Online Colleges in

Online Schools in Massachusetts

Article Sources
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  • 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
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  • "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
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  • Sources: U.S. New

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



Student share of population

Pop. w/ 4+-year degrees

Colleges in 10 mi. radius

Major institutions


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."




Harvard University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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




Babson College

Wellesley College


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.




University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Amherst College


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.




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







Private non-profit






Private for-profit






State total






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


Top schools *

Enrollment (2016)

Tuition fees (2016)

Featured online programs

Online bachelor's degree

Westfield State University



BS. in Business Management

BS in Criminal Justice

BA in Psychology

UMass Dartmouth



BS in General Business Admin.

Bachelor of Liberal Arts

BA in History

New England College of Business and Finance



BS in Digital Marketing

BS in Business Administration

BS in International Business

Online MBA

Northeastern University



MBA (Full-time)

MS in Business Analytics

MS in Innovation

Online teaching degree

UMass Lowell




MEd in Education Administration

EdD in School Leadership

Online engineering degree

Worcester Polytechnic University



MS in Mechanical Engineering

Certificate in Nuclear Engineering

Ph.D. in Systems Engineering

Online nursing degree

UMass Amherst




Doctor of Nursing Practice


MPH in Nutrition

Online degree in information technology

Boston University



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:

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

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.


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


Projected growth (2014-2024)

Minimum degree-level required

Recommended programs

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

9 percent



Respiratory Therapy Technicians

8 percent


Respiratory Therapy

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists

8 percent


Radiology Technology

Exercise Physiologists

12 percent


Sports Psychology

Statistical Assistants

8 percent



Dietitians and Nutritionists

8 percent



Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists

12 percent



Genetic Counselors

10 percent


Genetic Counseling

Nurse Midwives

9 percent



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.


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



Social sciences

Biological sciences



Physical sciences

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Private nonprofit




Computer sciences

Math and Statistics

Biological sciences

Physical sciences

UMass Amherst

Public university




Biological sciences

Social sciences



UMass Boston


Public university






Biological sciences

Tufts University

Public university



Social sciences

Biological sciences


Visual, performing arts

Brandeis University

Private nonprofit







Health policy

Clark University


Private nonprofit







Article Sources