Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts
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Higher education enrollment continues to climb as individuals of all backgrounds increasingly pursue college credentials for job entry and long-term professional success. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of undergraduate students in the U.S. is projected to grow from 16.8 million in 2017 to 17.2 million in 2028.
By obtaining a postsecondary education, you stand to benefit from more job opportunities and higher pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that professionals with bachelor's degrees earn about $24,000 more in average annual salary than people with only high school diplomas. They also tend to experience a much lower unemployment rate.
Top 10 Online Colleges in Massachusetts
- Northeastern University Professional Advancement Network - Boston, MA
- Harvard University - Cambridge, MA
- University of Massachusetts-Amherst - Amherst, MA
- University of Massachusetts-Lowell - Lowell, MA
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Cambridge, MA
- Boston University - Boston, MA
- Brandeis University - Waltham, MA
- Bentley University - Waltham, MA
- Fitchburg State University - Fitchburg, MA
- Westfield State University - Westfield, MA
Featured Online Programs
2020 Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts
Due to escalating tuition prices and mounting loan debt, more and more college students prefer to earn their degrees and certificates online. Distance education often offers distinct perks like relatively affordable tuition rates that may ignore residency status. Online schools usually operate asynchronous courses, which allows you to access materials and collaborate with peers at your convenience. This flexibility can also let you maintain job and family responsibilities while going to school.
The plethora of educational options can prove overwhelming as you look for institutions that align with your academic interests and career goals. This guide supports your search by detailing the 25 best online colleges in Massachusetts with regard to variables like accreditation, cost, student resources, and graduation rates.
The following profiles cover degree offerings and general admission requirements. Additionally, do not hesitate to contact admissions offices directly if schools interest you. Advisors can help you navigate the enrollment and financial aid processes.
By attending a Massachusetts university, you can take advantage of the state's robust economy. Ample career opportunities exist in key industries like manufacturing, health sciences, education (particularly higher education), and hospitality and tourism. The state's workforce is also one of the techiest in the nation, with nearly 20% of professionals working in telecommunications and software development. As of November 2019, Massachusetts had a 2.9% unemployment rate -- well below the national average of 3.5%.
Northeastern University enrolls about 26,000 students at its main Boston campus and five satellite locations. The school delivers career-focused distance education through Blackboard. Learners choose from more than 80 fully online programs, which include bachelor's completion tracks in psychology, digital communication and media, and health management. The university also offers a remote bachelor of science in information technology that comes with optional concentrations in cybersecurity and applications development.
Master's degree candidates can enroll in programs in sports leadership, health informatics, and applied nutrition. Northeastern also offers a dual-degree track that enables distance learners to earn a master of business administration and a master of finance in 2.5 years.
For students who want to obtain terminal credentials, the university provides a doctor of education emphasizing research that investigates and transforms institutional landscapes. Ed.D. candidates foster networking and career success by completing yearly residencies.
Most graduate applicants need at least three years of relevant work experience. Northeastern charges per-credit tuition rates based on program type. Financial aid opportunities include private awards like the MacFarland Scholarship for public school educators.
Based in Cambridge, Harvard University is an Ivy League research institution that serves about 20,000 students annually. The school facilitates online learning through Canvas, allowing students to combine asynchronous classes and campus-based coursework for a hybrid learning experience.
Distance learners can take courses in subject areas like data science, business, art and design, and computer programming. They may also delve into health and medicine, examining the U.S. opioid crisis or developing the skills needed to strengthen community health programs.
Active teachers can take online classes that work toward specialty endorsement and certificate renewal requirements. Topics include culturally responsive literature instruction and educating global citizens.
Additionally, through the Harvard Extension School, working professionals may enroll in a hybrid, dual-degree track that lets them earn bachelor's and master's degrees in liberal arts over five years. Candidates personalize their curriculum by pursuing concentrations like dramatic arts, biotechnology, software engineering, and industrial-organizational psychology. Tuition price varies by class.
