In order to provide prospective students with the best chance at having a great education, we have compiled this list of the top universities and colleges in Massachusetts. Some schools may excel at online programs while others may focus exclusively on the traditional, on-campus aspect of higher education. Regardless of the delivery format, these schools excel at providing a quality education for their students.
Starting, or finishing, something that is potentially life-altering can be so exciting, but a little overwhelming at the same time. You know it’s a good thing, but where do you start? When it comes to your college degree, it doesn’t have to be complicated. That’s why we’ve created this list of top colleges in Massachusetts.
Don’t worry about fighting traffic, being late to class, or meeting that mid-morning homework deadline. Studying online gives you the flexibility and convenience you need to get your degree without needing a life makeover. You can still work, still play, and still travel the way you want to. As long as you have a computer with internet access, you can go, and study, wherever you want.
I’m sure you’ve heard this saying: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Getting your degree online means that your education is within reach now. No waiting for that promotion that will give you a little more flexibility, no waiting for the money to get a car that can take you to campus and back, and no waiting until after that trip you’ve been planning for two years. Take advantage of the opportunity to study online now, and get the degree you’ve always wanted.
|1||Northeastern University – Global Network||Boston, Massachusetts|
|2||University of Massachusetts – Lowell||Lowell, Massachusetts|
|3||Boston University||Boston, Massachusetts|
|4||University of Massachusetts – Boston||Boston, Massachusetts|
|5||Endicott College||Beverly, Massachusetts|
Here are the Best Colleges in Massachusetts
Northeastern University – Global Network
Northeastern is a top-tier university and that reputation follows it online. The exceptional online programs offered by NU Global Network are part of the College of Professional Studies and emphasize an experiential learning model that promotes real-world experience. The programs are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and have the same learning standards and opportunities as classroom courses. Classes are designed for the busy adult learner in need of flexible course delivery, so students are given the choice between asynchronous and synchronous courses and traditional or accelerated terms. Some of the school’s fully online programs include health management, leadership, political science, and psychology. The online programs are powered by Blackboard.
University of Massachusetts – Lowell
UMass Lowell is the second-largest public university in the state and promotes student success by providing opportunities for transformative learning rooted in innovation and collaboration. It offers a variety of fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certificates, including information technology, criminal justice, and its award-winning MBA program. Most degrees are available 100 percent online and never require a campus residency. At UMass Lowell, students are guaranteed that all courses are taught by full-time faculty and never teaching assistants. In addition, most faculty members hold terminal degrees in their field and are certified to teach online. Courses at UMass Lowell are taught asynchronously and in traditional or accelerated term schedules. The school’s online learning management system is supplemented by the school’s online library and a mobile app so students can learn anywhere.
Boston University is one of the best colleges in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private, not-for-profit, research university that is historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It’s one of the most respected institutions in the state for its commitment to excellence in on-campus and online programs and for the sheer number of Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, it has produced. It’s also received the Sloan Consortium Award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education, the U.S. Distance Learning Association Award for 21st Century Best Practices, and several top 10 rankings in U.S. News & World Report. Students enrolled in Boston University Online programs typically complete two courses per semester, taking one seven-week course at a time. In each class, students are organized into small groups that form an interactive virtual community, led by a trained facilitator, with online courses taught by the same faculty as on-campus classes.
University of Massachusetts – Boston
The University of Massachusetts at Boston is a public, urban research university that is a member of the University of Massachusetts System. It has a sterling reputation as an online education destination, holds regional accreditation by the NEASC, and delivers its online courses through the Blackboard online learning system. UMass Boston offers undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and over a dozen certificate and licensure programs, as well as professional development programs. Asynchronous courses in an accelerated term schedule and around-the-clock technical support, academic advising, and access to the school’s online bookstore and library are provided. There are also opportunities for one-on-one tutoring sessions and online study groups.
Endicott College is a small, private school with big ideas and global connections. Founded in 1939 as an all-women’s university, today, it is coeducational and offers a range of high-quality online programs that are flexible and convenient. All of the university’s professional studies undergraduate programs are available 100% online with degrees including business, psychology, and liberal studies. Online students do have the option to take some of their classes in person. At Endicott, distance learners benefit from the same resources as their on-campus counterparts, such as personal advising through the Advising Services Center, online tutoring, access to Halle Library librarians by phone, writing and tutoring support, disability services, and around-the-clock technical support.
Need help finding the right college?
We can help you find the right school based on the program you select.Search Colleges
Find the best online and offline colleges for your degree
Fisher College is an independent, nonprofit institution that was founded in 1903 and provides an affordable, high-quality education for everyone. Fisher College’s motto is ubique fidelis, or “everywhere faithful,” and its influence is evident in the college’s dedication to student success. Fisher College has offered online courses since 1997, and today offers a variety of fully online programs; some of its bachelor’s options include psychology, event management and hospitality, and criminal justice. Online courses are completed asynchronously in eight-week intervals and are delivered through the Blackboard online learning management system. Students are required to be active contributors in the online learning environment by participating in discussions and course forums. Fisher regularly accommodates the needs of active military and veterans (and their families) to help them achieve a degree. Fisher’s commitment to providing an education for all people makes them one of the top online colleges in Massachusetts.
