The University of Massachusetts was first opened in Amherst as the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1863 with funding from the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act. It wasn’t until 1947 that the state college was renamed the University of Massachusetts. Colleges in Boston, Lowell, Dartmouth, and Worcester were integrated into the system from the 1960s through the 1990s. Today, UMass is a five-site public, co-educational RU/VH institution endowed for $768 billion total under President Marty Meehan’s leadership. The University of Massachusetts system attracts 72,796 students and 17,506 staff for comprehensive, high-quality education. Since 2001, UMass has also operated an Online Division with 1,500+ course options.

According to the U.S. News, UMass Amherst is the 74th best university, UMass Boston and Dartmouth share the 202nd top college spot, and UMass Lowell is the 152nd best school nationwide. The University of Massachusetts has ranked 19th globally by the Times of London. Reuters honored UMass as the world’s 52nd best university for innovative achievements. The UMass Isenberg School of Management was placed #4 for “Best Professors” in the Princeton Review’s business school guide. Other noteworthy wins include the University of Massachusetts’ Sloan-C Excellence Award, USDLA 21st Century Best Practices Award, UMB Special Achievement Award, and Blackboard Exemplary Course Award.

University of Massachusetts Accreditation Details

Every 10 years, the University of Massachusetts campuses are separately reaffirmed for regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). This means the 146 UMassOnline programs are recognized under the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Specific degrees also earn specialized approvals from:

  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
  • Council on Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP)
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)

University of Massachusetts Application Requirements

Joining the University of Massachusetts’ 330,000 alumni network will require passing “selective” admission criteria with an average acceptance rate of 57 percent. First-year applicants should have completed a high school diploma after a challenging schedule with AP/IB courses. Four years each of English, mathematics, and science is preferred. Most UMass campuses have a “No Test Option” for achievers with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Admitted freshmen reach a mean SAT score of 1290, GPA of 3.83, and ACT score of 27 though. Online bachelor’s completion degrees accept transfers from accredited colleges with 60+ credits graded “C” or better.

Online graduate admission always relies on UMass applicants holding an accredited bachelor’s degree in suitable disciplines. Non-native English speakers from foreign institutions need a minimum Internet-based TOEFL score of 80 or IELTS score of 6.5. Master’s and doctoral programs online generally set 3.0 as the lowest accepted GPA. Unless the GPA is above 3.5, graduate exams are required. For example, the Online Master of Science in Finance mandates a GMAT score surpassing 500. Eligible MSN applicants need professional RN nursing licensure. Master of Education candidates usually have 2+ years of teaching experience too.

The University of Massachusetts has undergrad application deadlines of November 1st for Early Action and January 15th for Regular Decision. Online programs have wide-ranging deadlines from April 15th to October 15th, so check carefully. Sign into the UMass Application and submit:

  • Payment for application fees of $50-$75
  • Official, sealed academic transcripts
  • Testing score reports, i.e. ACT, GMAT, or IELTS
  • Typed, one-page statement of long-range goals
  • Three signed recommendation forms
  • Updated resume or CV of work experience

Tuition and Financial Aid

The University of Massachusetts Amherst traditionally charges full-time undergrads $15,345 in-state and $33,492 out-of-state annually. That’s before the room and board cost of $12,254 per year kicks in. Luckily, UMassOnline courses are more affordable and let you nix extra housing costs. The University Without Walls has for-credit undergrad course costing from $825 to $1,980 apiece. Master’s and doctoral courses range from $1,230 to $2,250 regardless of state residence. For instance, the 30-credit M.S. in Healthcare Management costs $16,100 total.

The U.S. News reports that 56 percent of full-time UMass students receive financial aid for an average amount of $10,251. Online learners qualify for institutional awards like the Chancellor’s Scholarship, Community Scholarship, Flagship Award, Honors-to-Honors Scholarship, and City of Boston Scholarship Fund. Federally, students could claim the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, Perkins Loan, or Direct Loans. Bay Staters may earn the MASS Grant, Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship, Paul Tsongas Scholarship, and more. The Veteran Services Office offers educational benefits through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Online programs also accept MA State Employee or OSFA tuition waivers.

Online Degrees Available

The University of Massachusetts system’s five campuses combine to deliver two associate, 37 bachelor’s, 45 master’s, and four doctoral degrees completely online. There are also 61 online certificates ranging from casino management to clinical pathology and computer science. From their Blackboard Learn dashboard, UMassOnline students access course material either synchronously or asynchronously with an average 17:1 student-faculty ratio for constant professor access. Distance learners receive 24/7 technical support, online services from the UMass Library, and even a University Without Walls commencement. Two sample online programs to consider are:

Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs

Delivered by UMass Boston’s College of Advancing and Professional Studies (CAPS), the Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs is a four-year, online program teaching undergrads about real-world 21st century issues afflicting the world’s diverse population. The 120-credit degree is authorized in 46 states, excluding Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, and Minnesota. Online courses delve into global policy, geography, international development, economics, cultural communication, and international conflict. In addition to the capstone portfolio, students could study abroad from Scotland to South Korea.

Master of Engineering Management

Post-bachelor’s online students can complete the Master of Engineering Management in 12 months full-time through UMass Lowell’s ABET-accredited Francis College of Engineering. The respected, 31-credit curriculum offers three concentrations for Design and Manufacturing, Operations and Supply Chain Management, or Engineering Services and Infrastructure Management. Engineers sharpen their leadership skills through online courses like process analytics, financial accounting, marketing, organizational behavior, and industrial operations. Future managers further customize their technical expertise through the professional practice requirement.

Other online offerings at the University of Massachusetts include the A.S. in Information Technology, B.A. in Journalism Studies, B.S. in Criminal Justice, M.A. in Homeland Defense Security, M.S. in Mental Health Counseling, and Ed.D. in Leadership in Schooling.