Boston Area Colleges and Universities

Learn About Colleges and Universities in the Greater Boston Area

Boston is home to hundreds of thousands of college students.
Boston is home to hundreds of thousands of college students. Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Boston made our list of the best college towns for good reason — there are hundreds of thousands of college students within a few miles of downtown. The colleges on the list below are all four-year non-profit institutions, but keep in mind that you'll also find a significant number of two-year, graduate, and for-profit schools in the greater Boston area. I did not include some extremely small schools, nor did I include colleges that had just a small number of bachelor degree programs.

The "Distance from Downtown Boston" is the distance to the Boston Common, an area at the heart of the historic downtown. I included colleges that are up to ten miles from downtown, and most schools are along transit lines that make access to the city easy.

The Fenton Building at Suffolk University
The Fenton Building at Suffolk University. Swampyank / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 0 miles
  • School Type: private university
  • Distinguishing Features: enviable location near the Boston Commons; 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio; strong programs in business fields; NCAA Division III athletics
  • Learn More: Suffolk University Admissions Profile
Emerson College Borders the Boston Common
Emerson College Borders the Boston Common. kmohman / Flickr
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 0 miles
  • School Type: private college
  • Distinguishing Features: special focus on communication and the arts; strong programs in journalism, theatre, marketing, and creative writing; 14 to 1 student / faculty ratio; located adjacent to the Boston Commons
  • GPA, SAT and ACT Graph for Emerson Admissions
  • Learn More: Emerson Admissions Profile
Boston Architectural College
Boston Architectural College. Daderot / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: private college
  • Distinguishing Features: largest architectural college in New England; central Back Bay location; "learn by doing" hands-on approach to education
  • Learn More: BAC Admissions Profile
Emmanuel College in Massachusetts
Emmanuel College. Daderot / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: private Catholic liberal arts college
  • Distinguishing Features: member of the Colleges of the Fenway Consortium; near Fenway Park and the Museum of Fine Arts; 16 to 1 student / faculty ratio; NCAA Division III athletic programs
  • Learn More: Emmanuel Admissions Profile
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Massachusetts College of Art and Design. soelin / Flickr
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: public art school
  • Distinguishing Features: one of few publicly funded art schools in the country; member of the Colleges of the Fenway Consortium; 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio; excellent value for in-state applicants; students can participate in sports through Emerson College
  • Learn More: MassArt Admissions Profile
MCPHS
MCPHS. DJRazma / Wikipedia
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: private college with health care focus
  • Distinguishing Features: additional campuses in Worcester, MA and Manchester, NH; school inked to the Longwood Medical and Academic Area; 30 undergraduate and 21 graduate programs
  • Learn More: MCPHS Admissions Profile
West Village at Northeastern
West Village at Northeastern. Photo Credit: Katie Doyle and Marisa Benjamin
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School of the Museum of Fine Arts

