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2023 Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 1/4/2023
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Massachusetts has a rich history of delivering higher education since the early 1600s. Today, there are over 100 institutions of higher learning, including online colleges in Massachusetts that utilize current technologies in order to deliver online bachelor’s degree programs to distance learners. Students who prefer the convenience of attending school from home can choose online degree programs in majors such as Criminal Justice, Information Technology, Nursing, Business, and Education. Students often transfer into these four-year programs from some of the best online community colleges in the state. 

We’ve ranked our list of Massachusetts’ best online colleges by salary score so you can set realistic salary expectations and help minimize the burden of student debt. View our methodology for more details about our list, or learn more about OnlineU.

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2023 Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts

RankSchool Salary Score Median Starting Salary
# 1 #1 Fisher College 78 78 $43,873
# 2 #2 University of Massachusetts - Amherst 73 $44,878
# 3 #3 Bay Path University 71 $42,927
# 4 #4 University of Massachusetts - Lowell 69 $48,543
# 5 #5 Bridgewater State University 61 $36,607
# 6 #6 Westfield State University 52 $36,716

#1 Fisher College

  • Salary Score: 78
  • Median Starting Salary: $43,873
  • Locations: Boston
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Fisher College’s convenient and affordable online programs make undergraduate higher education accessible to students who need flexible scheduling options. Students can enroll in an online Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, with majors such as Human Services, Information Technology, Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts, Early Childhood Education, Communication and Media Studies, and RN to BSN. Several of these majors are also offered as degree-completion programs. Online learners enrolling in these programs may transfer previously earned credits from community colleges, which enables students to graduate faster while saving both time and money. Distance learners can access online student resources, such as career services, the Fisher College bookstore, and library services.

#2 University of Massachusetts - Amherst

  • Salary Score: 73
  • Median Starting Salary: $44,878
  • Locations: Amherst
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The "University Without Walls" at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst (UMass Amherst) enables students from all over to access its online curricula and earn degrees. Online bachelor’s degree programs include Business Administration, RN to a Bachelor of Science, Sociology, and Sustainable Food and Farming — among others. Students interested in UMass’ online undergraduate nursing programs can opt for an accelerated format, which they may complete in 17 months if attending full time. UMass also has an online bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies that allows students to build their own innovative and individualized curriculum while possibly receiving credit for life and work experience. Online students can access resources, such as virtual tech support, career services, study guides, and academic support.

#3 Bay Path University

  • Salary Score: 71
  • Median Starting Salary: $42,927
  • Locations: Longmeadow (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Through Bay Path University’s American Women’s College (AWC), women interested in going to school as distance learners can enroll in any of its 40 online undergraduate degrees and certificate programs. AWC students can enroll in online bachelor’s degree programs such as Child Psychology, Business Analytics, Cybersecurity, Digital Marketing Management, Human Services, Nonprofit Management, and Psychology. Online certificate programs include Digital Marketing Management, Entrepreneurship, Human Services and Rehabilitation, Leadership and Organizational Studies, and Nonprofit Management. Additionally, AWC’s Social Online Universal Learning (SOUL) program can help students achieve academic success through its virtual onboarding program with educator coaches, accelerated course pace, customized instruction, and virtual learning communities.

#4 University of Massachusetts - Lowell

  • Salary Score: 69
  • Median Starting Salary: $48,543
  • Locations: Lowell
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The University of Massachusetts - Lowell (UMass Lowell) welcomes online learners by offering online bachelor’s degree and certificate programs in 100% online, asynchronous, and "Live Online" synchronous formats. Online bachelor’s degree programs include majors such as Liberal Arts, Psychology, and Information Technology. Online students who transfer up to 90 college credits and attend full time may be able to finish some programs in as little as 12 to 36 months. Online undergraduate certificate programs include Paralegal Studies, Security Management and Homeland Security, and Website Design and Development, which students may complete as quickly as nine months. UMass Lowell offers online tech support, academic advising, a knowledge database, and library services to distance learners.

