10 Most Popular Colleges in Massachusetts

Get an idea of Massachusetts’ most popular colleges, based on enrollment.

By Adam Jazairi

There are a lot of schools in Massachusetts, and picking the ones you want to apply to is to small task. If you find yourself struggling with this part of the process, a good place to start is to point which Massachusetts colleges are the most popular.

Fortunately, we’ve already done the leg work for you on this one. This list compiles the 10 most popular colleges in Massachusetts. We’ll go over the annual enrollment for each school, tuition and fees, and some of the colleges’ best programs. Feel free to use this as a reference for the largest colleges in Massachusetts, as well as a general indicator of some of the best colleges in Massachusetts for your field of interest.

10. Bridgewater State College

Type: Public Liberal Arts College

Enrollment: 9,934

Tuition: $3,961 (in-state); $7,031.50 (out-of-state)

Best Program: The Fine Arts Department is one of Bridgewater State College’s oldest academic division, and is still a very popular destination for incoming students.

Fun Fact: Outside of the sprawling University of Massachusetts system, Bridgewater State College holds the distinction of being the largest public college in the state.

9. Salem State University

Type: Public University

Enrollment: 10,085

Tuition: $4,055 (in-state), $7,125 (out-of-state)

Best Programs: Most Salem State University students take a practical approach to education, majoring in fields like business administration, nursing and communications.

Fun Fact: Salem State’s status as a university was granted fairly recently, in 2010. However, the school already enrolls more than 2,300 postgraduate students.

8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Type: Private University

Enrollment: 10,220

Tuition: $20,885

Best Programs: MIT is of course known for its strong academics in engineering and the hard sciences, but the school also features nationally ranked academics in the humanities and social sciences.

Fun Fact: Selectivity has its benefits. Among its alumni, MIT boasts nearly 80 Nobel laureates, 45 Rhodes Scholars and about 40 MacArthur Fellows.

7. University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Type: Public University

Enrollment: 11,635

Tuition: $11,847 (in-state), $24,896 (out-of-state)

Best Programs: Academics at UMass Lowell are particularly strong in the physical sciences and engineering.

Fun Fact: UMass Lowell has undergone several recent developments in the past few years, including new residence halls and academic buildings throughout the campus. The school is currently constructing the new Manning School of Business building.

6. University of Massachusetts, Boston

Type: Public University

Enrollment: 13,433

Tuition: $7,003 (in-state); $14,095 (out-of-state)

Best Programs: Because its campus is in the city, UMass Boston offers great opportunities for urban and policy studies.

Fun Fact: Many students are drawn to UMass Boston because of its prime location, and with good reason! The school is within walking distance from such Boston landmarks as the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

5. Boston College

Type: Private University

Enrollment: 14,621

Tuition: $21,570 (undergrad)

Best Programs: Boston College has many academic strengths, including education, nursing, law, business, and social work; its sociology program is considered one of the best in the region.

Fun Fact: BC is among the “Big Three” of the “Catholic Ivy League,” along with University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University.

4. Northeastern University

Type: Private University

Enrollment: 24,434

Tuition: $19,660 (undergrad)

Best Programs: The university’s emphasis on experiential learning lends particular strength to its public policy and urban affairs programs, as well as the School of Education.

Fun Fact: Northeastern has begun to expand its academic influence by opening satellite campuses throughout the country. Campuses in Charlotte and Seattle recently opened, with plans for future satellites in Austin, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Silicon Valley.

3. Harvard University

Type: Private University

Enrollment: 25,690

Tuition: $19,240

Best Program: Its most famous division is Harvard Law School, which is the oldest (and according to many, the most prestigious) law school in the country.

Fun Fact: Established nearly 400 years ago, Harvard holds the proud distinction of being the first post-secondary school in the United States.

2. University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Type: Public University

Enrollment: 25,873

Tuition: $13,230 (in-state); $26,645 (out-of-state)

Best Program: UMass Amherst is well known for its outstanding computer science academics.

Fun Fact: It’s no secret that UMass Amherst is the largest campus in the University of Massachusetts system, but you might be surprised to learn that it’s also the biggest public university in the Northeast.

1. Boston University

Type: Private University

Enrollment: 32,053

Tuition: $21,497

Best Programs: Boston University features offers strong academics in social work, medicine, engineering and law, among other subjects.

Fun Fact: Boston University now comprises more than 18 academic divisions. Interestingly, the first of these was the School of Theology, established in 1839.

Quick Tips/Facts

  • Though this list is a good place to start your college search, it’s by no means comprehensive. Don’t forget to check out some of Massachusetts’ excellent small colleges, such as Williams College and Amherst College.
  • Don’t worry if tuition costs seem steep. Many institutions are dedicated to helping students afford college, and employ a need-blind admissions policy.
  • Massachusetts has some of the oldest colleges in the country, which are also some of the most competitive. Acceptance rates at Harvard and MIT are almost always under 10 percent.

Stats source: CollegeStats

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