TOP_schools_MassachusettsContinuing our series of best online college by state rankings, we have examined all online colleges in Massachusetts and chosen to showcase the top 20 schools, based on the methodology stated below.

For this Top 20 Best Online Colleges ranking, we have scored each school located in Massachusetts that offers distance learning students a selection of online academic programs. We scored these online colleges on a scale from 0 to 200 total points which were awarded based on the combination of two different percentage rates that acted as our scoring criteria. These two rates are the school’s total Freshman Retention Rate (what percentage of the school’s freshman students returned for their sophomore year) and their overall Graduation Rate (what percentage of the school’s students receive their degree in an acceptable amount of time). The goal of this Top 20 Best Online Schools in Massachusetts ranking is to assist distance learning students in knowing what their various options are for obtaining a degree in a flexible, online format from a reputable Massachusetts school.

The State of Massachusetts is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. The state–which was initially dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade–was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts’ economy shifted from manufacturing to services, and the state is now a global leader in the areas of biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance and maritime trade.

Massachusetts was the first state in the nation that required municipalities to appoint a teacher or to establish a grammar school with the passage of the Massachusetts Education Law of 1647. The State of Massachusetts is home to the oldest school in continuous existence in North America; the Roxbury Latin School, which was founded in 1645. Additionally, the state is home to the country’s oldest public elementary school; the Mather School, which was established in 1639.

Methodology

We have judged each of the schools that are located in the State of Massachusetts and that provide distance learning students with a selection of various online academic programs from which they can choose from based on the following ranking criteria:

  • 50%: Freshman Retention Rates and;
  • 50%: Graduation Rates

To gather the information that we required to rank each Massachusetts-based school based on this criteria, we used each of the school’s websites whenever possible to obtain their two rates. In cases where a school does not provide this information, we utilized the databases of both U.S. News and World Report and of National Center for Education Statistics. In the case where multiple schools had the same Final Score based on the combination of the two scoring rates for this Top 20, we utilized the alphabetical ordering of their names as our designated tie-breaker. We chose these two ranking criteria because when both rates are taken into account, they greatly assist in shedding light on how capable a school is as a provider of a higher education overall.

We also consulted our own ranking of the top 100 best online colleges when ranking these online colleges.

20: Regis College in Weston

Regis College offers its more than 2,000 total enrolled students a selection of online and fully asynchronous academic programs. These programs are a Master of Science in Nursing degree program (with available concentrations in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner) a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) degree program and a Master of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (MSN to DNP) degree program.

Regis College is a private, not-for-profit Roman Catholic-affiliated liberal arts university that is located in Weston, Massachusetts. Regis College was originally established in 1927 and initially operated as a women’s only college. The college was founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. The college’s name was inspired by the Reverend Mother Mary Regis Casserly, who established the Sisters of Saint Joseph in the Boston area in 1873. Regis College became coeducational in 2007. In 2005, Regis College founded a Life Long Learning Program that offers courses to older adults at the Regis College in Weston campus. These Life Long Learning Program courses are taught by volunteers.

Regis College has cross-registration privileges with the local colleges and universities of Babson College, Bentley University, Brandeis University and Boston College. Additionally, Regis College has a cooperative degree program with Worcester Polytechnic Institute available in which students can enroll. Regis College also holds affiliations with the Sisters of Saint Joseph College Consortium; the Regent’s College in London; the University College Cork in Ireland and; the Kyoto Notre Dame University in Kyoto, Japan.

School’s Website: http://www.regiscollege.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 82.0%
Graduation Rate: 48.0%
Final Score: 130.0/200

19: Lesley University

Lesley University is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts university that is located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Lesley University was originally established in 1909 by Edith Lesley, an educator and United States protectorate. The school started as a private women’s institution to train kindergarten teachers. Today, Lesley University offers its students a selection of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certificate-granting programs which span across varying areas-of-study.

Many of the academic programs offered through Lesley University are available in an online and asynchronous format, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Design for User Experience degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree program, a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities degree program, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree program, a Master of Education in Mathematics Education degree program, a Master of Science in Management degree program, a Master of Education in Science Education degree program and a Master of Education in Language and Literacy degree program among many others.

Lesley University is academically organized into four schools and colleges through which all of their academic programs are offered. These schools and colleges are the College of Art and Design; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Graduate School of Education and; the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences. The online degree programs and the on-campus degree programs are both taught by the same academic faculty members.

