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Discover Worcester’s Top Tier Education 

The Worcester, MA, region is home to a cluster of colleges and universities. 

By Lindsey Hyde on December 12, 2022

Students study a body at Quinsigamond Community College.
Quinsigamond Community College

Knowledge flows through Worcester, as the region and surrounding areas house 12 higher education institutions. While different in their specific missions and academic offerings, each school prepares students for their careers and stocks the local talent pool.

“I think we have a strong resource for training and education,” Luis Pedraja, Quinsigamond Community College president, says of Worcester’s collection of colleges and universities.

Together, led by more than 10,000 faculty and staff, the schools enroll 31,000 full-time students each year. And to date, approximately 30% of the region’s population over the age of 25 has a bachelor’s degree or higher, while 84% has a greater than high school education. 

Students dissected sheep brains during Prof. Alo Basu Neuroscience Lab in Worcester, MA - Nov 17th, 2021. Photo by John Buckingham.
Courtesy of Holy Cross/John Buckingham

Strong Medicine

For students eager to join the medical field, the region is home to a branch of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). Here, students can choose from more than 100 undergraduate and advanced programs that span the health care industry. Plus, thanks to the college’s hands-on culture, students are able to train with the same technology and equipment used in real-life labs, offices and hospitals.

Also readying students to excel in this industry is UMass Chan Medical School. This world-class health science campus is home to three graduate schools — T.H. Chan School of Medicine, Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing and Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Together, MCPHS and UMass Chan bring 2,500 medical students to the region. 

Also in the medical realm is the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, which works to improve the health and well-being of animals, humans and the environment. The school offers a four-year professional Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program, three combined DVM Master of Science programs and four stand-alone graduate programs.

Exterior of Worcester State University in Worcester, MA.
Worcester State University

Liberal Arts Heft 

When it comes to obtaining a liberal arts degree, students can choose from a collection of schools, such as Anna Maria College, a four-year private Catholic school that integrates a liberal arts education with real-life career preparation, or Assumption University, a Catholic university offering 35 majors. Assumption draws students from 33 states and 11 countries.

Other options include Worcester State University, a liberal arts and sciences school that offers approximately 60 undergraduate majors and minors, 29 master’s degrees and a variety of other programs.

Students walk outside of the Wellness Center at Worcester State University in Worcester, MA.
Worcester State University

Clark University is known for integrating liberal arts with practice-based learning beyond the classroom. College of the Holy Cross prides itself on developing leaders and offers students programs related to the arts, sciences, social sciences, humanities and interdisciplinary studies.

“We’ve gotten great feedback from the students about the education they’ve received, the opportunities it’s afforded them, the way it’s supported what they do in their lives once they leave,” says Vincent Rougeau, the college’s president.

“We’re educating them in a well-rounded way … and it’s great to have a wide range of skills that you can draw upon as you move through your life.”

Spring beauty shots on the Hill in Worcester, MA 2022 Photo by Avavell Chang
Courtesy of Holy Cross

Business, Trades & More

Students can also receive a phenomenal degree at Nichols College. This private business school in nearby Dudley allows undergraduate students to choose between a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Also nearby is Framingham State University, which offers 39 majors. While rooted as a teachers’ college, the university has become an institution whose alumni are also excelling in the fashion industry and writing for major media outlets, among other things. 

Two other schools that are both known for their hands-on opportunities include Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which offers more than 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across its Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Business, and Global schools, and Quinsigamond Community College, whose 120 associate degrees and certificate programs help prepare students to either take on the workforce or transfer to a four-year school.

“We have a mix of trainings that will help students learn the skills and acquire the knowledge that employers are going to need to be able to compete in the global marketplace,” Pedraja says.

WORCESTER, MA - APRIL 13: Prof. Gareth Roberts works with students from Math 133, Calculus 1 with Fundamentals, from left, Dahaba Tukka, Chris Fiorenza and Bradley Fruehauf during outdoor office hours in the Hoval on the last day of classes before the start of Easter Break. April 13, 2022 in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Courtesy of Holy Cross/Michael Ivins

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders

To help cultivate the next generation of leaders, the Worcester Youth Leadership Institute hosts an annual six-to-seven-week summer program for 15- to 20-year-olds. During this time, 25 participants spend four hours every Friday learning about the region’s business, government, education and nonprofit sectors through talks, question-and-answer sessions, visits, tours and more.

A partnership between the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, MassHire Central Region Workforce Board, United Way of Central Massachusetts, Families United for Change, Worcester Community Action Council and City of Worcester Division of Youth Opportunities, the institute strives to introduce participants to career opportunities in their city.

Students in a lounge at UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, MA.
UMass Chan Medical School/Rob Carlin

Each Friday, students are provided with a full schedule of activities led by a different entity. For example, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce guides one of the Friday sessions.

“Not only do (participating students) improve their leadership skills, but they also network with other young leaders in the community, so they get to meet like-minded individuals who share a passion for community leadership and advocacy,” says Walter Jovel, the program coordinator.

Participants are selected from a group of students participating in YouthWorks, a state-funded employment program where students work Monday through Thursday during the summer for area public, private or nonprofit organizations.

By the program’s end, students are more informed about area sectors and have a better idea of the types of careers that are available.

“Sometimes they’re like, ‘Wow, this is really great. I want to do this in the future, or now I know I want to work for this particular agency,’” Jovel says.

Want to know more?

To learn more about the Worcester area, check out the latest edition of Livability Worcester, MA

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