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Online Colleges in
MASSACHUSETTS

Online Schools in Massachusetts

Article Sources
  • U.S. News & World Report, 2017; National Center for Education Statistics - IPEDS 2015-16
  • "America's best states to live in," 24/7 Wall St., Thomas C Frohlich, et al, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/11/29/americas-best-states-to-live-in/2/
  • Best Online Bachelor's Programs, Rankings, Education, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/bachelors/rankings
  • Contract Research & Contract Manufacturing in MA, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Accessed December 27, 2016, https://www.massbio.org/why-massachusetts/supercluster/contract-research-and-manufacturing
  • "Don't Mess with Massachusetts," Slate, Politics, Mark Vanhoenacker, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/05/massachusetts_is_the_best_state_in_the_union_.html
  • "How Massachusetts Became the Best State in Education," NPR, Morning Edition, Kirk Capapezza, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://www.npr.org/2016/04/26/468237538/how-massachusetts-became-the-best-state-in-education
  • Labor Market Information, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://www.mass.gov/lwd/economic-data/
  • Massachusetts, United States, OECD Regional Well-Being Tool, Accessed December 27, 2016, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, https://www.oecdregionalwellbeing.org/US25.html
  • "RESEARCH: Cyberstates 2016," CompTIA, Accessed December 27, 2016, https://www.comptia.org/resources/cyberstates-2016
  • "The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: A Ranking of State Economies," Politics, Governing, Louis Jacobson, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-state-economic-rankings-governor-ratings.html
  • "The Most Educated Places in America 2016," NerdWallet, Victoria Simons, Anna Helhoski, Accessed December 27, 2016
  • "Though a leader in biotech, not all firms are flocking to Boston," Boston Globe, Robert Weisman, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/01/20/for-few-big-holdouts-massachusetts-still-isn-center-all-things-biotech/reUg0m9IQbWzDDEtK5sZ5H/story.html
  • "Top 5 Industries in Massachusetts: Which Parts of the Economy Are Strongest?" NewsMax, Tamara Koehler, Accessed December 27, 2016,http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/industries-massachusetts-economy/2015/04/09/id/637513/
  • U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, Accessed January 1, 2017, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  • U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges, Colleges in Massachusetts, Accessed December 27, 2016
  • World University Rankings, CWUR 2016, Center for World University Rankings, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://cwur.org/2016.php<
  • World University Rankings, Times Higher Education, Accessed December 27, 2016, https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2016/world-ranking#!/page/0/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats
  • Sources: U.S. New
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To say Massachusetts is one of the best states in the nation to launch your education and career may not be an exaggeration. When 24/7 Wall Street published a 2016 analysis ranking state livability based on economic conditions, education and public health, the Bay State topped the list.

Another study by Governing magazine in the same year concluded Massachusetts had the best economy in the United States, while NPR named it the best state in education. Its Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development gives it an excellent global quality-of-life score with particularly high marks in income, education, community, housing and access to services.

At the heart of these achievements is Massachusetts' remarkable higher-education landscape, which includes some of the most prestigious and highest-ranked institutions in the world. The state's subsequently skilled workforce draws employers from a myriad of industries with high-paying jobs. This is particularly true in Massachusetts' major centers of higher education, including the following cities:

Major Massachusetts college towns

City

Highlights

Student share of population

Pop. w/ 4+-year degrees

Colleges in 10 mi. radius

Major institutions

Cambridge

Cambridge is the quintessential New England town and a major hub of research and innovation. At least 129 of the world's Nobel Prize winners reside here, as does the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences. Its famous Kendall Square is also commonly referred to as the "most innovative square mile on the planet."

18.0%

75.1%

77

Harvard University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Wellesley

Wellesley is yet another distinctly New England college town. Located 30 miles from Boston, its streets are lined with mid-1860s homes, shops and restaurants. NerdWallet.com consistently ranks Wellesley among the Most Educated Places in America — a distinction that traslates to strong employment opportunities

36.2%

83.4%

27

Babson College

Wellesley College

Amherst

Amherst is home to what's called the Five College Consortium — five local colleges and universities centrally located and easily navigated with a linked bus system: Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts' flagship campus. Many writers have called Amherst home, including Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.

81.5%

64.7%

6

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Amherst College

Worcester

As home to the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, American Antiquarian Society and Museum of Fine Arts, Worcester a major cultural center. Its nickname, Wormtown, is a nod to its history as a major underground rock scene. Ethnic-centered neighborhoods feature food and arts drawn from Sweden, Italy, Ireland and LIthuania.