School’s Website: http://www.lesley.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 80.0%
Graduation Rate: 54.0%
Final Score: 134.0/200

18: Western New England University

A Juris Doctor / Master of Business Administration (JD/MBA) joint degree program, a Master of Laws (LLM) in Elder Law and Estate Planning degree program, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Communications with a Public Relations Concentration degree program, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum and Instruction degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Accounting degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Elder Law and Estate Planning degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Engineering Management / Master of Business Administration joint degree program and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Organizational Leadership degree program are the highly flexible and comprehensive online and asynchronous academic programs that distance learning students can enroll in at Western New England University.

Western New England University (which is commonly referred to simply as WNE) is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts university that is located in Springfield, Massachusetts. WNE was originally established in 1919 as the Northeastern College’s Springfield Division. The name would be changed in 1922 to Northeastern University of the Boston YMCA, Springfield Division; in 1935 to Northeastern University, Springfield Division; again in 1951 to Western New England College and finally to its present-day name of Western New England University in 2011 in recognition of its newly created Master’s and Doctoral degree-granting programs. This final name change marked the return of “University” to the school’s name, which occurred exactly 60 years after the school’s separation from Northeastern University. Despite this, the school had long been classified as a university-level institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Western New England University is a member institute of the Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield (CCGS), with other members of the consortium being: American International College (which is located in Springfield); Bay Path University (Longmeadow); Elms College (Chicopee); Holyoke Community College (Holyoke); Springfield College (Springfield); Springfield Technical Community College (Springfield) and; Westfield State University (Westfield). The university is also a partner in the Hartford-Springfield Region’s Knowledge Corridor Initiative.

School’s Website: http://www1.wne.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 78.0%
Graduation Rate: 59.0%
Final Score: 137.0/200

17: Westfield State University

As a public research university that offers a variety of online and asynchronous academic programs (a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Management degree completion program, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice degree completion program, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History degree completion program, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Liberal Studies degree completion program, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology degree completion program, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Sociology degree completion program and a Spanish Language graduate certificate program), Westfield State University is a provider of a flexible and comprehensive higher education. In addition to the Majors and the certificate program that is offered online, Westfield State University also offers distance learning students a selection of four Minors: Art, Business Management, Psychology and Sociology.

Westfield State University (which is commonly referred to as Westfield State, and which has been formerly known as Westfield Normal School, Westfield State Teachers College and as Westfield College throughout its history) is located in Westfield, Massachusetts. Westfield State University was originally established in 1838 by renowned educator and social reformist Horace Mann as the first public, coeducational college in the United States that did not bar students due to their race, their gender or due to their socioeconomic class. Horace Mann (May 4, 1796 ñ August 2, 1859) was a Whig politician that was dedicated to promoting public education. He served in the Massachusetts State Legislature (from 1827ñ37). And, in 1848, after his public service as the Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, Mann was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Whig to fill the vacancy that was caused by the death of John Quincy Adams. He served in this role from 1848 to 1853.

Westfield State University has received institutional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Additionally, many of the university’s academic programs have received programmatic accreditation from a variety of accreditors, such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE); the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP); the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and; the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) among many others.

School’s Website: http://www.westfield.ma.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 79.0%
Graduation Rate: 63.0%
Final Score: 142.0/200

16: Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music is a private and not-for-profit contemporary music college that is located in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to the main campus, Berklee College of Music also operates a satellite campus in Valencia, Spain, which opened in 2012. Berklee College of Music was originally established in 1945 by Lawrence Berk (December 1908 ñ December 22, 1995), an educator, pianist, composer and arranger. The school was first known as the Schillinger House and, at the time of its founding, almost all music schools focused primarily on classical music. Lawrence Berk wanted Schillinger House to be different and unique. Due to this desire, the school offered training to its students in the musical stylings of jazz and commercial music for mediums such as radio, theater, television, and dancing. Schillinger House specialized in (and was named after) the Schillinger System of Musical Composition, which is a method of musical composition that is based on mathematical processes and that was created by Joseph Moiseyevich Schillinger. This musical method comprises theories of rhythm, harmony, melody, counterpoint, form and musical semantics.

The school’s curriculum evolved over time to include music education classes and a more traditional music theory program. In 1954, Lawrence Berk decided to change the name of Schillinger House to Berklee School of Music–named after his son Lee Eliot Berk–to better reflect the broader scope of instruction that was now being offered at the Institute. In 1969, new courses in rock, popular music, and jingle writing were added to the curriculum. These courses were the first ever of their kind to be offered to students at the college level. In 1970, the school would undergo a final name change, this time to its present-day name of Berklee College of Music.