School of the Museum of Fine Arts
School of the Museum of Fine Arts. cliff1066 / Flickr
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: private art school
  • Distinguishing Features: affiliated with the Museum of Fine Arts; located in the Fenway neighborhood; 9 to 1 student / faculty ratio; strong studio-centered instruction in thirteen artistic disciplines
  • Learn More: SMFA Admissions Profile
Simmons College
Simmons College. Photo Source: Wikipedia, courtesy of Simmons College Office of the Vice President for Marketing
New England Conservatory
New England Conservatory. Couche Tard / Flickr
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: private music conservatory
  • Distinguishing Features: oldest independent school of music in the country; 5 to 1 student / faculty ratio; located near numerous artistic and musical venues in the city; double-degree programs offered with Harvard and Tufts
  • Learn More: NEC Admissions Profile
MIT Great Dome
MIT Great Dome. Dan4th / Flickr
Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Music. Twp / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: private college of music
  • Distinguishing Features: largest independent college of contemporary music in the world; alums have received over 200 Grammy Awards; popular programs in both the business and performance sides of the music industry; NCAA Division III athletics
  • Learn More: Berklee Admissions Profile
Boston University Warren Towers
Boston University Warren Towers. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin
The Boston Conservatory
The Boston Conservatory. chase_elliott / Flickr
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: private performing arts conservatory
  • Distinguishing Features: small school with impressive 5 to 1 student / faculty ratio; academics focus on music, dance, or theater; one of the oldest performing arts institutes in the country; over 250 performances each year
  • Learn More: Boston Conservatory Admissions Profile
Wheelock Family Theater
Wheelock Family Theater. John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: small private college
  • Distinguishing Features: strong focus on improving the lives of children and families; 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; NCAA Division III athletic program
  • Learn More: Wheelock Admissions Profile
Wentworth Institute of Technology
Wentworth Institute of Technology. mlinksva / Flickr
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: technical design and engineering college
  • Distinguishing Features: 15 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 22; large co-op program so students can gain professional, paid work experience; NCAA Division III athletic program; member of the Colleges of the Fenway consortium
  • Learn More: Wentworth Admissions Profile
UMass Boston
UMass Boston. BostonPhotoSphere / Flickr
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 3 miles
  • School Type: public university
  • Distinguishing Features: waterfront campus; 65 undergraduate degree programs supported by a 16 to 1 student / faculty ratio; over 100 student clubs and organizations; NCAA Division III athletics
  • Learn More: UMass Boston Admissions Profile
Harvard University - Johnston Gate
Harvard University - Johnston Gate. timsackton / Flickr
Lesley University Porter Square Campus
Lesley University Porter Square Campus. justephens / Flickr
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 3 miles
  • School Type: private university
  • Distinguishing Features: several locations in Cambridge and Boston; graduate student focus; strong education, mental health and art programs; interdisciplinary, hands-on approach to learning; NCAA Division III athletics
  • Learn More: Lesley Admissions Profile
Brookline, Massachusetts
Brookline, Massachusetts. John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Brookline, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 4 miles
  • School Type: private career-focused liberal arts college
  • Distinguishing Features: average class size of 18; 16 to 1 student / faculty ratio; popular business-related fields; NCAA Division II athletic programs
  • Learn More: Newbury Admissions Profile
Tufts University
Tufts University. presta / Flickr
Higgins Hall at Boston College
Higgins Hall at Boston College. Photo Credit: Katie Doyle
Eastern Nazarene College
Eastern Nazarene College. Aepoutre / Wikipedia
  • Location: Quincy, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 7 miles
  • School Type: Christian liberal arts university
  • Distinguishing Features: emphasis on study abroad, service learning, and experiential learning; 100% of students receive some form of grant aid; NCAA Division III athletics
  • Learn More: Eastern Nazarene Admissions Profile
Milton, Massachusetts
Milton, Massachusetts. Marcbela, Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Milton, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 7 miles
  • School Type: private liberal arts college
  • Distinguishing Features: 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio; regular shuttles to Boston; sizable continuing education programs; popular professional fields of study; NCAA Division III athletics
  • Learn More: Curry College Admissions Profile
Bentley University Library
Bentley University Library. Fogster / Wikimedia Commons
Brandeis University
Brandeis University. Mike Lovett / Wikipedia Commons
Lasell College
Lasell College. John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Newton, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 9 miles
  • School Type: private liberal arts college
  • Distinguishing Features: 15 to 1 student / faculty ratio; all classes have fewer than 30 students; popular programs in fasion, communication, and sport management; NCAA Division II athletic programs
  • Learn More: Lasell Admissions Profile
Tower at Wellesley College
Tower at Wellesley College. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
Olin College
Olin College. Paul Keleher / Flickr
Babson College
Babson College. Tostie14 / Flickr
  • Location: Wellesley, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 10 miles
  • School Type: private business college
  • Distinguishing Features: highly ranked undergraduate business program; innovative curriculum with emphasis on leadership and entrepreneurship skills; first-year students develop, launch and liquidate a for-profit business of their own design
  • Explore the Campus: Babson College Photo Tour
  • GPA, SAT and ACT Graph for Babson Admissions
  • Learn More: Babson Admissions Profile
Boston,MA
New England is home to many amazing colleges and universities. Pawel Gaul / Getty Images

If you are willing to consider schools beyond the city, check out our picks for the 25 top colleges in New England. The area has some of the most selective and prestigious colleges and universities in the country if not the world.