#5 Bridgewater State University

  • Salary Score: 61
  • Median Starting Salary: $36,607
  • Locations: Bridgewater
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Bridgewater State University offers online bachelor’s degrees in majors such as General Management, Psychology, and Communication Studies. Online degree completion programs include Elementary Education, Special Education, and Childhood Studies. Teachers can also earn online certificates in teaching through a virtual/online K-12 environment. The same instructors who teach in-person courses generally teach online courses as well, so distance learners can expect to receive the same high quality instruction as their on-campus peers. Online students can also access many of the same student resources as those attending on campus, such as advising, tutoring, and library services.

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Higher Education in Massachusetts

As one of the first states in the nation, Massachusetts is steeped in tradition, and one of those traditions is a commitment to education. Of the nearly seven million residents here, an astonishing 45.2% of them hold a bachelor's degree or higher.

Prospective college students in Massachusetts have a tremendous array of choices. Public institutions include the University of Massachusetts with campuses in Amherst, Boston, and Lowell. The state also runs 15 community colleges, such as Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and Bristol Community College in Fall River. 

Massachusetts is also home to one Ivy League school — Harvard University in Cambridge — as well as numerous other private schools, including Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern University, also in Boston.

In addition to on-campus programs, many Massachusetts colleges and universities offer online learning programs for degrees at all levels. For example, two-year schools typically feature online associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas. Four-year schools generally offer online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, as well as post-graduate certificate programs. Business administration, health sciences, and criminal justice are among the most popular bachelor's degrees in the state.

In Massachusetts, college graduates are likely to find employment in one of the state's top industries, which include defense, robotics, information technology, financial services, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and clean technology. Some of the largest and best-known employers are Dell, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Fidelity Investments, Liberty Mutual, Gillette Corporation, Bose, and Yankee Candle.


Some of the most important factors to consider when you're reviewing online degree programs in Massachusetts include cost, faculty, and student services. But perhaps the most important factor is accreditation. Every school on our rankings list of the best online colleges in Massachusetts is accredited, most likely by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) or the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC).

For a number of important reasons, it's essential to choose an accredited online college in Massachusetts when enrolling. It's required for you to receive financial aid, and it is usually required for you to transfer credits between schools. You may also need to have earned an accredited bachelor's degree to be accepted into a graduate program or to obtain a state-issued license or credential in order to practice your chosen occupation, such as teaching or nursing. 

Looking for specific programs in Massachusetts? Review our lists of  online MBAs in Massachusetts or the best online nursing programs in Massachusetts.

FAQs About Online Colleges in Massachusetts

How Much Is Massachusetts College Tuition?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, college tuition and fees in Massachusetts can be significantly higher than national averages. Fortunately, students enrolled in both traditional and online programs in the state may be eligible for financial aid from the federal, state, and school sources. 

Some of the many financial aid programs funded by Massachusetts include the MASSGrant, the Massachusetts Part-Time Grant, the High Demand Scholarship Program, and need-based tuition waivers.

How Many Colleges Are in Massachusetts?

College Navigator, a resource that uses data from the NCES, provides detailed information on the 152 post-secondary institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. About one-fourth of these schools are state-run colleges, while the remaining institutions are privately operated.

What Are the Best Colleges in Massachusetts?

Some of the most highly respected colleges in the country can be found in Massachusetts. These include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Tufts University in Medford, and Brandeis University in Waltham. 

Our rankings list above and our Salary Score methodology are designed to assist students in determining the best online colleges in Massachusetts for their needs.

Which Colleges in Massachusetts Offer Online Degrees?

Many colleges in Massachusetts offer online degrees. Middlesex Community College in Bedford and Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester are just two of the community colleges offering online associate degrees. The University of Massachusetts Global and Harvard University in Cambridge are examples of four-year universities offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees through distance education. 

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