Today, Berklee College of Music is the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. Known for the study of jazz and modern American music, Berklee College of Music also offers college-level courses in a wide-range of contemporary and historic music stylings, such as Rock-and-Roll, Flamenco, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Folk Music, Big Band and Salsa among others. Many of the college’s academic programs are available to distance learning students in an asynchronous and online format, such as their Bachelor of Professional Studies in Music Production degree program, a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Guitar degree program, a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Music Business degree program, a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Songwriting degree program, a Artist Management certificate program, an Arranging and Orchestration certificate program, a Composing and Orchestrating for Film and Television certificate program and their Composing and Producing Electronic Music certificate program.

School’s Website: https://www.berklee.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 87.0%
Graduation Rate: 56.0%
Final Score: 143.0/200

15: College of Our Lady of the Elms (Elms College)

Elms College (which is formally known as the College of Our Lady of the Elms) is a private, not-for-profit Roman Catholic-affiliated liberal arts college that is located in Chicopee, Massachusetts, near the city of Springfield. The College of Our Lady of the Elms was originally established in 1897 as the Academy of Our Lady of the Elms. The Academy of Our Lady of the Elms was co-founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Diocese of Springfield. The co-founders created the academy as a girl’s only preparatory school that was originally located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In 1927, the Sisters of Saint Joseph petitioned the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to charter the school as a women’s only two-year liberal arts college with a specialization in Education academic programs. This charter was approved by the Commonwealth in 1928, and the name of the Academy of Our Lady of the Elms was changed to the College of Our Lady of the Elms to reflect this change adequately.

Today, Elms College is a four-year liberal arts college and it offers its more than 1,200 total enrolled students a selection of thirty-three academic Majors through the seven academic divisions into which the college is organized. These academic divisions are the Division of Business; the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders; the Division of Education; the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts; the Division of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Technology; the Division of Social Sciences and; the School of Nursing (formerly the Division of Nursing). The college’s Division of Nursing became the School of Nursing in 2013.

Students–both traditional on-campus students and distance learning students–are provided with a wide selection of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs, and professional certification programs. The online programs (which are offered in a fully asynchronous format) are taught by the same academic faculty members as the on-campus program counterparts. This ensures that each of the students that are enrolled in an educational program at College of Our Lady of the Elms will receive the very same high-quality and comprehensive education regardless of their chosen delivery system.

The academic programs that are available online are: an Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) degree program, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) degree program, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Healthcare Management degree program and a Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) stand-alone / post-Associate’s / post-Bachelor’s certificate program.

School’s Website: http://www.elms.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 82.0%
Graduation Rate: 67.0%
Final Score: 149.0/200

14: Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston Main Campus

Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston Main Campus (which is commonly referred to simply as WIT for simplicity sake) is a private, not-for-profit technical design and engineering college that is located in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. Wentworth Institute of Technology was originally established in 1904 as a school that was designed “…to furnish education in the Mechanical Arts” to its students. The original student body consisted of 242 students and, today, WIT teaches more than 4,500 total students. These students can enroll in a variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs through Wentworth Institute of Technology’s fourteen different academic divisions into which the school is organized. The institute’s degree programs span across varying areas-of-study, including Applied Mathematics; Architecture; Biomedical Engineering; Civil Engineering; Information Technology; Construction and Construction Management; Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and; the Humanities and Social Sciences among many others. Many degree programs are even interdisciplinary in nature.

Wentworth Institute of Technology is one of the six member institutions of the Colleges of the Fenway Consortium and, as such, shares many facilities and participates in a variety of activities with nearby Colleges of Fenway Consortium member institutions. The other five member institutions of the Colleges of the Fenway Consortium are: the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt; established 1873), MCPHS University (formerly the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; founded in 1823), Emmanuel College (EC; established in 1912), Simmons College (established in 1899), and Wheelock College (Wheelock; established in 1888). Additionally, WIT has partnerships with Northeastern University (NU; established in 1898) and the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA; established in 1870).

Many of the programs that are offered through Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston Main Campus are offered in a fully asynchronous online format and in a Hybrid format (which combines some face-to-face course with online coursework). These available online and asynchronous format degree programs and Hybrid format academic degree programs are: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Project Management degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Computer Science (MSACS) degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Facility Management (MSFM) degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Technology Management (MSTM) degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Construction Management (MSCM) degree program and aProject Management certificate program. Most of these courses can be completed fully online, but a few require a small amount of face-to-face course each semester, depending on which program is chosen.

