Throughout the state of Massachusetts are many highly acclaimed universities. Some of these colleges are public, while others are privately funded. The public and private higher education system in Massachusetts is a multi-billion-dollar industry, with many universities employing world-renowned professors. Competition is high for many of the private institutions, and several of those have an acceptance rate for freshman below the 10 percent mark. Tuition rates are costly at most universities in the state (private or public). Many of the universities have been in the state since the mid-1600s, such as Harvard in Cambridge, MA. However, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is ranked as one of the top 10 universities, not only in the U.S., but in the world. Many Massachusetts university graduates go on to work in the top levels in their industry. Many U.S. politicians (some presidents), notable scientists and top entertainment and news figures received their start at these universities. The colleges listed below are a sampling of the best institutions of higher learning in the state.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT is a private college with enrollment of undergraduates averaging approximately 4,527. Set on 168 scenic acres, the school is located just outside of Boston. MIT focuses highly on innovative science research and technology, and is comprised of five schools of study and one college. This university offers high academic rigor in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology and economics. Most of the student body opt to live on campus, with the largest number of students enrolling into the engineering school. A notable MIT alumnus is Buzz Aldrin.
Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Harvard University was originally opened in 1636 and features 13 schools/institutes. The university’s library is considered one of the oldest in the U.S. and boasts one of the most extensive private collections, internationally. The university has produced eight presidents, including John F. Kennedy and FDR. The student to teacher ratio is kept extremely small at seven to one. Some of the more popular majors at the university are history, mathematics, social science, biological sciences, physical sciences and general studies.
Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts
Located not too far from Boston, Tufts is another highly acclaimed private school in Massachusetts. This school, like many of the prestigious universities, was founded over a century ago. 5,290 undergraduates enroll yearly. The 150 acre campus offers many degrees and majors, but the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering seem to be the most popular programs. A large portion of the student body participate in study abroad programs. The work of Pablo Picasso, John Singer Sargent, and Andy Warhol is on permanent display at Tufts. The teacher to student ratio is low, at 9:1.
Massachusetts’ Amherst College
Amherst College, founded in 1821, has an annual enrollment of 1,795, and is known for its academic rigor. This college belongs to an educational consortium that also includes the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Smith, Hampshire and Mount Holyoke. Amherst has a reputation as being quite musical, and there are a number of acapella groups on campus. The student to teacher ratio is 8:1, with former President Calvin Coolidge, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Harlan Fiske Stone and Prince Albert II of Monaco counted among former alumni. Popular majors include general studies, English literature, psychology, history and mathematics.
Wellesley College in Massachusetts
Founded in 1870, Wellesley College is a small, but prestigious liberal arts college for women. Wellesley works in connection with MIT utilizing a cross-registration platform that allows students to expand their range of courses. Wellesley has one of the nation’s oldest physics lab, with the more popular majors including political science, economics, research, computer and information sciences, neuroscience and government. The class sizes are small at 7:1, with notable alumni including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Diane Sawyer and Madeline Albright.
Boston College in Massachusetts
Set on approximately 338 acres, Boston College is a private university. This college was originally a religiously based school for Roman Catholics, and maintains that affiliation. Several of the schools located on the campus have notable reputations, such as the Boston College Law School, Lynch School of Education and the Carroll School of Management. The student to teacher ratios are 12:1, with many students opting for the study abroad each year. Some of the more popular majors include speech communication and rhetoric, psychology, economics, finance and biological sciences.
University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth)
The University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth is a state school that was founded in 1895. The undergraduate enrollment is approximately 7,295 each year. Set on 710 acres, this campus is quite affordable, even for out-of-state students. The university offers at least 50 different fields of study for undergraduates. The fine arts program is nationally ranked and the College of Visual and Performing Arts consistently turns out notable alumni in the performing arts, such as Academy Award-Winning screenwriter, Brian Helgeland. Compared to the other universities in the state, UMass at Dartmouth has a larger student to teacher ratio of 18:1, with most of the majors including visual and performing arts, business, management, engineering, health professions, marketing and social sciences.
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Another public university, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has a large undergraduate enrollment of approximately 22,748 each year. Tuition costs are also considered affordable as compared to the private universities. The school is centrally located within the state and takes part in the intercollege exchange program, which allows students enrolled to take classes at any of the other participating colleges that make up the exchange. This allows students to select from over 90 majors, and the college also offers a wide variety of hybrid classes (distance learning with in-class hours). This university’s student to teacher ratio is approximately 18:1, with the most popular majors being biological and biomedical sciences, business, marketing, management, social sciences, psychology and health professions. Some of the university’s more notable graduates include Jeff Corwin (Animal Planet), and Jeff Taylor (founder of Monster.com).