Founded in 1863 as an agricultural school, the University of Massachusetts Amherst stands as the flagship institution in the UMass system. The school serves more than 30,000 students, many of whom pursue hybrid or fully online academics through Blackboard Learn.
The school's online degree catalog contains a bachelor of business administration completion track that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. BBA candidates must transfer in at least 27 credits earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program enables learners to customize their degree plan with majors in accounting, marketing, and hospitality and tourism management.
At the graduate level, remote programs cover fields like public health, plant and soil sciences, historic preservation, and labor studies. Business students may extend their education by earning an MBA that comes with five emphasis areas. They can also enroll in an accelerated master of alternative financial investments program. Through a one-year curriculum, finance students develop the asset management skills needed to work for consulting companies and private equity firms. Graduate applicants typically need 3-5 years of relevant work experience.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell supports more than 18,000 students annually, making it the second-largest public higher education institution in the state. In addition to on-campus programs, the university offers flexible distance education through Blackboard.
Distance offerings include bachelor's degrees for psychology, information technology, English, and criminal justice. Students may also design their own course of study through the liberal arts track. Additionally, working professionals can prepare for career advancement by earning online certificates in areas like new venture creation and website design and development.
UMass Lowell offers online master's degrees in areas like health informatics and management, business analytics, and accounting. Graduate candidates may pursue national studies credentials, picking from a homeland defense or international studies concentration. The university also offers a variety of master's degrees centered on educational administration and instructional leadership.
All applicants must submit standardized test scores. Online students pay per-credit tuition prices based on program type and level. Financial aid opportunities include the Leo F. King Endowment Fund for returning learners.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university situated in Cambridge. The institution offers a variety of online learning opportunities powered by Canvas. Options include massive open online courses that enable students to pursue topics like supply chain analytics and global warming science. While individual MOOCs are free, candidates may need to pay a small fee to receive a verified certificate of completion.
Through MIT xPRO, working professionals can develop career-advancing competencies in technical and leadership areas. Courses include big data analytics, quantum computing fundamentals, and architecture of complex systems. Students may also enroll in a six-week class on entrepreneurial negotiations that helps them protect and increase the value of their ideas.
For distance learners who want to work toward a graduate degree, MIT offers MicroMasters programs in five areas. Options include supply chain management; data, economics, and development policy; and manufacturing principles. Students who complete designated coursework and pass a proctored exam obtain credentials that enable them to apply for master's degree completion at MIT and other universities.
Boston University enrolls over 34,000 students across 18 colleges and schools located on two urban campuses. In addition to acting as one of the largest employers in the metropolitan area, BU delivers comprehensive academic programs that include online degrees facilitated by Blackboard Learn.
The university offers a fully remote bachelor's degree completion track in interdisciplinary studies. Designed for working professionals, the 16-course curriculum enables candidates to align their studies with their career goals. Most students finish in 30 months. To enroll, applicants must possess at least 52 transferable credits.
BU provides 15 online master's degrees, such as taxation law, software development, and art education. Learners can also enroll in a 40-credit global marketing management program that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The university also delivers a master of health communication that synthesizes public health, digital media, and technical writing competencies.
Graduate applicants must submit a personal statement, a resume or CV, and three recommendation letters. BU charges tuition based on enrollment status. The university offers low-interest loans and graduate assistantships.
Located in Waltham, Brandeis University is named after the first Jewish justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: Louis Brandeis. The institution serves about 5,800 students and offers online academics through Moodle. Remote classes last 10 weeks and are capped at 20 students, enabling learners to effectively build relationships with peers and instructors. In addition to individual asynchronous courses, candidates may pursue fully online graduate degrees related to information technology and data analytics.
Graduate students may enroll in master's programs in technology management, bioinformatics, robotic software engineering, and project/program management. They can earn digital marketing and design credentials, learning how to create engaging campaigns for website, mobile, and social media platforms. Brandeis also offers an online master's degree in information security leadership, which helps candidates develop the skills needed to plan, acquire, and maintain secure infrastructures.