School’s Website: https://www.wit.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 84.0%
Graduation Rate: 67.0%
Final Score: 151.0/200

13: Assumption College

With a selection of fully asynchronous and online academic programs that includes: a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program (which has the following concentrations available for students to choose from: Digital Marketing, General Management, Human Resources Management, Marketing, Project Management and a Student Self-Designed Concentration), a Bachelor of Arts (B.A). in Humanities degree program (which has the following concentrations available for students to choose from: English, History, Literature, Philosophy and Theology), a Aging Services certificate program, a Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling certificate program, a Digital Marketing certificate program and a Medical Coding and Billing certificate program (which includes instruction on both the ICD-9 and the ICD-10 medical coding and billing systems) among many others, Assumption College is a well-rounded provider of numerous flexible and comprehensive academic degree-granting programs.

Assumption College is a private, not-for-profit Roman Catholic-affiliated liberal arts college that is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and that was originally established in 1904 by the Augustinians of the Assumption, a religious congregation of Catholic brothers that is based in France. Assumption College was named after this founding religious group. Assumption College initially operated as a men’s only seminary and normal school. In 1969, Assumption College became a fully coeducational institute and, additionally, began admitting its first lay students, after having expanded the core curriculum to include various liberal arts programs. This marked a significant change in the college.

Assumption College operates the French Institute (Institut Français), which was founded in 1979 and which serves as a specialized research center for the many Assumption College students who are studying French history, culture and the French language. The Institute was co-founded by Father Wilfrid J. Dufault, A.A. (the late Chancellor Emeritus of Assumption College) and by Dr. Claire Quintal, (Founding Director Emerita) to preserve the French heritage of Assumption College and the New England region as a whole. As a research center, the French Institute is home to numerous books, documents, and artifacts that are pertinent to its primary focus of study: the French presence in North America, with particular emphasis on the French presence in the region of New England.

School’s Website: https://www.assumption.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 83.0%
Graduation Rate: 73.0%
Final Score: 156.0/200

12: MCPHS University – Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

MCPHS University (formerly known as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences) is a private, not-for-profit university that specializes in the areas of Pharmaceuticals, the Health Sciences and Nursing and that is located in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area of Boston, Massachusetts. MCPHS University was originally established in 1823 as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. The University was co-founded by a group of fourteen Boston-based pharmacists. Today, MCPHS University is the oldest institution of higher education that is located in the city of Boston. The university is also the second-oldest College of Pharmacy located in the United States, being preceded only by the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (which is now known as the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and which was originally established in 1821). In addition to being the second-oldest College of Pharmacy, MCPHS University holds the unique distinction of being the current largest College of Pharmacy in the entire nation, based on student body size. MCPHS University offers its more than 7,000 total enrolled students a selection of numerous comprehensive academic programs.

Many of MCPHS University’s academic programs are available in a fully asynchronous and online educational format at all academic levels (undergraduate, graduate and certification). Online undergraduate programs that are available include: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Sciences degree completion program and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Dental Hygiene degree completion program.

The offered graduate programs include: a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Dental Hygiene degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing – Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner degree program and a Doctor of Health Sciences (DHS) degree program.

And, finally, a selection of the online certification programs that are available include: a Healthcare Management graduate certificate program, an Oral Health Professions Education graduate certificate program, a Nurse Educator graduate certificate program, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) advanced studies certificate program and a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner advanced graduate certificate program. These online programs are all taught by the same dedicated and experienced academic faculty members as the on-campus counterparts are, ensuring each MCPHS University student receives the same comprehensive and high-quality education.

School’s Website: https://www.mcphs.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 84.0%
Graduation Rate: 72.0%
Final Score: 156.0/200

11: Endicott College

Endicott College is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college that is located in Beverly, Massachusetts. Endicott College was initially established in 1939 and was originally named Endicott Junior College, having been named after John Endecott. John Endecott is widely regarded as one of the Fathers of New England and was the longest-serving Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (which later became the State of Massachusetts; Endecott served as Governor for 16-years). Endicott Junior College operated as a two-year women’s only collegiate institute and maintained the core mission of educating women “…for greater independence and to obtain an enhanced position in the workplace.” Endicott Junior College was co-founded by husband and wife George O. Bierkoe and Eleanor Tupper. George O. Bierkoe–a Pennsylvania-native Lutheran minister and educator–served as first President of the College from its founding in 1939 until 1971. Due to views on education held by Bierkoe, Endicott College was–and still is–known for the emphasis, it places on experiential and practical education-providing internships beginning in a student’s first year at the college.

