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. This list does not include some extremely small schools, nor did it 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. The list includes colleges that are up to ten miles from downtown, and most schools are along transit lines that make access to the city easy.

Suffolk University

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; 15 to 1 student / faculty ratio; strong programs in business fields; NCAA Division III athletics
  • Learn More: Suffolk University Admissions Profile

Emerson College

Emerson College
Emerson College. John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons
  • 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; 15 to 1 student / faculty ratio; located adjacent to the Boston Commons
  • Learn More: Emerson University Admissions Profile

Boston Architectural College

Boston Architectural College
Boston Architectural College.

Ro4444 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

  • 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

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; 13 to 1 student / faculty ratio; NCAA Division III athletic programs
  • Learn More: Emmanuel College Admissions Profile

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

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

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Boston Exteriors And Landmarks
Paul Marotta / Getty Images
  • 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

Northeastern University

West Village at Northeastern
West Village at Northeastern. Photo Credit: Katie Doyle and Marisa Benjamin
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: private university
  • Distinguishing Features: highly selective admissions; strong internship and co-op program; honors program for high achieving students; 65 majors offered through six colleges; NCAA Division I athletics
  • Learn More: Northeastern University Admissions Profile

School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

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 is affiliated with Tufts University

Simmons University

Simmons University campus

Photo courtesy of Simmons University.

The New England Conservatory of Music

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

Massachuesetts Institute of Technology

Killian Court and the Great Dome at MIT
Killian Court and the Great Dome at MIT.

andymw91 / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music

 Cryptic C62 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

  • 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 College of Music Admissions Profile

Boston University

Curved corner of modern Boston University building
Barry Winiker / Getty Images
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: private university
  • Distinguishing Features: central location in Boston's Kenmore-Fenway neighborhood; one of the largest private universities in the country; selective admissions; wide-ranging academic strengths; NCAA Division I athletics
  • Learn More: Boston University Admissions Profile

The Boston Conservatory at Berklee

Boston Conservatory

Paul Marotta / Getty Images 

  • 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

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Wentworth Institute of Technology

 Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 2 miles
  • School Type: technical design and engineering college
  • Distinguishing Features: 18 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 Institute of Technology Admissions Profile

University of Massachusetts, Boston

UMass Boston

Darren McCollester / Hulton Archive / Getty Images 

  • 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

Annenberg Hall at Harvard University
Annenberg Hall at Harvard University. Jacabolus / Wikimedia Commons

Lesley University

Lesley University

 Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

  • 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 University Admissions Profile

Tufts University

Tufts University Olin Center

 Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

Boston College

Higgins Hall at Boston College
Higgins Hall at Boston College. Photo Credit: Katie Doyle

Eastern Nazarene College

Gardner Hall at Eastern Nazarene College
Gardner Hall at Eastern Nazarene College.

Aepoutre / Wikimedia Commons 

  • 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 College Admissions Profile

Curry College

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

Bentley University
Bentley University. Allen Grove
  • Location: Waltham, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 8 miles
  • School Type: private university with a business focus
  • Distinguishing Features: one of the top New England colleges; highly ranked business school; 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 24; business curriculum has a liberal arts core; curricular emphasis on ethics, social responsibility, and global culture
  • Learn More: Bentley University Admissions Profile

Brandeis University

Usen Castle at Brandeis University
Usen Castle at Brandeis University.

Allen Grove

  • Location: Waltham, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 9 miles
  • School Type: private university
  • Distinguishing Features: 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio; member of the Association of American Universities for strong research programs; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; easy access to Boston; one of the top New England colleges
  • Learn More: Brandeis University Admissions Profile

Lasell University

Lasell University
Lasell University. John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Newton, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 9 miles
  • School Type: private liberal arts college
  • Distinguishing Features: 13 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 University Admissions Profile

Wellesley College

A path on the Wellesley College campus
A path on the Wellesley College campus. Soe Lin / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Olin College

Olin College of Engineering

 Wesley Fryer / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

  • Location: Needham, MA
  • Distance from Downtown Boston: 10 miles
  • School Type: private undergraduate engineering school
  • Distinguishing Features: one of the top undergraduate engineering colleges; generous financial aid—all students receive an Olin Scholarship; project-based, hands-on, student-centered curriculum; 7 to 1 student / faculty ratio; small school with lots of student-faculty interaction
  • Learn More: Olin College Admissions Profile

Babson College

Tomasso Hall at Babson College
Tomasso Hall at Babson College. Allen Grove
  • 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
  • Learn More: Babson College Admissions Profile

Keep Exploring

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.