A Complete Guide to Colleges in Massachusetts

Evan Thompson
Updated January 3, 2024
Edited by
Massachusetts is home to dream schools and historic institutions. Here's a list of all colleges in Massachusetts, including the most popular ones.

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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 Universityarrow-circle-right

    • 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.

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  • 2. Massachusetts Institute of Technologyarrow-circle-right

    • 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.

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  • 3. Boston Universityarrow-circle-right

    • 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.

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  • 4. University of Massachusetts Amherstarrow-circle-right

    • 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 Collegearrow-circle-right

    • 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 Universityarrow-circle-right

    • 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 Universityarrow-circle-right

    • 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 Collegearrow-circle-right

    • 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 Collegearrow-circle-right

    • 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 Lowellarrow-circle-right

    • 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.

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.

All Colleges in Massachusetts
SchoolTotal Student EnrollmentAvg. Annual Net PriceAcceptance RateNumber of Applicants
American International College2,244$20,95858%3,494
Amherst College1,971$18,8099%13,999
Anna Maria College1,521$24,61473%2,519
Assumption University2,284$26,51386%4,018
Babson College3,684$29,10525%7,104
Bard College at Simon’s Rock328$37,86980%216
Bay Path University2,745$18,66475%797
Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology476$18,143N/AN/A
Bentley University5,158$41,70861%9,311
Berklee College of Music7,943$48,05555%7,266
Boston Architectural College728$27,887N/AN/A
Boston Baptist College42$23,22364%11
Boston College15,577$30,15919%39,846
Boston University36,104$25,85219%75,778
Brandeis University5,558$35,14739%9,796
Bridgewater State University9,942$12,74486%8,881
Cambridge College2,451$27,166N/AN/A
Clark University3,350$31,56548%8,151
College of Our Lady of the Elms1,379$22,88968%1,565
College of the Holy Cross3,029$29,19843%6,498
Curry College2,242$28,78280%2,242
Dean College1,206$35,82774%4,924
Eastern Nazarene College647$19,90164%849
Emerson College5,900$48,84245%11,568
Emmanuel College1,950$28,13374%6,072
Endicott College3,982$38,19677%5,055
Fisher College1,367$26,13072%2,897
Fitchburg State University6,674$16,86285%3,414
Framingham State University4,495$16,90084%5,117
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering382$36,49418%907
Gordon College1,804$25,91777%1,462
Hampshire College472$30,16875%1,340
Harvard University31,345$13,9104%57,786
Hebrew College133NAN/AN/A
Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology118$26,54876%74
Hult International Business School2,214$48,78051%1,495
Laboure College of Healthcare1,038$33,18075%4
Lasell University1,695$29,40185%2,550
Lesley University4,010$31,92887%2,942
Massachusetts College of Art and Design1,907$24,77279%2,433
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts994$14,90291%1,371
Massachusetts Institute of Technology11,934$30,9584%33,240
Massachusetts Maritime Academy1,538$19,41290%1,079
MCPHS University7,304$38,39098%4,846
Merrimack College5,452$35,50080%10,429
MGH Institute of Health Professions1,339NAN/AN/A
Montserrat College of Art341$33,430N/AN/A
Mount Holyoke College2,342$29,21852%3,971
New England College of Optometry525NAN/AN/A
Nichols College1,434$28,184N/AN/A
Northeastern University28,167$38,92718%75,244
Northeastern University Professional Programs10,918NAN/AN/A
Northpoint Bible College250$24,502N/AN/A
Regis College3,599$35,77589%2,678
Saint John’s Seminary96NAN/AN/A
Salem State University7,131$18,12590%6,287
Simmons University5,984$19,02684%3,516
Smith College2,924$29,56930%6,064
Springfield College2,965$28,29677%2,853
Springfield College-Regional, Online, and Continuing Education529NAN/AN/A
Stonehill College2,479$31,46772%7,219
Suffolk University6,647$32,39388%7,501
The New England Conservatory of Music827$38,40943%952
Tufts University13,293$31,63011%31,198
University of Massachusetts Amherst32,045$17,29166%42,540
University of Massachusetts Boston15,637$17,57579%16,383
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth7,717$21,70892%7,983
University of Massachusetts Lowell17,597$13,22785%12,493
Wellesley College2,461$21,86216%7,663
Wentworth Institute of Technology4,163$32,43090%5,441
Western New England University3,635$30,40390%6,385
Westfield State University5,013$19,19423%3,629
Wheaton College1,701$28,86782%3,724
William James College854NAN/AN/A
Williams College2,224$14,4879%12,452
Worcester Polytechnic Institute7,230$48,23060%11,092
Worcester State University5,417$12,85389%3,446

Source: NCES

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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