The year of its founding, the college was issued its first charter by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 1944, Endicott Junior College was approved by the State of Massachusetts to confer Associate’s degrees upon eligible students after their successful program completion. In 1952, the college received its first institutional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), which is a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)- and United States Department of Education-approved regional accrediting body. The college changed its name to its present-day name of Endicott College when it dropped the ‘Junior’ part of the name in 1975. In 1994–55 years after it first opened its doors to students–Endicott College became a fully coeducational institution.

Today, students can enroll into a variety of asynchronous and fully online academic programs, including: a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Organizational Management degree program, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Athletic Administration degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Homeland Security degree program, a Master of Science in Business Administration (MBA) degree program and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Behavior Analysis degree program among numerous others, all of which span across a myriad of different areas-of-study.

School’s Website: http://www.endicott.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 86.0%
Graduation Rate: 71.0%
Final Score: 157.0/200

10: Simmons College

Simmons College is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college that is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Simmons College was originally established in 1899 by John Simmons, a wealthy Boston-based clothing manufacturer. John Simmons founded the college based on his personally held belief that women should be able to live independently. He set about to accomplish this idea by offering the women of the surrounding communities an undergraduate Liberal Arts education which integrated professional work experience through experiential learning. In 1976, Simmons College purchased Garland Junior College (originally established in 1872), which was another Boston-located and women’s only liberal arts college. This purchase (which included the junior college’s name, the campus, and buildings and most other assets) was caused due to the junior college’s long-standing economic hardships.

Simmons College is a member institute of the Colleges of the Fenway Consortium. The other member-institutes includes Emmanuel College; Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT); Wheelock College; Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS University) and; the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). The undergraduate program is women-centered. The graduate schools, which are: the School of Library and Information Science; the School of Social Work; the School of Health Sciences; the School of Business Management and; the School of the Arts and Sciences program. Through these graduate schools, students can enroll in a variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs, and certification programs. The undergraduate degree programs that Simmons offers, however, are only available for female students and are only available on-campus. Despite this, a selection of the college’s offered graduate degree-granting programs are available to both male and female distance learning students in an online and asynchronous format.

These online graduate degree programs that are offered to distance learning students by Simmons College are: a Master of Science (M.S.) in Behavior Analysis degree program, a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program, a Master of Business Administration in Health Care
degree program and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program. The online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program ([email protected]) is the first MBA program in the world that was designed specifically for women.

Simmons College released during the 2014 academic school year an explicitly clear policy which detailed the guidelines for the college’s acceptance of transwomen students. This system proudly points out Simmons College’s strong tradition of accepting women, empowering women, and challenging traditional societal gender roles throughout their long and rich history of being an inclusive and progressive institute of higher education. Because of this newly enacted policy, the college’s undergraduate program would begin to accept applicants who are assigned male at birth (AMAB) as well as any other individuals who identify as being female. Additionally, Simmons College does not require any form government-issued documentation that shows a student’s gender for them to be eligible to enroll in the undergraduate program. This policy makes Simmons College only the third women-focused college that accepts trans women students, and that is located in the United States.

School’s Website: http://www.simmons.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 85.0%
Graduation Rate: 74.0%
Final Score: 159.0/200

9: University of Massachusetts – UMass Amherst Main Campus

The University of Massachusetts’s main campus (UMass Amherst) is a public land-grant research university that is located in Amherst, Massachusetts. UMass Amherst is the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts System, a five-campus public university system and the only public research system that is located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The system includes four schools (Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell), a medical school (the University of Massachusetts – UMass Worcester; also known simply as UMass Medical School) and a satellite campus in Springfield, Massachusetts. UMass Amherst is the largest public university in New England based on student body size (with more than 30,000 total enrolled students).

UMass Amherst was originally established in 1863 under the provisions of the Federal Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1863 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College. In 1931, the Massachusetts Agricultural College college was renamed Massachusetts State College. The name of the college was changed again in 1947, this time to its present-day name of the University of Massachusetts.

Today, UMass Amherst is organized into ten schools and colleges: the Stockbridge School of Agriculture; the School of Education; the College of Engineering; the School of Public Health and Health Sciences; the College of Humanities and Fine Arts; the Isenberg School of Management; the College of Natural Sciences; the School of Nursing; the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and; the College of Information and Computer Sciences. Through these schools and colleges, UMass Amherst to its students more than 110 Bachelor’s degrees, 75 Master’s degrees and 47 different Doctoral degrees. Many of these academic programs are available in an online and asynchronous format, such as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Economics with a Healthcare Services Administration Concentration degree program, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program, a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Engineering Management degree program, a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership in Schooling – STEM Option (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) degree program and a Game-Based Teaching with Technology graduate certificate program, among numerous others.

