid program.
Williams' most popular majors include biology, economics, and math. About 1 in 3 students play on one of the school's 32 varsity sports teams, competing in Division III.
6. Tufts University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $65,222
- Acceptance Rate: 11%
- Total Student Enrollment: 13,293
A private, mid-sized, suburban university, Tufts strongly emphasizes interdisciplinary education, with classes uniting its arts and sciences and engineering schools.
Located in Medford and Somerville, Tufts uses an experimental and highly selective admissions process. Admissions officers consider nonacademic factors such as creativity and allow applicants to submit videos to make a case for their acceptance.
7. Northeastern University
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $7,214 (in-state) | $21,338 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 18%
- Total Student Enrollment: 28,167
A private research university, Northeastern is known worldwide for its co-op education program, which allows students to alternate semesters of full-time classroom study with full-time employment.
The university's hockey program is also among the best in the country, often defeating in-state schools in annual tournaments. The team plays in the world's oldest hockey arena, Matthews Arena.
8. Amherst College
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $64,100
- Acceptance Rate: 9%
- Total Student Enrollment: 1,971
One of the "Little Ivies," Amherst is a highly selective, private liberal arts college. The school takes pride in its undergraduate-only student body, open curriculum, and diversity, with around half of its U.S. students identifying as people of color.
Because Amherst is a member of the Five College Consortium, students can attend classes at four nearby institutions: Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Hampshire College, and UMass Amherst.
9. Boston College
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $64,176
- Acceptance Rate: 19%
- Total Student Enrollment: 15,577
BC is a private Jesuit university with a liberal arts identity. Founded in 1863, the school is Boston's oldest institution and a top-tier research university, with standout programs in social work, nursing anesthesia, and education.
Located in the neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, BC's campus is part of a historic district and features some of North America's earliest examples of collegiate gothic architecture.
10. University of Massachusetts Lowell
- Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $16,182 (in-state) | $34,550 (out-of-state)
- Acceptance Rate: 85%
- Total Student Enrollment: 17,597
Located 25 miles northwest of Boston, UMass Lowell is a public research university and is the fifth-largest school in the state. It's especially popular among STEM students, who get access to one of the nation's premier robotics research, testing, and training facilities.
UMass Lowell's most notable programs include engineering, criminal justice, and science. The school is also one of only a few universities nationwide with meteorology and nuclear engineering majors and the only institution in the state to offer a doctor of physical therapy.
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List of All Massachusetts Colleges and Universities
The table below lists all four-year nonprofit colleges in Massachusetts, showing each school's average net cost, acceptance rate, enrollment size, and number of applicants.
|School||Total Student Enrollment||Avg. Annual Net Price||Acceptance Rate||Number of Applicants|
|American International College||2,244||$20,958||58%||3,494|
|Anna Maria College||1,521||$24,614||73%||2,519|
|Bard College at Simon's Rock||328||$37,869||80%||216|
|Bay Path University||2,745||$18,664||75%||797|
|Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology||476||$18,143||N/A||N/A|
|Berklee College of Music||7,943||$48,055||55%||7,266|
|Boston Architectural College||728||$27,887||N/A||N/A|
|Boston Baptist College||42||$23,223||64%||11|
|Bridgewater State University||9,942||$12,744||86%||8,881|
|College of Our Lady of the Elms||1,379||$22,889||68%||1,565|
|College of the Holy Cross||3,029||$29,198||43%||6,498|
|Eastern Nazarene College||647||$19,901||64%||849|
|Fitchburg State University||6,674||$16,862||85%||3,414|
|Framingham State University||4,495||$16,900||84%||5,117|
|Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering||382||$36,494||18%||907|
|Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology||118||$26,548||76%||74|
|Hult International Business School||2,214||$48,780||51%||1,495|
|Laboure College of Healthcare||1,038||$33,180||75%||4|
|Massachusetts College of Art and Design||1,907||$24,772||79%||2,433|
|Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts||994||$14,902||91%||1,371|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||11,934||$30,958||4%||33,240|
|Massachusetts Maritime Academy||1,538||$19,412||90%||1,079|
|MGH Institute of Health Professions||1,339||NA||N/A||N/A|
|Montserrat College of Art||341||$33,430||N/A||N/A|
|Mount Holyoke College||2,342||$29,218||52%||3,971|
|New England College of Optometry||525||NA||N/A||N/A|
|Northeastern University Professional Programs||10,918||NA||N/A||N/A|
|Northpoint Bible College||250||$24,502||N/A||N/A|
|Saint John's Seminary||96||NA||N/A||N/A|
|Salem State University||7,131||$18,125||90%||6,287|
|Springfield College-Regional, Online, and Continuing Education||529||NA||N/A||N/A|
|The New England Conservatory of Music||827||$38,409||43%||952|
|University of Massachusetts Amherst||32,045||$17,291||66%||42,540|
|University of Massachusetts Boston||15,637||$17,575||79%||16,383|
|University of Massachusetts Dartmouth||7,717||$21,708||92%||7,983|
|University of Massachusetts Lowell||17,597||$13,227||85%||12,493|
|Wentworth Institute of Technology||4,163||$32,430||90%||5,441|
|Western New England University||3,635||$30,403||90%||6,385|
|Westfield State University||5,013||$19,194||23%||3,629|
|William James College||854||NA||N/A||N/A|
|Worcester Polytechnic Institute||7,230||$48,230||60%||11,092|
|Worcester State University||5,417||$12,853||89%||3,446|
Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Massachusetts
What are the top three colleges in Massachusetts?
Harvard and MIT are usually the two highest-ranked colleges in Massachusetts and among the top five universities in the U.S. Other Massachusetts colleges — such as Boston University, Tufts University, and Boston College — often rank highly as well.
What is the biggest college in Massachusetts?
Boston University is the biggest college in Massachusetts, according to NCES. Over 36,000 students were enrolled at BU in fall 2021. Harvard was the second-largest college in the state, with over 31,000 students in 2021.
What are the easiest colleges to get into in Massachusetts?
Westfield State University is one of the easiest four-year colleges to get into in Massachusetts, with an acceptance rate of 94% in fall 2021, according to NCES.
Other schools in Massachusetts with acceptance rates of 90% or more include the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (92%), Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (91%), and Massachusetts Maritime Academy (90%).
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