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Best universities in Boston 2022

Explore the top universities in Boston using data from the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education US College Rankings

November 10 2021
best universities in boston, boston, study in the USA, study abroad


Boston is home to more than 100 colleges and universities, which welcome over 250,000 students from around the world.  

With access to internships and work experience in nearly every major field, many students end up staying in Boston to pursue careers in education, medicine and finance when they graduate.  

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Here are the best universities in Boston, according to the Times Higher Education/Wall Street Journal US College Rankings 2022

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1. Boston University 

Established by Methodists in 1839, the original campus for Boston University was in Newbury, Vermont, before it moved to Boston in 1867. Although it’s now nonsectarian, it has maintained its historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. 

With more than 34,000 undergraduate and graduate students from over 130 countries, it is one of the largest universities in the greater Boston area. And with over 10,000 faculty members and staff, it’s also one of Boston’s largest employers.  

There are 17 schools and colleges and 300 fields of study located across two campuses and numerous international programmes.

The main campus is located along the Charles River in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighbourhoods, while the Boston University medical campus is in Boston’s South End neighbourhood. In the Fenway-Kenmore neighbourhood alone, there is the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the nightlife of Lansdowne Street as well as Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. 

Around 75 per cent of undergraduates at Boston University live in student housing in and around campus, which offers more than 450 active student societies and whose library system houses 2.4 million physical volumes.

Alumni include civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr, who undertook his PhD studies at Boston University in the 1950s. Other notable alumni include Academy Award winners Geena Davis, Marisa Tomei and Julianne Moore, radio DJ Howard Stern and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Several Nobel laureates are connected to the university. Literature laureates Saul Bellow and Derek Walcott taught at Boston, and Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel was a professor of the humanities. Current professor Sheldon Lee Glashow and former professor Daniel C. Tsui each received the Nobel Prize for Physics, while Martin Luther King won the Peace Prize in 1964.

Two US poet laureates have also taught at Boston – Robert Lowell and Robert Pinsky. 

Boston is also one of the US’ most international universities, with around 8,000 international students enrolled on its courses in total.

It has almost 100 study-abroad programmes based in London, Paris and more than 30 other cities, and it also runs programmes in Los Angeles and Washington. It runs almost 200 alumni abroad associations and operates more than 400 global initiatives. 

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2. Northeastern University

Northeastern University has its main campus in Boston, between the Fenway, Roxbury and Back Bay areas, but has satellite campuses in other parts of the state.

Its reach is not limited to New England, however, and Northeastern has graduate campuses in centres including Charlotte, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Toronto.

The institution places importance on global engagement and offers students learning opportunities with almost 3,000 corporate partners.

Faculty members regularly collaborate on research with colleagues on the other side of the world, and Northeastern alumni now live in 186 countries.

Northeastern offers 18 varsity sports, 43 club sports and 32 intramural sports – all playing under the Northeastern Huskies moniker.

The university has produced notable alumni in a wide range of industries. Richard Egan and Roger Marino, co-founders of multinational EMC Corporation, graduated from Northeastern in 1962. Jeff Clarke, the former CEO of Kodak, took his MBA at the university. 

3. Simmons University 

Established in 1899, Simmons University is located in the heart of Boston and is made up of a primarily female undergraduate college, as well as a coeducational graduate school.

The college was founded by the estate of wealthy clothing manufacturer John Simmons, who believed women should be given the opportunity to study for professional roles in society. The university is renowned for its progressive view on education; the first African American student graduated in 1914 and it was one of a small number of private colleges not to impose admission quotas on Jewish students during the 1900s.

It also became the third women’s college in the country to accept transgender women.

Its academic campus and residential campus are located a short distance from one another. The residential campus is home to an auditorium, a dining hall, a fitness centre and a health centre. Students can join student clubs and organisations, as well as the athletics teams, which are known as the Sharks.

The undergraduate college offers more than 50 diverse programmes in four colleges: college of natural, behavioural, and health sciences; college of organisational, computational, and information sciences; college of social sciences, policy, and practice; and the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities

Best universities in Boston 2022

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2022 profile


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