All of the programs taught at UMass Amherst span across numerous areas-of-study–including many interdisciplinary programs–and are all taught by the same dedicated and highly qualified academic faculty members, regardless of whether a traditional on-campus format or an asynchronous online format is chosen. Due to this, UMass Amherst is a provider of a highly flexible, comprehensive and high-quality higher education.

School’s Website: https://www.umass.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 91.0%
Graduation Rate: 78.0%
Final Score: 169.0/200

8: Smith College – Northampton

Smith College is a private, not-for-profit women-focused liberal arts college which offers a variety of coeducational graduate and certificate programs and that is located in Northampton, Massachusetts. Smith College was originally chartered in 1871 by a bequest of Sophia Smith, a Hatfield-born educator that inherited a substantial estate from her wealthy farmer father. Sophia Smith was deaf at the age of 40 and was unmarried. Due to this, she initially considered endowing her fortune to an institute for the deaf, but would ultimately change her mind when the Clarke School for the Deaf opened in Northampton in 1868. Reverend John Morton Greene encouraged her to endow a women’s college instead.

Today, Smith College is the largest privately endowed college for women in the country. Additionally, Smith College is also a member of the Five Colleges Consortium, which allows its students to attend classes at the four other Pioneer Valley member institutes of the Consortium: Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst). Smith College has a variety of academic programs for students to choose from; many of which are available in an online and fully asynchronous format due to the college’s membership in the Five Colleges Consortium.

Some of the available online programs include: an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Sustainable Food and Farming degree program, an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Information Technology degree program, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Sociology and Anthropology degree program, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Criminal Justice degree program and a Clinical Pathology graduate certificate program, among numerous others. All of these online programs are offered through UMass Amherst, allowing students to enroll into a smaller and less expensive school while they work towards obtaining a degree of a nationally and internationally recognized university.

School’s Website: https://www.smith.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 90.0%
Graduation Rate: 87.0%
Final Score: 177.0/200

7: Boston University

Boston University, which is a private and not-for-profit research university located in Boston, has a myriad of online and asynchronous academic programs that distance learning students are able to choose from. A small sampling of these programs includes: a Master of Science in Applied Business Analytics degree program, a Master of Arts in Art Education degree program, a Master of Science in
Financial Management
degree program, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MCJ) degree program, a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems (MSCIS) degree program, an
Advanced Information Technology
graduate certificate program, a Clinical Investigation certificate program, a Cybercrime Investigation and Cybersecurity graduate certificate program, a graduate certificate program and a Health Informatics graduate certificate program, among many others.

BU (as the university is commonly referred to) was originally established in 1839. Boston University can trace its roots back to the establishment of the Newbury Biblical Institute in Newbury, Vermont. The institute would eventually be chartered as a university by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1869 and was renamed to its present-day name of Boston University. The school is currently considered to be nonsectarian, but it has a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

Today, Boston University is categorized as a Doctoral University with a Very High Research Activity rating by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The university is a member Institute of the Boston Consortium for Higher Education and is a member institute of the Association of American Universities. Boston University was ranked as having the 39th-best undergraduate program among all undergraduate programs offered by national universities and was ranked as the 32nd-best among global universities by U.S. News and World Report in their rankings for 2017.

School’s Website: http://www.bu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 93.0%
Graduation Rate: 85.0%
Final Score: 178.0/200

6: Brandeis University

Having been originally established in 1948, today Brandeis University is organized into five academic divisions: the Brandeis University College of Arts and Sciences; the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; the Heller School for Social Policy and Management; the Rabb School of Summer and Continuing Studies and; the Brandeis International Business School. It is through these academic divisions that Brandeis University, a Waltham, Massachusetts located private and not-for-profit research university, can provide to its more than 5,700 total enrolled students a selection of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certificate programs. These programs span across numerous different areas-of-study and even include various interdisciplinary programs. Many of the academic programs that are available are offered in an online and asynchronous format.

Some of the online programs include: a Master of Science in Bioinformatics degree program, a Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Design degree program, a Master of Science in Information Security Leadership degree program, a Master of Science in Technology Management degree program and a Master of Science in User-Centered Design degree program. These online programs are taught by the same academic faculty members as the on-campus program counterparts. This ensures that Brandeis University’s distance learning students not only obtain a highly flexible education, but also a fully comprehensive and high-quality one.

