List of Boston Colleges and Universities with Masters Programs

Boston is home to over 40 colleges and universities offering graduate-level education. Compare four of the schools in this historic city to determine which one might be right for you.

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School Ranking Overview

In Boston, Massachusetts, there is no shortage of school options for students wanting to earn a master's degree. Several colleges and universities -- mainly private, not-for-profit institutions -- offer graduate degree and certificate programs in the area. To help students find the school that fits their educational needs, this article offers a comparison of four schools; the top three of these are ranked in the following categories:

  • Program Variety
  • Tuition
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Program Variety

Students who are ready to enter graduate school typically know what field of study they're seeking a degree in; however, they may still want to know that plenty of program options, including specializations within a subject, are available to pursue. The three schools below have the most program variety of the four compared.

1. Boston University

Located across two campuses, Boston University offers degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. This private Boston institution has the most educational variety with 425 undergraduate and graduate program options. Master's degrees are available in several disciplines, including business administration, healthcare, biomedical science, architecture, engineering, law, visual arts, computer science and many more. A number of study abroad programs are available to graduate students as well.

2. Northeastern University

Boston's Northeastern University ranks second among the compared schools in this category with its 209 programs that lead to students earning bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, doctorates and certificates. The private school offers a large number of graduate education options, including master's-level programs in business and finance, information science, communications, foreign languages, engineering, biological sciences, healthcare, criminal justice and the performing arts, among many others.

3. Suffolk University

Suffolk University, also located in the city limits of Boston, is yet another private institution offering master's degrees and other advanced programs. With 205 offerings, it takes the third spot for the most program options among the ranked schools. According to 2012-2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), grad students at Suffolk University earned the most master's degrees in fields like healthcare, business, public administration, education, visual arts, criminal justice and the social sciences.


The cost of attending a graduate school can make or break a student's decision on whether to attend. Graduate programs do tend to cost more than undergraduate studies, and rates are generally higher among private institutions compared to public colleges. That said, the following three schools have the lowest tuition rates of the four compared, according to 2013-2014 NCES data.

1. Northeastern University

Northeastern University charges graduate students a yearly tuition rate of $30,384, which makes it the least expensive of the compared graduate schools. An additional $258 in fees is charged on average as well, bringing the total to $30,642.

2. Suffolk University

Suffolk University ranks second in this category with a combined graduate tuition and fee rate of $32,020 per year on average; $40 of that figure is in fees.

3. Harvard University

Harvard University, which is situated less than five miles from Boston in nearby Cambridge, takes the final spot among the three ranked schools. The private institution, on average, charges a graduate tuition of $38,888 annually. The yearly fees amount to about $958.

Graduation Rate

Many of the compared schools in this article are historical institutions that have a well-known reputation; however, it's wise to consider some hard facts when exploring education options. The three schools below have the highest graduation rates of the compared institutions, according to NCES data based on first-time students who began their postsecondary studies in the fall of 2007. Although these stats refer only to undergrads, they still offer some insight about what kind of education quality can be expected at the schools.

1. Harvard University

With a graduation rate of 97%, Harvard University earns the top spot among the ranked schools in this category. In addition, that same percentage of full-time students who began their bachelor's degree program in 2012 returned to the school in 2013 (NCES). This is a solid indicator that students are satisfied with the education they're receiving at Harvard.

2. Boston University

Boston University ranks second with a high graduation rate of 84%. The NCES reports that 93% of undergrads who started working towards a bachelor's degree in 2012 came back to the school the following year. Clearly, most students have favorable views of their academic experience at the university.

3. Northeastern University

Coming in third place in this category, Northeastern University has a graduation rate of 83%. At 96%, it also has one of the highest retention rates for undergraduate students entering in 2012 and returning in 2013.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

The student-to-faculty ratio is a useful stat to explore when comparing schools because it gives an idea of how easy -- or how difficult -- it may be to get one-on-one time with professors. The following universities have the lowest student-to-faculty ratios among those compared, according to the NCES.

1. Harvard University

Harvard University has a ratio of just seven students for every one faculty member, which is an indication that students likely get a solid amount of individualized attention. NCES figures from 2013 reveal that the institution employs 4,486 professors; a little over 4,000 of them are full-time faculty. The campus is also home to roughly 2,000 graduate assistants.

2. Suffolk University

Suffolk University has a student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1, which makes it ranked second among the schools in this category. It should be rather easy for students to get personalized attention from professors or instructors. As of 2013, Suffolk University has 358 full-time and 422 part-time faculty members as well as 148 graduate assistants.

3. Boston University

Both Boston University and Northeastern University have student-to-faculty ratios of 13:1, but the former takes the third spot due to its larger student population of 32,411 (compared to Northeastern's student body of 20,053). Students at Boston University take classes instructed by 3,188 full-time and 1,304 adjunct professors. Nearly 2,500 graduate assistants are at the school as well.

Boston Universities: At a Glance

School Name Location School Type Programs Offered Area Ranking
Boston University Boston, MA Private not-for-profit Graduate certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #1 in Program Variety, #2 in Graduation Rate, #3 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Harvard University Cambridge, MA Private not-for-profit Graduate certificates; associates, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #3 in Tuition, #1 in Graduation Rate, #1 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Northeastern University Boston, MA Private not-for-profit Graduate certificates; associates, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #2 in Program Variety, #1 in Tuition, #3 in Graduation Rate
Suffolk University Boston, MA Private not-for-profit Undergraduate and graduate certificates; associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #3 in Program Variety, #2 in Tuition, #2 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
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