Degree applicants must submit official academic transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and a recommendation letter. Depending on their program, candidates may need to fulfill additional prerequisite requirements. Brandeis charges a per-credit tuition rate that disregards residency status.
Bentley University was established in 1917 as a finance and accounting school. The institution carries on this tradition by offering business-centered academic programs to more than 5,000 students every year.
Bentley offers blended and hybrid classes through the Zoom platform, which enables graduate candidates to accommodate full-time employment. Learners pay per course and may apply for financial aid if they take classes as part of a degree plan.
Online course topics include managerial statistics, marketing management, and strategic innovation. Students can enroll in a global strategy course, learning how to leverage their ideas and create project proposals on an international scale. Bentley also facilitates a financial statement analysis class that helps learners with decision-making.
In addition to individual online classes, the university oversees a remote master of business administration program that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Online MBA candidates take one course at a time. They pick from eight concentrations, including accountancy, law and taxation, and information systems and technology.
Founded in 1894 as a teacher training school, Fitchburg State University now operates as a comprehensive public institution that provides undergraduate and graduate academics. Blackboard powers distance education at Fitchburg State, enabling students to earn an online bachelor of business administration with a management concentration.
Undergraduate learners can also pursue a bachelor of nursing if they possess unencumbered RN licensure. This 12-month BSN program maintains specialized accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
At the graduate level, online programs cover fields like forensic nursing and business administration. MBA candidates personalize their degree plan by taking on an accounting, management, or human resources concentration. Fitchburg State offers a variety of education credentials, including a master's degree in curriculum and teaching. Teachers may also prepare for special education endorsements in reading specialist and moderate-severe disabilities.
Undergraduate transfer applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Graduate applicants must display a 2.8 GPA or higher. Admission materials include a resume, three recommendation letters, and official school transcripts.
Westfield State University opened its doors in 1838 as the first coeducational higher education institution in the U.S. without barriers based on race, gender, or economic status. Today, the school supports about 5,500 students and facilitates distance education through the PLATO platform.
Incoming first-year students may enroll in a fully online bachelor of history program. Westfield State also delivers baccalaureate completion tracks in areas like psychology, business, criminal justice, and sociology. Additionally, licensed RNs can earn a bachelor of nursing in 12 months through a completionist track that blends online and campus-based coursework.
Similarly, Westfield State offers two hybrid master's programs in accounting and social work. The two-year MSW option prepares students for entry-level professional certification. In addition to clinical practice, candidates engage in research that focuses on substance abuse treatment, gerontology, or healthcare management. To enroll, MSW applicants must display a minimum 2.8 GPA. They also need to furnish a current resume and three professional references.
With over 5,000 students, Berklee College of Music is the largest independent professional music school in the world. Learners at the school may access remote degree opportunities through Canvas. Berklee's online catalog contains bachelor's programs in songwriting, music business, and electronic music production and sound design.
Online students can also obtain credentials related to music composition in film, TV, and games. Through a 120-credit curriculum, candidates delve into music theory and learn to record, sequence, and mix music for interactive media. Additionally, Berklee allows learners to design their own major through an interdisciplinary studies option.
Graduate students pick from three online master's programs. They can pursue music production and business routes, learning to use DAW-based technology and examine financial sustainability for independent producers. Alternatively, candidates can enroll in the master of film scoring program, developing the skills needed to compose in a variety of styles and for multiple dramatic levels.
Applicants complete an online application and furnish a 500-750-word statement (or a 3-5-minute video essay). They must also send in a portfolio of relevant creative works and two recommendation letters. Berklee charges tuition based on program, not residency status.
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences was founded in 1823, making it the oldest higher education institution in Boston. The school powers distance education through Blackboard.
Undergraduate students can enroll in online bachelor's degree completion tracks in nursing and health sciences. The latter option comes with concentration options in public health and health education, preparing candidates for careers as healthcare managers. Applicants need an associate degree earned with a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also possess current registration, certification, or licensure in an allied health discipline.