University of Massachusetts – Amherst
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is the flagship institution of the University of Massachusetts System and is currently nationally ranked in the top 30 best public universities in the country. With over 1,000 full-time instructional faculty, students at UMass Amherst are guaranteed to receive the individualized academic support that makes learning fun and meaningful. Students who are interested in pursuing a degree online can choose from both undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs, such as the masters in business administration or bachelor’s in political science. All online degree programs are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Online courses are accessible 24/7 and are led by competent online educators. Courses are powered by Blackboard.
At the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, students who choose to pursue an online education will be taught by the same faculty who train the on-campus students and will earn the same sought-after degrees that they would if they were there in person. Available online programs span the healthcare spectrum and include bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. Online courses offered at MCPHS can be found in programs like dental hygiene, nursing, healthcare administration and healthcare policy. Online students have access to many of the same resources as on-campus students, one of which is the Center for Professional and Career Development (CPCD), which provides individualized advising, training, and more. They also offer 24/7 employer and career opportunities information online.
University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth
The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, known as UMass Dartmouth, is a public research university that is a member of the University of Massachusetts System. It is best known for its online business programs and for being the home of the University of Massachusetts Law School. UMass Dartmouth, like many other schools, prides itself on its online education services. Over 530 students were enrolled in its online programs for the 2016-2017 academic year. While the school does not offer many online programs, the degrees that are available here are supported by the newest and most innovative technology available. Online students have access to a wide variety of online support services, including around-the-clock technical support, access to an online library, academic advising, online office hours, online tutoring, and an online bookstore.
Lesley University empowers students to become dynamic, thoughtful leaders in education, mental health counseling and wellness, and the arts. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Lesley combines an intensely creative learning environment with the practical experience students need to succeed in their careers. Among the university’s flexible, convenient, and affordable programs are more than 20 fully online bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and certificate programs. Online students can transfer up to 90 credits to their degrees. Previous life and work experience may also be applied toward degree completion.
Assumption College offers a liberal arts education founded on the principles of Catholic tradition. Open to all denominations, the school’s academic programs emphasize diversity and the balance between scholarship and spirituality. Its online degrees in business, humanities, human services and rehabilitation studies, and social sciences are designed to help busy professionals achieve their academic and career goals. Assumption College also participates in a transfer agreement with local community colleges allowing transfer students to easily apply earned course credits toward the online degree program of their choice.
Western New England University
Western New England University is one of the best colleges in Western Massachusetts. It is a private, not-for-profit institution that focuses on professional programs, STEM subjects, and online degrees. It’s regionally accredited by the NEASC and offers online degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. Certificate programs are also available. Online students will be pleased to note that all courses, both online and on-campus, are taught by WNE faculty and never by teaching assistants. Online courses are taught asynchronously for the student’s benefit; however, it is possible to talk with instructors during their scheduled office hours. Other benefits to a WNE online education include individualized academic counseling, around-the-clock technical support, and access to the school’s online library and bookstore.
Mount Wachusett Community College
Mount Wachusett Community College is a public institution that held its first classes in a national guard armory while construction was being done on an old high school that would later house the fledgling college. It offers students a variety of associate degrees and certificate programs in the subjects of Business Administration, Accounting, Legal Studies, Liberal Arts, and more. Though students will be working online, they will have real instructors, classmates, syllabi, assignments, deadlines, regular feedback and class discussion, and exams.
Brandeis University was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community. The founders established a nonsectarian research university that welcomed talented faculty and students of all backgrounds and beliefs. From the outset, it’s focused on undergraduate education, while building a pioneering research enterprise. Today, Brandeis University provides online master’s degrees, graduate certificates, and professional development courses to working professionals to help them advance their careers and pursue higher education while establishing their career. Available online courses include science, health, information technology, software engineering and forensic science. By viewing webinars, recorded lecture videos, and online library resources, students can complete their coursework at their own pace. Students can also participate in virtual networking to help build and maintain professional relationships after they graduate. Students can take up to two online courses without enrolling in a degree program.
Holyoke Community College
Holyoke Community College was founded in 1946 with the goal of preparing adults to complete advanced degrees at a 4-year institution. It’s accredited by the Higher Institution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and has partnerships with many 4-year colleges to make transferring a piece of cake. Holyoke offers several online certificates and associate degrees in various subjects such as a Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts, and Business Administration. All online courses are asynchronous and are distributed through the Moodle learning management system. Many student services are available in English and Spanish.
Massachusetts Bay Community College
Massachusetts Bay Community College launched in 1961 and operates on a semester-based schedule. Their academic online courses cover the same material as campus-based courses, and all online classes use the Blackboard Learn™ system. Students can expect discussion boards, online videos, podcasts, blogs, and wikis in their online classes to help build an online community of learners. Students will be expected to participate in online class discussions and complete assignments and projects (with deadlines) just as in a campus-based course.