24.5%

29.6%

14

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester State University

Clark University

Sources: National Center for Education Statistics - IPEDS, Census Bureau: Quick Facts

Massachusetts colleges and universities

Massachusetts colleges and universities in a word: diverse. The National Center for Education Statistics' (NCES) College Navigator lists a total of 193 schools statewide ranging from affordable community colleges and public universities to prestigious private institutions. A breakdown of traditional and online colleges in Massachusetts:

Distribution of Massachusetts colleges and universities

Institution type

No. offering associate degrees

No. offering bachelor's degrees

No. offering advanced degrees

No. offering certificates

State total

Public

18

13

14

36

42

Private non-profit

28

70

60

28

90

Private for-profit

7

4

2

52

61

State total

53

87

85

116

193

Source: College Navigator, 2015-6

Top Massachusetts colleges and universities

Another high-point of Massachusetts colleges and universities is their reputation for quality, which is consistently reaffirmed every year in national and global college rankings publications. The following table highlights some of the state's highest-ranked schools by category based on 2016-17 reports from U.S. News & World Report, Times Higher Education (THE), Schools.com and the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR):

Top Massachusetts Colleges and Universities
CategoryTop schoolsTypeEnrollment (2016)Tuition fees (2016)
Ivy-League- prestige Harvard University Private non-profit 6,699 $47,074
National prestige Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Private non-profit 4,527 $48,452
Public education University of Massachusetts - Amherst Public 22,748 $13,790 (in-state)
Liberal arts Williams College Private non-profit 2,099 $51,790
Fine arts Massachusetts College of Art and Design Public
Community college Bristol Community College Public 9,335 $4,178

Sources: U.S. News & World Report: Center for World University Rankings: Times Higher Education; Schools.com; Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2015-6

Read more about the 10 top community colleges in Massachusetts for an idea of where else to start your educational and career paths.

Online education in Massachusetts

Online education is a thriving national movement: annual analyses of NCES data by Babson College — a Massachusetts institution — and the Online Learning Consortium indicate the growth rate of online enrollments no exceed that of traditional schools. Online schools enhance college accessibility everywhere, but there are several ways they benefit Massachusetts specifically. Among them:

  • Full-time professionals can make the most of the Bay State's booming economy by investing in higher education without having to miss work.
  • Online schools allow those working students to offset education costs while going to school.
  • Online degrees in Massachusetts spare students living in populous cities like Boston time, traffic and transportation costs.
  • The online courses and degrees from well known schools like Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are the same as those offered on campus.

Breakdown: Online schools in Massachusetts

Massachusetts colleges and universities are long-standing pioneers in higher education, and their online programs are no exception. By 2016, 57 Bay State institutions offered some form of online learning, like online courses, degrees and certificates. These include both public and private nonprofit or for-profit institutions. A snapshot of online schools in Massachusetts:

Institution type No. offering 4-year degrees No. offering 2-year degrees No. offering certificates and other non-degree awards No. offering advanced degrees (master's, Ph.D., etc.)
Public4 - 44
Private nonprofit10 - 710
Private for-profit1121

Source: College Navigator

Top online programs in Massachusetts

Massachusetts colleges' tendency to rank highly in a number of categories carries over to their online programs: publications like U.S. News & World Report give high-marks to several schools statewide. Here is just a sample of Massachusetts top online colleges and universities:

Top online programs in Massachusetts

Category

Top schools *

Enrollment (2016)

Tuition fees (2016)

Featured online programs

Online bachelor's degree

Westfield State University

5,616

$9,275

BS. in Business Management

BS in Criminal Justice

BA in Psychology

UMass Dartmouth

13,266

$12,588

BS in General Business Admin.

Bachelor of Liberal Arts

BA in History

New England College of Business and Finance

N/A

$10,525

BS in Digital Marketing

BS in Business Administration

BS in International Business

Online MBA

Northeastern University

13,697

$47,665

MBA (Full-time)

MS in Business Analytics

MS in Innovation

Online teaching degree

UMass Lowell

17,450

$13,427

(in-state)

MEd in Education Administration

EdD in School Leadership

Online engineering degree

Worcester Polytechnic University

4,299

$49,994

MS in Mechanical Engineering

Certificate in Nuclear Engineering

Ph.D. in Systems Engineering

Online nursing degree

UMass Amherst

22,748

$13,790

(in-state)

Doctor of Nursing Practice

RN to BSN

MPH in Nutrition

Online degree in information technology

Boston University

17,932

$50,240

MS in Software Development

MS in Computer Info. Systems

Health Informatics Certificate

Data Analytics Certificate

*Sources: U.S. News & World Report: Online College Rankings, U.S. News & World Report School Profiles

Industries and degrees to watch in Massachusetts

As previously noted, Massachusetts' colleges and subsequent highly-skilled workforce attract employers from many different sectors. The state, in turn, has one of the best economies and some of the highest-paid workers in the country. According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Massachusetts' post-recession unemployment rate fell much faster than the national average; as of November, 2016, it was less than 3 percent. While virtually all industries contribute to the state's economic growth, some are especially promising for soon-to-be college graduates. A breakdown:

MASSACHUSETTS: PROMISING INDUSTRIES, KEY EMPLOYERS
Financial services
Why it's hot
Major employers
Massachusetts is home to major brokerage, software and insurance firms: Liberty Mutual Group, Vanguard and New York Life are all headquartered in the Bay State, and state incentives are expected to add more down the line.

