Massachusetts Colleges Summary

Massachusetts is known for its college towns (Boston and Amherst), and is home to more than 180 colleges and adult education institutions. Most of the colleges in Massachusetts — 80% — are private.

The state's public colleges and universities include 15 community colleges and 9 state universities, the largest of which is the University of Massachusetts (50,000 students on 4 campuses and a medical school).

Four of the most famous and highly acclaimed private universities in Massachusetts are:

  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Boston College
  • Boston University

Online Education in Massachusetts

Online learning is alive and well in Massachusetts. The University of Massachusetts makes 150 of its on-campus degree programs available online via UMassOnline. Massachusetts Colleges Online is a consortium of community and state colleges in Massachusetts that share their online courses and programs with students throughout the state and beyond.

Education Initiatives in Massachusetts

The state makes several education initiatives available to students. The Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Partnership allows Massachusetts high school students to take college-level courses at a discount, earning credit toward high school completion and their future college degrees. MassTransfer is a collaboration between Massachusetts community colleges, state universities and the University of Massachusetts and allows for students to transfer seamlessly, minimizing the time it takes to earn a bachelor's degree.

Massachusetts also participates in national initiative such as Achieving the Dream and Complete College America. Both programs aim to increase college completion rates and close achievement gaps, especially among traditionally underrepresented groups.

For more information on the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, see


  • Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, Accessed March 2018,
  • Harvard University, Accessed March 2018
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Accessed March 2018,
  • National Partnerships: Achieving the Dream and Complete College America, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, Accessed April 2018,
Education Institutes in Massachusetts
Total Number of Educational Institutes
Total Enrollment in all institutes
Number of Public Educational Institutes
Number of Private For-Profit Institutes
Number of Private Non-Profit Institutes
Graduation Rate
Total Graduates With Bachelors Degree
On Campus and Online Programs in Massachusetts
Number of Institutes Offering on-campus programs
Number of Institutes Offering on-line programs
Number of Institutes Offering both

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,