Top Colleges in Massachusetts Ranking Methodology

There are over 110 colleges and universities in Massachusetts, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start your search for higher education. One of the best ways to narrow down your options is by looking at rankings. 

And while they’re not always a perfect indicator of school quality, they provide essential insights into what makes a great school. The following list includes information on the best colleges in Massachusetts based on the US Department of Education and the US News & World Report.

Top Colleges in Massachusetts Ranking Methodology

To create this ranking, we identified the most prestigious universities in Massachusetts. Then, we gathered data on these dream schools, including their acceptance rates and academic excellence. 

We also made sure to rank each institution’s reputation and affordability. To compile such a comprehensive list of top colleges in Massachusetts, we looked at many different factors:

  • SAT Range
  • Acceptance Rate
  • Graduation Rate
  • Tuition Fee
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance

Top Colleges in Massachusetts

While the housing cost in the US is rising, it doesn’t stop Bay State from continuing to educate learners. In fact, Massachusetts has a wealth of public and private research universities that offer a wide range of student-centered opportunities.

Whether you’re looking for an exciting campus with beautiful architecture and exceptional facilities, there’s something for everyone in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is a state known for its many colleges and universities. In the past few years, MA has been ranked as the best state for higher education. 

This ranking is based on cost, school quality of public schools, access to higher education, and more. While there are many excellent schools in Massachusetts, we decided to focus on the best colleges in Massachusetts.

Amherst College

Amherst College is also a private liberal arts school in Massachusetts, located in Amherst. The school was founded in 1821 and is known for its rigorous academics and outstanding faculty. 

In addition to academics, Amherst College offers students plentiful research opportunities to get involved with clubs and organizations on campus. Amherst College learners must take math and social sciences classes and courses in the arts or humanities.

  • SAT Range: 1430-1560
  • Acceptance Rate: 12%
  • Graduation Rate: 93.3%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $60,890
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 65%

Babson College

Babson College is a private, non-profit business school located in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It’s one of the top colleges in the state and has been recognized as one of the best colleges in America for 20 years running.

Babson’s undergraduate program is designed to focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. It offers an accelerated program for students who want to get their degrees faster. The school also offers several certificate programs, which are more specialized than a degree. Still, it provides opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation. Moreover, it offers doctoral degrees.

  • SAT Range: 1270-1450
  • Acceptance Rate: 27%
  • Graduation Rate: 95%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $54,944
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 52%

Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music is another prestigious school in Massachusetts. It is located in the city of Boston and has a student body of about 7,000 students. 

This music college was established in 1945 by Lawrence Berk as a school for jazz music. The school then expanded beyond just jazz to include all types of music, from rock to hip-hop and everything in between. 

The college offers an undergraduate students program and graduates degrees in music performance, composition and songwriting, production, and film scoring. As part of their curriculum, they offer several specialized programs such as Electronic Production & Design (EPD), Songwriting, and more.

  • SAT Range: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $46,800
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 67%

Top Colleges in Massachusetts, USA

Emerson College

If you’re looking for the best colleges in Massachusetts, look no further. Emerson College is a top-notch institution that offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs at its campus in Boston.

Emerson’s undergraduate program offers degrees in theater, communication, writing, media arts and design, music industry studies, and liberal arts. The school also offers master’s degrees in screenwriting and playwriting, business enterprises, communication, public relations, and more.

  • SAT Range: 1190-1380
  • Acceptance Rate: 41%
  • Graduation Rate: 79%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $52,190
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 81%

Boston College

Boston College is among the best schools in Massachusetts. It’s not just because it’s a Jesuit school but also its location in Chestnut Hill. Boston College has a beautiful campus and outstanding academics. 

While Boston College is known for being a “Jesuit” school, that doesn’t mean you have to be Catholic to attend. It means you should take theology courses and participate in campus ministry activities.

  • SAT Range: 1330-1500
  • Acceptance Rate: 26%
  • Graduation Rate: 91.9%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $60,202
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 56%

College of the Holy Cross

Founded in 1843, this private Catholic arts institution of Holy Cross is ranked among the best universities in Worcester, Massachusetts.

In addition, Holy Cross College is considered one of the excellent schools in its category. This is because it has a student population that is ethnically diverse and gender-balanced. Scholars can choose from 28 majors and study abroad programs.

  • SAT Range: 1290-1430
  • Acceptance Rate: 38%
  • Graduation Rate: 91.5%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $54,770
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 73%

Elms College

Elms College is a small, private liberal arts college located in Chicopee, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1928 as an all-women’s school and has since become coeducational.

Elms College offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in fields such as nursing, business administration, and education. Regarding learners, the student body comprises almost 881 students from more than 30 countries.

 This institution offers more than 30 majors for undergraduates, mainly in nursing. For graduate degrees, they offer master’s degrees in education, nursing, and business administration, as well as a doctorate in education.

  • SAT Range: 1000-1170
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $39,449
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 100%

Emmanuel College

Emmanuel College is one of the coeducational liberal arts schools located near the Boston suburbs. Founded in 1919, Emmanuel has approximately 1,870 students from different states and foreign countries. 