Online graduate programs are available in areas like dental hygiene, clinical management, and pharmaceutical economics and policy. MCPHS also delivers master's degrees in nursing, allowing students to focus their curriculum on family nurse practice or psychiatric mental health nurse practice.
Furthermore, experienced nurses can earn a doctor of nursing practice. Totaling 36 credits, the DNP program combines interprofessional coursework and experiential learning through internships and campus residencies. Candidates round out their training with a research-intensive project.
Located in Longmeadow, Bay Path University offers bachelor's programs to female students. The school's catalog includes over 30 accelerated online degrees delivered through Canvas. Distance learners may enroll in tracks for business analytics, food science and safety, and strategic human resource management.
Students can also pursue a cybersecurity/digital forensics degree that focuses on skill areas like network intrusions and white collar crime investigation. Graduates are prepared to work as information assurance analysts and secure systems auditors. Furthermore, Bay Path offers a hybrid, dual-degree option that allows cybersecurity students to earn their bachelor's and master's in five years.
For learners interested in healthcare careers, online degree options include nursing (an RN-to-BSN track), health and wellness, and alcohol and drug abuse counseling. Students can also enroll in a bachelor of community health program that helps them develop the outreach and program planning skills needed to implement culturally appropriate strategies. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Bay Path also requires prospective students to complete a phone or in-person interview.
The University of Massachusetts Boston serves more than 16,000 students annually, which makes it the third-largest campus in the UMass system. Learners can access remote learning opportunities through Blackboard. These offerings include an RN-to-BSN pathway and a fully online bachelor's program in global affairs. Students who enroll in the latter track may transfer up to 90 credits toward degree completion. Participants engage with an interdisciplinary curriculum that examines international public policy and economic development.
UMass Boston also delivers 13 online graduate programs. For example, master's candidates may pursue degree work in applied linguistics, rehabilitation counseling, and critical and creative thinking. The university also offers a master of education in vision studies. Here, candidates can focus their degree plan on orientation/mobility or vision rehabilitation therapy. Alternatively, they may pursue the teaching concentration, which allows them to earn advanced interstate licensure within New England.
Graduate admission criteria differ by program but typically include a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants need to submit relevant standardized test scores and three recommendation letters.
Based in Cambridge, Lesley University was founded in 1909 as a women's school that trained kindergarten teachers. Today, the institution offers comprehensive, coeducational programs, which include over 20 online degrees powered by Blackboard.
Undergraduate students can earn bachelor's degrees in business management, psychology, and interdisciplinary humanities. They may also pursue a human services degree, learning to manage client cases and conduct micro and macro assessments. Graduates can work in diverse settings, including crisis intervention and community advocacy.
Lesley also offers an online master of science in management that enables students to pursue a generalist track or pick from a nonprofit or human resource administration concentration. The university also offers a variety of graduate education programs. Teachers may prepare for endorsement in specialty areas like language and literacy, mathematics education, and elementary education. Teachers may extend their expertise by pursuing certificates in seven high-need areas.
Online students pay tuition prices based on program type. Lesley offers ample financial aid opportunities, including merit scholarships for graduate applicants. The university also funds departmental awards for counseling and education majors.
Located in Worcester, Assumption College enrolls over 2,500 students in academic programs. Learners can earn a variety of online associate and bachelor's degrees. Offerings include a two-year humanities program that covers core liberal arts topics in ethics, literature, communication, and philosophy. Candidates customize their degree plans by choosing a history or English concentration.
Assumption delivers remote bachelor's programs in criminal justice, psychology, and business administration. BBA candidates can take on designated concentrations like digital marketing and project management or they may design their own. The college also provides a baccalaureate degree in human services and rehabilitation studies. In addition to required classes and internships, students focus their research on one of three theoretical perspectives. They may also complete an alcohol and substance counseling concentration that leads to entry-level professional certification.
Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA. Assumption encourages candidates to complete an in-person or phone interview. The college accepts up to 75 transfer credits. Online students can apply for state grants, employer tuition discounts, and merit-based institutional scholarships.
Bridgewater State University enrolls more than 11,000 students across its main campus and two satellite locations. The institution facilitates distance education through Blackboard, offering flexible asynchronous classes that allow students to build a hybrid learning experiences. Learners who want to earn fully online degrees can pick from bachelor's options in marketing, psychology, economics, and communication studies.
BSU also delivers remote bachelor's programs in management. These students can pick a generalist track or personalize their degree plans with an information systems management or supply chain management concentration. Similarly, distance learners may earn a bachelor of science with an emphasis in finance or accounting. The university also offers online education degrees that lead to initial teacher licensure. Education majors must complete student teaching sessions on campus.
Online students pay per-course tuition rates. To enroll, applicants must submit an online form and ACT/SAT scores. The college may waive standardized test requirements for some students. BSU accepts up to 69 transfer credits.
Based in Springfield, Western New England University offers comprehensive academics through five schools and colleges. Programs include online options facilitated by the Desire2Learn platform.
Students can earn a remote bachelor of business administration that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Designed as a completionist track, the BBA program requires candidates to possess at least 60 transferable credits or an associate degree. Students individualize the curriculum through 42 elective credits.
Business majors can extend their education to earn a master of business administration in under two years. This MBA program offers concentrations in accounting, public relations, business law, and general leadership.
Beyond the business field, WNE offers online graduate degrees in elder law and estate planning, organizational leadership, and accounting. Experienced educators may earn master's credentials in curriculum and instruction; this 30-credit degree plan covers multicultural instruction and literacy strategies for struggling learners.
Graduate admission requirements vary by program but typically include a minimum 2.8 GPA and adequate GRE/GMAT scores. WNE offers a variety of financial aid. Award options include leadership grants, academic merit scholarships, and funding specifically for business students.
Framingham State University was established in 1839 as a teacher training school. Today, the institution serves about 6,400 students and offers over 100 career-relevant academic programs. FSU powers distance education with Blackboard, delivering a fully online bachelor of arts in libreral studies.
Designed for working professionals, this liberal studies program enables candidates to earn credits based on military experience, community service, employment, and educational travel. Students can take a broad spectrum of courses or focus their degree plan on a self-designed major.
At the graduate level, fully remote programs cover areas like nutrition education, merchandising, instructional technology, and business management. FSU also facilitates hybrid degree options in nursing. Experienced nurses can prepare for career advancement by obtaining a master of nursing leadership or nursing education. Both tracks culminate with practicum and internship experiences. To enroll in an MSN program, applicants need an unrestricted Massachusetts RN license. Students must also possess a regionally accredited bachelor's degree earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Located in Chicopee, the College of Our Lady of the Elms is a private liberal arts institution that serves about 1,200 students annually. The school delivers online learning opportunities through Moodle.
Distance options include a fully remote bachelor of healthcare management that emphasizes organizational leadership, preparing students for administrative positions in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and managed care settings. This completionist program requires candidates to possess an associate degree in a health-related field. Applicants also need to have a minimum 2.25 GPA. The college prioritizes candidates with two or more years of relevant work experience.
Distance learners can earn speech language pathology assistant credentials at the certificate, associate, and bachelor's levels. Baccalaureate candidates can pursue a conventional degree completion track or they may enroll in a second bachelor's program; the latter option requires applicants to possess a bachelor's degree completed with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students then take on a 49-credit curriculum over the course of 20 months. In addition to required coursework, the degree plan contains extensive hands-on training based on laboratory exercises and practica.
Labouré College was founded in 1892 as a nursing school. It carries on this tradition by offering innovative healthcare education to about 1,000 students each year. Learners may enroll in traditional programs at the Milton campus or engage in distance education powered by Blackboard.
