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These Mass. colleges dominated the new US News & World Report rankings

The Harvard University campus.
The Harvard University campus.JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

US News and World Report on Monday released their annual ranking of top universities and colleges in the nation, and seven schools from Massachusetts dominated in the university category’s top 40.

Harvard scored the second-highest spot in the country on the 2020 list of top universities, following No. 1 Princeton. Harvard’s Cambridge neighbor, MIT, tied with Columbia and Yale for third.

A bit further down the list, Tufts ranked 29th this year, tying with New York University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, among others.

Several other Boston-area schools climbed in the rankings this year: Boston College rose one spot, to 37th, while Boston University was ranked 40th, up from 42nd last year. Northeastern University also tied with BU at 40th, up from No. 44 last year — and Brandeis also shared the 40th spot, slipping from its 35th place last year.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst also rose on the list this year, tying with UConn, the University of Maryland, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, among others, for 64th (UMass last year was ranked 70th).


In Worcester, Clark University fell from the 66th spot last year to 91st this year.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts dominated the liberal arts category as well, with the top three spots going to Williams, Amherst, and Wellesley, respectively (Wellesley tied with Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore for third). Smith tied with several other colleges for 11th, College of the Holy Cross tied for 27th, and Mount Holyoke ranked 32nd.

In the ranking of public universities, the University of California at Los Angeles topped the list of public schools; UMass Amherst placed 24th, tying with UConn. The University of Vermont tied for 55, while the University of New Hampshire ranked 58th, and the University of Maine came in at 100th.


Northeastern also — maybe somewhat unsurprisingly — topped a new sub-list ranking the best schools with co-ops and internships. (The school in Boston is known for its co-op program, which generally requires students to work full time in their field of study.)

Meanwhile, Olin College of Engineering in Needham ranked third on a list for the best undergraduate engineering programs, and Babson College in Wellesley ranked first in the entrepreneurship category.

In all, US News ranked nearly 1,400 colleges and universities for the 35th edition of the list.

To calculate the top schools, US News focused on academic quality and placed an emphasis on outcome measures — including graduation rates, retention rates, and social mobility — with the “outcomes” category being the mostly highly weighted ranking factor at 35 percent. The rankings also considered faculty resources (20 percent), expert opinion (20 percent), financial resources (10 percent), student excellence (10 percent), and alumni giving (5 percent).

This year’s rankings mark the second year US News has included social mobility, which measures which schools best serve underrepresented students, in its methodology. Last year, school acceptance rates were removed to add in the social mobility factor, according to US News.


Here’s a look at where Massachusetts schools placed in the national university top 50 rankings:

2. Harvard

3. MIT (tie)

29. Tufts (tie)

37. Boston College (tie)

40. Boston University (tie)

40. Brandeis University (tie)

40. Northeastern University (tie)

Here’s a look at where Massachusetts schools placed in the liberal arts top 50 rankings:


1. Williams College

2. Amherst College

3. Wellesley College (tie)

11. Smith College (tie)

27. College of the Holy Cross (tie)

32. Mount Holyoke College