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The Best Four-Year Colleges in Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts – Amherst: A Flagship Campus Aiming for Excellence

While Massachusetts may be a small state geographically, it has played a major role throughout U.S. history and continues to be a fascinating location today. From the early settlers who reached the area and the American Revolution, to its economic importance in the nineteenth century and its intellectual value today, Massachusetts has been pivotal throughout the ages. The region around Boston is particularly important, and it is where many of the over 100 institutions of higher education in the state are located. Famous Massachusetts families that have influenced politics include the Adams family and the Kennedy clan, many of which attended some of the top universities in the region. Boston libraries are some of the best in the country, making the metropolitan region a great place for students looking to get the most out of their education. Students flock to the area to attend scores of top-notch public and private colleges and universities located in Boston and in some of the smaller cities.

University of Massachusetts – Amherst: A Flagship Campus Aiming for Excellence

After it was officially founded as the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1863, a year of political turmoil across the United States, this university received its first class of just a few dozen students four years later. Growing over the years, UMass Amherst expanded greatly with the expansion of the G.I. Bill. Just an hour and a half from Boston and a few hours from New York City, one survey ranked Amherst the top college town in the United States. It is leading the way in ‘Green’ Research as it has won competitive grants to do research and implement programs. It now has over 20,800 undergraduate students who are working toward one of 88 bachelor’s degrees offered, making it the largest public institution of higher education in New England. The top-ranking programs include computer science, artificial intelligence, nursing, sociology, biology, and speech-language pathology. The selective Commonwealth College offers students the chance to participate in an honors program that includes a capstone thesis and special classes.

Boston University: International Choices and Flexibility

Over 16,000 undergraduates attend Boston University in addition to 13,000 plus graduate students, making this school one of the largest private universities in New England. Famous alumni include Martin Luther King, Jr., who earned a PhD in 1955, as well as 5 other Nobel Prize winners and 22 Pulitzer Prize winners. The Times Higher Education Supplement gave the 20th place to BU in its 2009 rankings. Students study in one of 17 schools and colleges, selecting from more than 250 programs. International opportunities consist of 75+ study abroad programs run by the school in 20 different countries. Students benefit from 23 libraries and classes offered on a vibrant, urban campus. The Core Curriculum is one of the more popular choices for students in the College of Arts and Sciences, as it exposes freshmen and sophomores to the greatest thinkers in every field in order to give them the basis to become better scholars.

University of Massachusetts – Boston: An Urban Education

Occupying 177 acres in the city of Boston, UMass Boston shares Columbia Point with the John F. Kennedy library and it is close to the beautiful harbor. The history of the school can be traced back to the mid-19th century when a Girls High School was established, which eventually became the Boston State College in the late 1960s. It joined the UMass system in the early 1980s, adopting the current name. UMass Boston is the only public university in the city, and it ranks number two in terms of size in the state system with over 14,000 students who select from around 150 different programs. The schooling system is a model for urban education, forming part of the Urban 13 Universities and hosting an ethnically diverse student population. The Leadership, Engagement, Action, Development (LEAD) Program offers students the opportunity to become leaders in community service while completing their four-year degree.

University of Massachusetts – Lowell: An Emphasis on Science and Engineering

The history of this institution dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, when the Lowell Textile School was established to train workers for textile jobs and the Lowell Normal School was founded to train teachers. It joined the UMass system in 1991, and currently has three clusters of campus buildings along the river, northwest of Boston. Currently, UMass Lowell exists as a public institution with over 8,000 undergraduates, 90 percent of which are from Massachusetts. Many opt for programs in science and engineering, including unique offerings such as a bachelor’s in plastics engineering and a meteorology degree.

Northeastern University: Home to Unique Cooperative Education Opportunities

For well over a century, Northeastern has provided students with an integrated learning experience by combining lessons from the classroom with an emphasis on work in the real world. A private university in Boston, Northeastern has more than 15,000 students enrolled in 65 different undergraduate majors offered by eight colleges. The successful cooperative education program is one of the biggest draws and it was one of the first such programs in the world. The co-op program lets students do 3 semesters of paid work as part of their degree program. While the average college career takes closer to five years, students are often able to turn internship opportunities into job offers when they graduate.

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Best Colleges by State