The school offers undergraduate degrees in biology, psychology, and business administration. In addition to its excellent academic programs, Emmanuel offers extracurricular opportunities that give pupils more ways to explore their interests while having fun.

  • SAT Range: 1110-1280
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 65.5%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $42,516
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 100%

Gordon College

Gordon College is a private Christian college located in Wenham, Massachusetts. The school was founded in 1889 and has an undergraduate enrollment of about 1,390 students. 

Gordon College offers more than 30 majors but strongly focuses on Christian studies. The campus is beautiful and features many historic buildings, which is well worth a visit.

  • SAT Range: 1020-1280
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $26,250
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 100%

Where I should study - the best colleges in Massachesetts

Hampshire College

Hampshire College is an independent, coeducational, nonsectarian private liberal arts college in Amherst. Students can choose from more than 50 majors and minors, including creative writing, arts and dance studies, environmental science, and women’s studies. 

The school has a firm commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness and offers a variety of programs that support this goal.

  • SAT Range: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: 59%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $52,738
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 100%

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College is among the private, nonsectarian arts schools for women. Located in South Hadley and founded in 1837, the school’s mission is to seek to educate each learner in an atmosphere of mutual respect and support. 

Where she will be encouraged to develop her abilities to their fullest. Mount Holyoke offers 47 majors from which students can graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

  • SAT Range: 1270-1500
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Graduation Rate: 82.5%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $54,618
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 74%

Smith College

Smith College is one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the US and has a long history of educating women. It was founded by Sophia Smith in 1871, who left her money to start a school where women could learn without having to deal with men. Located in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Today, Smith offers more than 50 majors, minors, concentrations, and specializations in various fields.

  • SAT Range: 1240-1470
  • Acceptance Rate: 37%
  • Completion Rate: 88.8%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $54,224
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 78%

Stonehill College

Stonehill College is another private Catholic liberal arts college in Easton, MA. The school has been around since 1948, and it’s currently ranked as the 75th-best college in the US. 

It has an impressive 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a student population of 2,389 students. The college is known for its Criminology, Psychology, and Finance programs. 

In addition to earning a degree at Stonehill College, you can also participate in one of its clubs or activities. This helps you develop more skills and meet new friends.

  • SAT Range: 1030-1230
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Completion Rate: 82%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $47,808
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 100%

Wellesley College

Wellesley College is also a private liberal arts school for women. The school is located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and was founded in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant. It was initially established as a women’s preparatory school. 

However, it transitioned into its current state in 1875 when it became coeducational. Wellesley offers over 50 majors, including interdisciplinary studies and minors. These are offered across the traditional liberal arts spectrum of humanities, science, and social sciences.

  • SAT Range: 1350-1520
  • Acceptance Rate: 20%
  • Completion Rate: 92.5%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $58,448
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 68%

Wheaton College

Suppose you’re looking for a school that offers an intimate learning environment with stellar academics and vibrant campus life. In that case, Wheaton College may be the right choice for you. Located in Norton, Wheaton College is an institution that offers over 100 minors and majors in sciences and liberal arts. 

It was founded in 1860 as a seminary to educate ministers when most theological schools were in New England. Today, it’s still known for its faith-based education and rigorous academics. Aside from that, it also boasts a strong science department and robust arts programs.

  • SAT Range: 1180-1350
  • Acceptance Rate: 77%
  • Completion Rate: 78%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $40,820
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 100%

The best place for student - top colleges in MA, US

Williams College

Williams College is among the private liberal arts schools located in Williamstown. It was established in 1793 with funds left by Ephraim Williams, a merchant and trader who had died the previous year. Williams offers more than 30 majors, including interdisciplinary studies.

  • SAT Range: 1410-1550
  • Acceptance Rate: 15%
  • Completion Rate: 95.4%
  • Yearly Average Tuition Fee: $50,450
  • Students Receiving Financial Assistance: 62%


Are Colleges and Universities the Same?

Colleges are usually more focused on teaching than research, while universities focus equally on education and research. Colleges typically have small student populations with fewer resources than universities do. 

However, this doesn’t mean that they do not provide quality education. In fact, many college graduates go on to earn graduate degrees from prestigious universities. 

These include Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which indicates that their college experience was sufficient to gain admittance into these highly competitive programs.

How About Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees?

The difference between graduate and undergraduate degrees is simple: one is more advanced than the other. The most typical graduate degree is the Master’s, which generally takes two years to complete. 

Some professional degrees like law or medicine require more time than that. However, they’re still considered graduate degrees because they’re higher in education than undergraduate degrees. 

Undergraduate degrees are typically Bachelor’s degrees, which take four years to complete. Some people choose to study for a Bachelor’s and then receive a Master’s after that.


The state of Massachusetts has a lot to offer students. There are dozens of colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs, from traditional liberal arts to technical fields like engineering. 

The best part is that many dream schools are located in or near Boston. This means you can enjoy all the city’s cultural amenities while being close enough for everyday academic needs like classes or study groups. 

If you want to buy a home near one of the best colleges in Massachusetts and great universities, contact HOMES by ARDOR. We have trusted agents who will help you find the perfect place.

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