Middlesex Community College
Middlesex Community College has offered online classes for more than 15 years and guarantees that online students complete the same high-quality coursework as those who take courses on campus. MCC offers six associate degrees 100 percent online in areas such as business, accounting, and liberal arts. It also offers an additional four degrees that are mostly online but have a required on-campus lab. Five online certificates are also available for those looking to enhance their career. Online tutoring and academic services are provided.
Salem State University
Salem State University began in 1854 as a normal school, but today is a four-year institution that has a reputation for delivering distance education for working adults. Students can complete online programs in communications, media studies, administration, health, and more. All online programs are part of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Curriculums are delivered via Canvas, and students are presented with a thorough orientation to online learning and access to an advising center for assistance. The university provides a number of resources for online students, including an online learning overview and links to improve keyboarding skills.
Fitchburg State University
Fitchburg State University, known as Fitchburg State to students, is a public, four-year research university that is known for a strong online portal that focuses on business and education professional degrees. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC. FSU offers many 100 percent and hybrid online degrees and certificates. A lot of services are available to online students at Fitchburg State University, such as career services, disability services, and counseling services. An online student resource center is available to those taking courses which allow for access to Blackboard for coursework and even to academic advisors via instant messaging.
Bristol Community College
Bristol Community College has been offering distance courses since 1999 through, you’ll never guess, television! Since then it’s moved its courses to the internet. BCC is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Institutions of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. Adults continuing their education can enroll in BCC’s eLearning program and earn associate degree programs like graphic design, business administration, computer science, and education. All online courses are offered through the Blackboard learning platform. Online students also have access to the same student support services as traditional, on-campus students, such as tutoring, library services, and disability services. Some of these services are available electronically, for others students will need to call in order to obtain additional information or to request services.
Bunker Hill Community College
Bunker Hill Community College offers online associate degree programs in business, communication, criminal justice, English, history and government, psychology, sociology and general studies. In addition, BHCC provides eight online certificate programs as well as a variety of individual courses. Also available to students is the Massachusetts College Online (MCO) which allows students to take hundreds of courses across all of the state’s community colleges. BHCC curriculum includes fully online, hybrid and streaming media options. Students should be aware that a number of online courses require proctored exams on campus, although students may be able to schedule these at other colleges or approved testing locations. Tutoring and Advisement services, as well as a computerized career guidance system, are available for online students.
Massasoit Community College
Massasoit Community College was named in honor of a Native American chief from the Wampanoag tribe who helped early New England settlers. Today he is a symbol of mediation between cultures. MCC is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. It offers five 100 percent online degrees in fields such as Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Liberal Arts. Three certificates are also offered 100 percent online in the areas of Law Enforcement, Personal Security, and Microsoft Office. MCC has eTutoring available for its online students as well as an Online Writing Lab.
Framingham State University
Framingham State University is a four-year, public, coeducational university that was founded in 1839. The university offers a variety of online courses in 18 subject areas and students enrolled in any of them will engage in course curricula designed to promote collaborative learning experiences that are challenging and meaningful. FSU offers one bachelor’s degree, five master’s degrees, and two graduate certificates 100 percent online. Online resources, including an off-campus library and personal assistance through the Office of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education, are available to students enrolled in online classes. Tuition is billed per course, but individuals over age 60 can enroll in undergraduate courses for free, and military veterans may qualify for state tuition exemption. FSU’s online learning is powered by the Blackboard online learning management system.
Westfield State University
Westfield State University was founded in 1839 and was the first co-educational university in the U.S. to open its doors to people of all colors, genders, and economic backgrounds. The bachelor’s degrees available through WSU’s online program, which is referred to as PLATO (People Learning and Teaching Online), range from business and criminal justice to sociology and liberal arts. The academic programs emphasize community involvement and inclusion. Individuals over age 60 can attend the university for free. Tuition rates are competitively priced, and installment plans and financial aid are available to students. The school also offers free online tutoring and a 24/7 helpdesk. Degree-seekers who finished the Mass Transfer Compact or graduated from a community college in Massachusetts are eligible to complete their bachelor’s degree fully online at Westfield State. The school also offers online professional development for K-12 teachers.
Wentworth Institute of Technology
The Wentworth Institute of Technology is a private, independent engineering institution that focuses on career education in the STEM fields. It offers online degrees through its College of Professional and Continuing Education. Such programs are ideally suited for adult learners who seek convenience without compromising quality. Most, but not all, courses are asynchronous, so students are encouraged to look closely at the delivery method of courses prior to registering for classes. Students have the option to receive four master’s degrees, one bachelor’s degree, or one certificate online. There are many resources for online students, including an online resource library, access to the online bookstore, faculty and advising office hours, and more. Around-the-clock technical support is also available for all students.
Simmons College was established in 1899 by one of the first African American college graduates. Simmons is know for its Dorothea Dix Scholar Program, which is one of New England’s most successful programs for women. With a number of online programs and services, Simmons is flexible for students with distant learning needs.
The Ranking Process
The ranking of these schools was based on a number of factors including the number of academic programs offered, tuition cost per credit (assuming you are an undergraduate and a resident of the state), and more. See our methodology page for more details.
If you are associated with a school on this list and would like to make edits or add additional information, or you would like to add your school’s program to our list, please feel free to contact us with additional information.