DC’s Best Graduate Schools of 2021

Graduate school may be a critical step in your higher education, whether you are interested in expanding your knowledge, learning a specialization, or earning advanced credentials required by your profession. The best graduate schools in DC offer advanced degrees, such as master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as opportunities for independent research, mentorships, and professional networking.

DC’s Best Graduate Schools of 2021

What are DC’s Colleges & Universities?

DC’s Best Overall


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There are 6 doctorate-granting universities in DC, the top 5 satisfy our criteria. The best graduate schools below are composed of both private and public schools that satisfy the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer doctoral degrees and a broad array of graduate degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate greater than 60%.

How do we determine DC's best graduate schools?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. At the undergraduate level, the best colleges and universities are those with the highest concentration of influence. Our Concentrated Influence metric adjusts overall influence by size of undergraduate student body, thus allowing smaller schools to compete with larger schools so long as they have proportionately as strong influential faculty and alums.

But at the graduate level, the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. Overall influence, and not influence controlled by other variables, thus becomes the best gauge of academic excellence at the graduate level. Where smaller size is an advantage at the undergraduate level (hence Concentrated Influence), graduate studies benefit from a large and vibrant community of graduate students, who promise to become the new generation of academic influencers.

If you are serious about finding the best graduate schools, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our methodology here.

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Best Graduate Schools in DC

  1. #1

    George Washington University

    #72 institution's historical influence
    #76 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    43%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    21K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1375/31

    Washington, DC

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    What is George Washington University known for?

    George Washington University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Georgetown University

    #38 institution's historical influence
    #19 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    Washington, DC

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    What is Georgetown University known for?

    Georgetown University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    American University

    #177 institution's historical influence
    #113 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    39%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1300/29

    Washington, DC

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    What is American University known for?

    American University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Howard University

    #135 institution's historical influence
    #220 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    39%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1205/24

    Washington, DC

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    What is Howard University known for?

    Howard University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • History
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    The Catholic University of America

    #277 institution's historical influence
    #261 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    5K

    Washington, DC

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    What is The Catholic University of America known for?

    The Catholic University of America’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

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  6. #6

    Gallaudet University

    #1063 institution's historical influence
    #131 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    915/16

    Washington, DC

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    What is Gallaudet University known for?

    Gallaudet University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

DC’s Best Grad School for Your Interest!

Resources for Prospective Grad Students

Photo By: Benoît Prieur / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0