The university operates the Rose Art Museum, which is home to more than 6,000 works, including paintings by artists such as Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol); the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (the first academic center devoted to the study of Jewish life in the United States. Also, the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism (the first investigative reporting center based at a United States university) and; the Steinhardt Social Research Institute (which collects, analyzes and disseminates various data concerning the Jewish community and concerning religion and ethnicity in the United States) among various other centers.

School’s Website: https://www.brandeis.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 92.0%
Graduation Rate: 86.0%
Final Score: 178.0/200

5: Emerson College

Emerson College is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college that is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Emerson College was originally established in 1880 by Unitarian Church minister Charles Wesley Emerson as a school of oratory. The school was first named Boston Conservatory of Elocution, Oratory and Dramatic Art. In 1890, the name was changed to Emerson College of Oratory, which was later shortened to simply Emerson College in 1939. Emerson College is the only comprehensive college or university that is located in America, and that is dedicated exclusively to communication and the arts in a liberal arts context.

Emerson College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which is a United States Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) approved regional accrediting body. The college is academically organized into two schools (the School of Communications and the School of the Arts) and two departments (the Department of Professional Studies and the Special Programs and Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies) through which the college offers their more than 4,200 total enrolled students a selection of 27 undergraduate degree programs and 10 graduate degree programs in addition to numerous different certification programs.

Emerson College offers various for-credit courses online to their distance learning students. Additionally, Emerson College offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Popular Fiction Writing & Publishing degree program fully online and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing for Film and Television degree program which is offered in a Hybrid, Low-Residency format. Online for-credit courses are offered during the Summer semester, and the available online courses vary from year to year.

School’s Website: www.emerson.edu
Freshman Retention Rate: 100.0%
Graduation Rate: 80.0%
Final Score: 180.0/200

4: Northeastern University

Northeastern University is a private, not-for-profit research university that is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Commonly referred to as NEU or simply as NU, Northeastern University was formerly known as the Evening Institute for Younger Men when it was first established in 1898. In addition to Northeastern University’s main campus in Boston, the University operates a numerous satellite locations in throughout the State of Massachusetts, including the Kostas Research Institute (located in Burlington), a Financial District campus in the Hilton Hotel (located in Boston), a school located in Dedham and a Marine Science Center (based in Nahant).

Northeastern University is organized into nineteen schools and colleges. These are: the College of Arts, Media and Design; the School of Architecture; the School of Journalism; the D’Amore-McKim School of Business; the School of Technological Entrepreneurship; the College of Computer and Information Science; the College of Engineering; the Bouvé College of Health Sciences; the School of Nursing; the School of Pharmacy; the College of Professional Studies; the School of Education; the Lowell Institute School; the College of Science; the College of Social Science and Humanities; the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice; the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and; the Northeastern University School of Law.

Through its nineteen schools and colleges, Northeastern University offers its traditional on-campus students and distance learning students a variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certificate programs. Some of the available online and asynchronous academic programs includes: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Finance and Accounting Management degree program, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Management degree program, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Human Services degree program, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Information Technology degree program and a Bachelor of Science in (B.S.) Leadership degree program among many others. These online academic programs are taught by the same academic faculty members as the on-campus program counterparts.

School’s Website: http://www.northeastern.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 97.0%
Graduation Rate: 84.0%
Final Score: 181.0/200

3: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (which is commonly referred to simply as WPI) is a private, not-for-profit research university that is located in Worcester, Massachusetts and that focuses on the instruction and research of the technical arts and applied sciences. Worcester Polytechnic Institute was originally established in 1865 and was one of the first engineering and technology universities in the United States. WPI was co-founded by tinware manufacturer John Boynton and by the owner of the world’s largest wire mill, Ichabod Washburn.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute has produced many notable alumni over the years, including: Robert H. Goddard, the Father of Modern Rocketry; Gilbert Vernam, who is credited with pioneering cryptography; Harold Stephen Black, inventor of the negative feedback amplifier; Richard T. Whitcomb, an aeronautical engineer that was responsible for the “area rule” of high-speed aircraft design, the supercritical airfoil and winglets; Robert Stempel, the inventor of the catalytic converter and; Naveen Selvadurai, the co-founder of Foursquare among numerous others.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers its students a wide-variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certificate programs. Many of these programs are available to distance learning students via a fully asynchronous online format, such as a Master of Science in Biotechnology degree program, a Master of Science in Construction Project Management degree program, a Master of Science in Data Science degree program, a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering degree program, a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering degree program, a Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering degree program, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree program and a Master of Science in Robotics Engineering degree program.