Students who want to enter the workforce quickly can choose from three certificate programs. These options include clinical document improvement, intraoperative neuromonitoring, and medical coding. The third track prepares candidates to sit for professional credentialing exams from organizations like the American Health Information Management Association.
Labouré also offers an accelerated online bachelor of science in nursing program for licensed RNs. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, this BSN track contains classes like population-focused healthcare, pathopharmacology, and opioid disuse syndrome and the epidemic. Students round out their education with a capstone project. The college accepts up to 90 transfer credits, and BSN candidates benefit from one of the lowest per-credit tuition prices among Massachusetts online schools.
Wentworth Institute of Technology is a private engineering and technical design school located in Boston. Over 4,500 students attend WIT, taking advantage of campus-based programs and flexible distance education powered by Blackboard.
Distance options include bachelor's and master's degrees that emphasize cross-sector management. Undergraduate students can enroll in a building construction management program that accepts up to 80 transfer credits. The hands-on curriculum of this program covers topics like structural design, safety and risk analysis, and project scheduling.
WIT delivers online master's programs in facility management and project management. Graduate candidates may also pursue technology management credentials over the course of two years. Through a 30-credit degree plan, students strengthen communication skills and learn to engage the entire spectrum of product development. They round out training with an integrative capstone project in collaboration with industry partners. To enroll, applicants need at least one year of relevant full-time work experience and a recommendation letter.
Online students pay per-credit tuition rates based on program type.
Suffolk University is the eighth-largest higher education institution in Boston, supporting over 7,500 students each year. In addition to traditional programs, the university facilitates career-relevant online degrees through Blackboard.
Undergraduate learners can incorporate asynchronous, online classes into their campus-based programs to create a hybrid learning structure. For learners who want to earn their degrees entirely online, Suffolk delivers graduate business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Students can earn a master of business administration, concentrating their curriculum on finance, accounting principles, health sector management, or business intelligence. MBA candidates take seven-week courses and collaborate with experienced instructors and business leaders from Boston companies. The university also offers a remote master of science in business analytics. Graduate applicants must furnish GMAT scores, a resume, a goal statement, and at least one recommendation letter.
Suffolk offers tuition rates that ignore residency status. Financial aid opportunities include need-based awards for incoming first-year students and merit scholarships for transfer students.
Founded in 1895 as a textile school, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth now offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 8,000 students. The institution also powers remote learning with Blackboard.
Undergraduate candidates can enroll in fully online bachelor's programs in public administration, women's and gender studies, English literature and criticism, and medical laboratory science. They can also earn an economics degree, with the option to take on a health services administration concentration. Additionally, learners may pursue a bachelor of management information systems that emphasizes e-commerce and digital marketing strategies.
At the graduate level, programs cover areas like accounting, computer science, and psychology: applied behavior analysis. Business majors can obtain a general MBA or a master's degree in healthcare management. UMass Dartmouth also offers a master of public policy that focuses on the applied research and analysis skills candidates need to lead government agencies and nonprofits.
Applicants submit a 300-500-word personal statement and relevant standardized test scores. Prospective graduate students must also furnish a resume and two recommendation letters. Distance learners pay per-course tuition based on their program.
Based in Springfield, American International College is a private liberal arts institution that supports about 1,700 students annually. The school offers distance education programs through the Blackboard platform.
Online learners can earn bachelor's degrees in general business and social science. Each track totals 120 credits and allow candidates to personalize their curriculum through three concentration areas. Asynchronous courses last seven weeks. With six start dates each year, students can begin taking classes at their convenience.
AIC also offers a fully online RN-to-BSN program that accepts up to 90 transfer credits, allowing students to obtain their degree in 15 months. Licensed nurses can also prepare for leadership positions by enrolling in the school's master of science in nursing program. MSN candidates choose from an administor, educator, or family nurse practitioner concentration. All nursing programs hold specialized accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Distance learners pay per-credit tuition based on program level and type. AIC does not maintain minimum GPA or testing requirements for undergraduate students. Graduate applicants typically need a minimum 2.75 GPA.
BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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