10 Best “Hidden Gem” Universities in New England

5. University of Massachusetts, Boston (Boston, MA)

UMass Boston is the only school in the entire University of Massachusetts system based in a major American city, giving it a unique edge for students interested in an urban environment for their education.

The excellence of UMass Boston begins with its unusually accomplished faculty, many of which are among the most respected throughout New England. These include Pulitzer-prize winning poet Lloyd Schwartz, prominent economist Julie A. Nelson, and Benjamin Mollow, an important physicist who discovered the eponymous Mollow triplet.

Over the last 5 years, UMass Boston has substantially risen; several new buildings have been erected in this time, including the $182m Integrated Sciences Complex over 200,000 square feet in size, as well as the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, whose inauguration ceremony included the presence of Barack Obama.

A number of UMass Boston’s programs rank in the top 100 nationwide according to US News, including rehabilitation counseling, public affairs, and education.

4. Johnson & Wales University (Providence, RI)

Johnson & Wales University
Kenneth C. Zirkel, Johnson and Wales Culinary building, Harborside campus, Providence RI, CC BY-SA 4.0

Johnson & Wales is best described as a career-oriented university, focusing on helping its students find sustainable, satisfying employment post-college.

Perhaps what Johnson & Wales is best known for is its culinary program. Among the largest of its kind in the country, nearly 1,700 students are enrolled in this major, making it the most popular academic discipline at this university. All four Johnson & Wales campuses are ranked in the top-12 culinary schools nationwide.

However, what makes Johnson & Wales is more than just its culinary program; it is an ideal education for the student who likes hands-on, experiential education. Amazingly, Johnson & Wales is partnered with over 950 internship-providing programs nationwide. 

The impact of Johnson & Wales is global; students from 57 countries study here. Additionally, alumni of Johnson & Wales are employed in over 120 countries nationwide.

Johnson & Wales has campuses not just in Providence, but also in Charlotte, Miami, and Denver.

3. Central Connecticut State University (New Britain, CT)

Central Connecticut State University
Sage Ross, Central Connecticut State University Student Center, CC BY-SA 3.0

Among the more selective of Connecticut’s public universities, Central Connecticut State University is home to approximately 12,000 students.

CCSU has been on the rise over the last decade, implementing many new initiatives to further its curricular offerings. Some recent additions include the 4,800 square foot Bichum Engineering Laboratory as well as a number of residence halls.

In fact, in the last decade alone, Central Connecticut State has invested an amazing $394m in its facilities, bolstering its appearance and classroom offerings. 

Recently ranked by The Princeton Review among the nation’s “Best Northeastern Colleges,” CCSU has produced recipients of the Fulbright as recently as 2019

Alumni of CCSU include well-known actor Richard Grieco as well as former Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo.

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