Liberty Mutual Group Inc.

MA Mutual Life Insurance

State Street Corp.

John Hancock Life Insurance

Eastern Bank Corp.

Healthcare, life sciences and biotechnology
Why it's hot
Major employers
The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council calls Massachusetts a "supercluster" of universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals, most notably MIT and Harvard. More than 550 biotech and pharmaceutical companies also do business in the state.

Mass. General Hospital

Brigham & Women's Hospital

Boston Children's Hospital

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Tourism
Why it's hot
Major employers
Massachusetts in general, and Boston in particular, is a major year-round tourist destination. The MA Office of Travel and Tourism notes the industry contributes $1 billion in taxes, $16.9 billion in revenue, and about 124,700 jobs to to state each year.

Commonwealth of Mass.

Perini Corp.

Expedia, Inc.

Linchris Hotel Corporation

Information technology
Why it's hot
Major employers
Massachusetts' high educational attainment rates and skilled workforce draw more major tech investments (and jobs) each year. According to CompTIA, technology jobs in the Bay State are, on average: are the most concentrated in the U.S.; offer the third-highest annual earnings; rank in the top five for annual growth; and have one of the highest per-capita rankings in tech-related patenting, licensing, and venture capital.

Raytheon Co.

Kronos

EMC Corp.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Sensata Technologies Inc.

In-demand jobs and degrees in Massachusetts

Another state feature to include in addition to industry growth is projected occupational demand. Students who invest in the right training for fast-growing jobs usually face rosier career outlooks. The U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop projects that the following jobs will be among the fastest-growing in Massachusetts through 2024:

High-demand careers and degrees in Massachusetts

Occupation

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Minimum degree-level required

Recommended programs

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

9 percent

Associate*

Radiology

Respiratory Therapy Technicians

8 percent

Associate*

Respiratory Therapy

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists

8 percent

Associate

Radiology Technology

Exercise Physiologists

12 percent

Bachelor's

Sports Psychology

Statistical Assistants

8 percent

Bachelor's

Statistics

Dietitians and Nutritionists

8 percent

Bachelor's

Nutrition

Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists

12 percent

Doctorate*

Psychology

Genetic Counselors

10 percent

Master's*

Genetic Counseling

Nurse Midwives

9 percent

Master's*

Nursing

Source: Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

How can I enroll in an online or on-campus school in Massachusetts?

The admissions processes for Massachusetts colleges and universities mirror those in other states, though acceptance by the state's numerous prestigious schools can be a great deal more competitive than in other schools. The same can be said of online programs in Massachusetts. Some tips:

  • Research many different schools that offer your program of interest. Make sure your short-list includes at least three of a diversity of colleges.
  • Confirm prospective schools are nationally or regionally accredited: many graduate schools and financial aid awards require that students attend accredited institutions.
  • Find all school deadlines, mark them on your calendar and stick to them. Students seeking financial aid should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) early, making certain all schools to which you are applying are listed.

Featured schools in Massachusetts

You can begin your college search by checking out the following featured Massachusetts schools. Don't miss the other schools listed below or the college locator map.

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Featured colleges in Massachusetts

School (City)

Institution type

Tuition fees (2016)

Students receiving financial aid (2016)

Popular areas of study

Online learning?

Harvard University

Private nonprofit

Ivy League

$47,047

55%

Social sciences

Biological sciences

History

Mathematics

Physical sciences

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Private nonprofit

$48,452

59%

Engineering

Computer sciences

Math and Statistics

Biological sciences

Physical sciences

UMass Amherst

Public university

$13,790

56%

Business

Biological sciences

Social sciences

Healthcare

Psychology

UMass Boston

(Boston)

Public university

$12,682

55%

Business

Healthcare

Psychology

Biological sciences

Tufts University

Public university

$50,604

42%

Social sciences

Biological sciences

Engineering

Visual, performing arts

Brandeis University

Private nonprofit

$49,598

58%

Biology

Economics

Psychology

Business

Health policy

Clark University

(Worcester)

Private nonprofit

$41,940

82%

Psychology

Biology

Economics

History

Article Sources