School’s Website: https://www.wpi.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 96.0%
Graduation Rate: 85.0%
Final Score: 181.0/200

2: Tufts University

Tufts University is a private, not-for-profit research university that is located in Medford, Massachusetts. Tufts University was originally established in 1852 by Christian Universalists and was named after Charles Tufts who donated the land for the campus. Today, Tufts University is home to the oldest and largest graduate school of nutrition in the United States. Tufts University offers a variety of online graduate certificate programs to distance learning students.

The online and asynchronous graduate certificate programs that are available for students to choose from are: a Developing Healthy Communities certificate program, a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems certificate program, a Nutrition Science for Health Professionals certificate program, a Nutrition Science for Communications Professionals certificate program, a Global Nutrition Programming certificate program and a Nutrition For Industry Professionals and Entrepreneurs certificate program. Additionally, students can build their own custom certificate program by choosing from a myriad of available online courses. All of the online graduate certificate programs are offered through Tuft University’s Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Tufts University offers its students a selection of joint undergraduate degree programs through the university’s membership with the New England Conservatory and the Sciences Po Paris. Additional programs with the University of Paris, University of Oxford and constituents of the University of London are also available to Tuft University students. A selection of the university’s academic programs are affiliated with two nearby institutions of higher education: Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Due to these partnerships, Tufts University can provide its more than 10,700 total enrolled students a highly flexible and comprehensive education.

School’s Website: https://www.tufts.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 97.0%
Graduation Rate: 93.0%
Final Score: 190.0/200

1: Labouré College

Labouré College is the top scoring school for the Top 20 Best Online Schools in Massachusetts ranking. Labouré College has a perfect Final Score of 200 total points due to having a stellar Freshman Retention Rate (100%) and an enviable Graduation Rate (100%). We will shed some light on the college to discern how they have been able to obtain and maintain these two excellent percentage rates that our ranking criteria were concerned with.

Labouré College is a private, not-for-profit Roman Catholic-affiliated liberal arts college that is located in Milton, Massachusetts. Labouré College was originally established in 1892 as the Carney Hospital Training School for Nurses and was initially located in in South Boston. In 1949, the school merged with two other nursing schools that were run by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul: the Saint John’s School of Nursing (located in Lowell, Massachusetts) and the Saint Margaret’s School of Nursing (located in Dorchester). This merger formed the Catherine Labouré School of Nursing, which was named for Saint Catherine Labouré, a member of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul and a Marian visionary. Saint Catherine Labouré relayed the request from the Blessed Virgin Mary to create the famous Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces that is worn by millions of Catholics today.

The newly formed school opened to students in 1951. The Catherine Labouré School of Nursing moved to the site of the new Carney Hospital in Dorchester in 1954. In 1971, the school was authorized to award degrees in the State of Massachusetts and, due to this, changed its name to the Catherine Labouré Junior College. Its name changed two more times (in 1984 and again in 1993), to Catherine Labouré College and then to simply Labouré College. In 1997, the college became a member institute of the Caritas Christi Health Care System. Labouré College’s name was officially changed to Caritas Labouré College in 2005. Finally, the college’s name was officially changed yet again to its present-day name of Labouré College in 2009; the same name that it operated under from 1993 to 2005.

Today, Labouré College offers its more than 750 total enrolled students a selection of undergraduate degree-granting programs and certificate-granting programs. Labouré College offers four certificate programs (two fully online and two that require face-to-face clinical training at a location near the student’s area of residence) in order to serve their distance learning students. These online programs are: a Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) certificate program, an Intraoperative Neuromonitoring certificate program, a Neurodiagnostic Technology (NDT) certificate program and a Medical Billing and Coding certificate program.

The two certificate programs that are fully online are the Clinical Documentation Improvement certificate program and the Medical Billing and Coding certificate program, with two semesters of coursework for the Neurodiagnostic Technology (NDT) certificate program being available fully online and three semesters of coursework for the Intraoperative Neuromonitoring certificate program being available entirely online. The Intraoperative Neuromonitoring program requires an additional three on-campus meetings spread out over the duration of the program.

School’s Website: http://www.laboure.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 100.0%
Graduation Rate: 100.0%
Final Score: 200.0/200

Top 20 Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts