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MassGIS Data: Colleges and Universities

May 2018

This point datalayer shows the locations of institutions of higher education in Massachusetts.

Table of Contents


ESRI shapefile with ArcGIS 10.0 layer file


Sites appearing in this layer are those normally attended by students after completion of high school. Types are public and private, and categories include co-ed, vocational, technical, religious, medical, and traditional 2- and 4-year colleges and universities.

The layer is stored in ArcSDE and distributed as COLLEGES_PT.

For pre-kindergarten through high school educational facilities, see the Schools layer.


This layer was developed by MassGIS and is primarily based on all Massachusetts colleges listed in the National Center for Education Statistics website as of March 12, 2018. Additional schools were added from lists of professional occupational/vocational institutions compiled by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Division of Professional Licensure. Sources include:

Individual college websites were also consulted to verify locations and other material.

MassGIS geocoded site addresses to the Master Address Database and verified them using current ortho imagery and Internet map sources.

A few institutions have multiple campuses, as distinct from satellite locations. For example, Harvard School of Business and Harvard Medical School are campuses within Harvard University, and a point is included in this dataset for each. Some satellite campuses may not be included. For example, Northeastern University conducts classes in satellite locations such as Milford High School. Since Milford High School is a separate educational facility, it is not considered to be a Northeastern University campus, and a point is not included in this layer.


he datalayer's point attribute table has the following items:

COLLEGE Name of Institution (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
CAMPUS A description of the campus when there is more than one campus.
ADDRESS Institution's mailing street address (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
CITY Institution's mailing city/town and state address (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
ZIPCODE 5-digit ZIP Code (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
PLUS_FOUR Last 4 digits of ZIP Code, if available (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
GEOG_TOWN Official municipality name, from a spatial overlay with the Towns from Survey Points polygon feature class. (Source: MassGIS)
MAIN_TEL Institution's main area code and telephone number (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
URL Institution's Uniform Resource Locator (website) (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
NCES_ID Unique identifier used by NCES. From the field IPEDS_ID in the database file from NCES. Null for schools from sources other than NCES. (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
TYPE Identifies public/private institution type (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/):
PRI = Private
PUB = Public
NCES_TYPE General description of the school from the NCES database, indicating number of years for programs (<224); Public/Private type; and for-profit/not-for-profit status (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/
CATEGORY A general, best-fit classification of the institutions based on the type of education offered (Source: MassGIS, https://www.mass.gov/, institution websites):

Adult Education = Programs for continuing education, often certification for working students

Business School = Schools focused on Bachelor's Degrees and higher in business

Community College = Public two-year programs offering certificates and Associate's Degrees

Divinity School = Divinity Schools and Theological Seminaries focusing on religious studies

Graduate Landscape Program = Master's program in Landscape Design

Graduate Medical Program = Graduate programs in medical related fields that are not M.D.

Law School = Doctorate Law programs

Liberal Arts College = Schools emphasizing undergraduate study in the liberal arts and sciences

Medical Program = Certificate or Associate's Programs in medical technician, nursing, dental, or similar training

Medical School = Schools offering a full suite of degrees in medicine and public health

Municipally Affiliated College = College funded and run at the municipal level

Performing Arts College = Schools focused on music and theater programs

Private College = Four-year private colleges with specialty programs

Private Occupational Programs = Certification programs for technical skills (From https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/02/15/electricians%20150-600-hrs-course-approved-schools.pdf)

Private University = Private Universities with multiple schools but not focused on research

Private Vocational Schools = Certificate programs in cosmetology, electrology, barbering, or massage therapy (From https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2017/09/27/schools.pdf)

Research University = Private Universities with many research-focused departments

State University = University run by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that is not part of the UMASS system

Technical College = Four-year schools focused on technical and engineering programs

Technical Institute = Certificate programs in a variety of technical disciplines

University of Massachusetts = Public Universities in the UMASS system

Visual Arts College = Bachelor's or higher programs in visual arts

Visual Arts School = Certificate programs in visual arts

Women's Liberal Arts College = Liberal Arts Colleges only admitting women
DEGREEOFFR Coded values for degrees offered, based on the AWARDSOFFR field (Source: MassGIS):
C = Certificate
A = Associate's Degree
B = Bachelor's Degree
PBC = Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
M = Master's Degree
PMC = Post-Master's Certificate
D = Doctor's Degree
AWARDSOFFR Awards/degrees offered by the institution according to NCES (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
LARGEPROG Largest program offered by the institution, where applicable. Not included for most large universities or liberal arts colleges. (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/, school websites)
CAMPUSSETT Description of the campus location, such as city, suburb, rural (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/)
CAMPUSHOUS Indicates whether on campus housing is available (Yes/No) (Source: http://nces.ed.gov/, school websites)
L_SRC Primary source material used to locate the feature (Source: MassGIS):
nces.ed.gov = NCES database file
mass.gov = Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Division of Professional Licensure.
IN-WEBSITE = Interpolation based on campus maps or other data contained on the institution's website


MassGIS maintains this datalayer. The schema of the attribute table changed with the May 2018 release of this data layer. The shapefile was reposted on 7/19/2018 to fix a typographical error in one college name (North Shore Community College).

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