These are the Massachusetts schools to make WSJ’s list of top colleges


The rankings, published by The Wall Street Journal, feature four Massachusetts schools in the top 10 and put an emphasis on a school’s value.

A graduate wearing Massachusetts Institute of Technology regalia and holding a diploma wrapped in a red bow.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was in the top-10 of Wall Street Journal’s 2024 college rankings. Craig F. Walker/Boston Globe

Massachusetts is known for attracting some of the brightest college students to attend its several prestigious universities, often landing in the top-10 campus lists each year.

It was announced last week that a handful of area colleges appeared in the top-10 rankings for 2024 published by The Wall Street Journal — though a Massachusetts university didn’t grab the top spot. 

The Wall Street Journal

National college rankings, especially the popular list from U.S. News & World Report, have been lambasted by some in the higher education community for questionable criteria and promoting prestige over quality and value.

But the latest ranking from WSJ/College Pulse 2024 Best Colleges in the U.S. said it “put even greater emphasis” on the value schools provide when it comes to graduating on time and the salaries they earn in the job market. 

“Some college-ranking methodologies tend to have the effect of splitting universities into the haves and the have-nots by evaluating the resources a college has at its disposal,” WSJ reports. “Working with data scientists at Statista, the new WSJ/College Pulse ranking uses the most recent available data to put colleges on a more level playing field, with a focus on comparing the outcomes of each school’s graduates to what those students were likely to achieve no matter where they went to school.”

Ranking at No. 1 was Princeton University, a prestigious Ivy League school that is no stranger to the top spot. In the No. 2 spot? Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Other Massachusetts institutions in the top 10 were Harvard University at No. 6, Amherst College at No. 8, and Babson College at No. 10. 

Below is the full top-10 ranking of schools from the WSJ:

  1. Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge
  3. Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
  4. Stanford University in Stanford, California
  5. Columbia University in New York City
  6. Harvard University in Cambridge
  7. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  8. Amherst College in Amherst
  9. Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California
  10. Babson College in Wellesley

Here is how the 22 Massachusetts institutions on the list ranked:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge: 2
  • Harvard University, Cambridge: 6
  • Amherst College, Amherst: 8
  • Babson College, Wellesley: 10
  • Williams College, Williamstown: 31
  • Boston College, Chestnut Hill: 45
  • College of the Holy Cross, Worcester: 60
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester: 61
  • Wellesley College, Wellesley: 117
  • University of Massachusetts – Lowell, Lowell: 137
  • Northeastern University, Boston: 138
  • Stonehill College, Easton: 157
  • University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Amherst: 190
  • Boston University, Boston: 200
  • Brandeis University, Waltham: 223
  • University of Massachusetts – Boston, Boston, 242
  • Suffolk University, Boston: 244
  • Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater: 281
  • Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley: 282
  • Tufts University, Medford: 287
  • Smith College, Northampton: 312
  • Clark University, Worcester: 367

WSJ broke down their methodology, with student outcomes accounting for 70% of the school’s score — that includes a student’s salary impact, how long it takes them to pay off their debt, and graduation rates. Learning environment accounted for 20% and diversity for 10%.

It’s this methodology, WSJ reports, that pushed some prestigious schools — Brown University and Johns Hopkins University, for example — lower and “surfaced some hidden gems.” This ranking looks at 400 universities, and you can search for a university by name or filter by state.