2021 Best Online Colleges in Boston
| Stefanie Grodman
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bachelor's degree-holders earn approximately $26,100 more in average annual salary than professionals with high school diplomas. College graduates also benefit from lower unemployment rates, which steadily decrease the higher their degree level.
Boston is home to some of the best higher education institutions in the U.S., including Harvard University, one of the Ivy League schools. Read through this guide to the best online colleges in Boston to find the school that fits your needs. Each profile includes details about the school's programs, financial aid offerings, and student outcomes.
What Are the 2021 Best Online Colleges in Boston? Here Are Our Top 5:
Ranking compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team
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|#1||Boston University Boston, MA|
|#2||University of Massachusetts-Boston Boston, MA|
|#3||Emmanuel College Boston, MA|
|#4||MCPHS University Boston, MA|
|#5||Fisher College Boston, MA|
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
Why Study in Boston?
As the most populous city in Massachusetts, Boston provides academic and professional opportunities for people from all walks of life. Students can attend a small liberal arts college like Brandeis University, Wellesley College, or Emerson College, or opt for a large research institution like Boston University, Harvard University, or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Boston students enjoy higher starting salaries than recent grads from other major U.S. cities. In a 2018 analysis of 310,000 entry-level positions from over 1,000 U.S. companies, Boston graduates earned an average annual salary of $59,460, trailing only New York ($60,970) and San Francisco ($64,000). The average annual salary across all cities was $50,390.
Beyond prestigious universities and promising job prospects, Boston offers a diverse array of outdoor activities and cultural attractions.
Beyond prestigious universities and promising job prospects, Boston offers a diverse array of outdoor activities and cultural attractions. The city maintains more than 200 public parks, athletic fields, and playgrounds, many of which are connected by trails and waterways. Host to the famous Boston Marathon and many other smaller annual races, Boston is a fitness enthusiast's dream.
Sports fans can attend a Boston Red Sox, Celtics, or Bruins game. The city is also home to orchestras, museums, and Broadway venues. Boston's Commonwealth Shakespeare Company delivers contemporary reimagings and free outdoor performances of the Bard's famous plays.
Top Degree Programs in Boston
Boston Employment Outlook
The BLS reports that Boston professionals earned an average hourly wage of $33.29 in 2019, surpassing the national average of $25.72 by 29%. Employment opportunities abound in information technology and math-related industries, with Boston boasting 136,850 jobs in these areas. The most lucrative tech jobs include network architect, software developer, and computer systems analyst.
Finance and insurance is another major industry in Boston, supplying nearly 12% of all jobs in the city. However, the biggest source of employment in Boston is the healthcare sector, which supplies around 18% of total jobs. Some of the largest organizations in this industry include Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Boston Children's Hospital.
Popular Career Paths in Boston
2021 Best Accredited Online Colleges in Boston
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BU earns a place among the best accredited online colleges in Boston thanks to several excellent full-time online programs. Distance learners can earn degrees in fields like business, art education, and criminal justice. The university has offered online programs since 2002.
BU's learners must generally complete a total of 128 credits, or 32 courses, to earn their bachelor's degree. Students who enter their undergraduate programs with 52-64 transferable credits may participate in BU's Undergraduate Degree Completion Program (UDCP).
BU's full-time undergraduates often complete their degrees in roughly four years, though completion times vary considerably in self-directed programs. UDCP students typically complete their degrees in 18-36 months.
During the 2020-2021 school year, most of BU's online undergraduate courses cost $490 per credit, while some specialized and graduate courses cost more.
UMass Boston offers numerous online and hybrid undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. Many of their programs deliver coursework asynchronously and eliminate on-campus requirements.
Although exact admission requirements vary by program, applicants must generally have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Certain programs also require more specialized education or credentials. For example, the RN-to-BSN program serves registered nurses with an associate's degree or hospital school diploma.
Many of UMass Boston's online programs offer accelerated options for working professionals. For example, the accelerated BSNprogram allows professionals with a bachelor's degree in a different field to enter the nursing profession in one year.
Emmanuel College offers select degrees and certificates in both online and hybrid formats. Students can pursue a hybrid master's degree in management or earn a fully remote MBA. In the MBA program, students can earn their degree by taking seven-week, asynchronous courses.
Learners with an RN license can also continue their education through an online RN-to-BSN program. The RN-to-BSN program, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, allows registered nurses to earn bachelor's degrees. These students may transfer up to 96 credits to earn the degree in as little as 16 months.
Applicants must submit their official transcripts and resumes. RN-to-BSN applicants must also submit proof of RN licensure.
MCPHS serves over 500 online students pursuing healthcare and health science degrees. The college offers hybrid and online programs in diverse fields, including acupuncture, public health, dental hygiene, nursing, and pharmaceutical science.
Online learners at MCPHS must adhere to the same academic calendar as in-person students and attend synchronous sessions. Courses run in 15-week terms during fall and spring semesters and in a 10-week term during the summer.
In the 2021-22 academic year, undergraduate programs cost $460 per credit, while graduate programs cost $1,020. However, costs may vary by program.
Fisher offers a variety of fully online programs. Diverse undergraduate offerings include bachelor's programs in criminal justice, human resources, and management. Graduate offerings include master's programs in counseling psychology, business administration, and criminal justice.
Some of Fisher's online programs offer accelerated formats. For example, earning a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, which requires 120 total credits, typically takes four years to complete in person, but only 40 months online.
Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Graduate applicants must also submit a 300-word personal statement and two letters of recommendation.