Best Grad Schools in DC 2024

Badge for BEST IN DC GRADUATE SCHOOLS

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.

Best Grad Schools in DC

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  1. Georgetown University
  2. George Washington University
  3. American University
  4. Howard University
  5. The Catholic University of America
  6. Gallaudet University
  7. University of the District of Columbia
  1. Georgetown University
  2. George Washington University
  3. Howard University
  4. American University
  5. The Catholic University of America
  6. Gallaudet University
  7. University of the District of Columbia
  1. The Catholic University of America 86%
  2. American University 64%
  3. Gallaudet University 62%
  4. George Washington University 50%
  5. Howard University 35%
  6. Georgetown University 12%
  1. George Washington University 13 to 1
  2. Howard University 12 to 1
  3. Georgetown University 11 to 1
  4. American University 11 to 1
  5. The Catholic University of America 11 to 1
  6. University of the District of Columbia 8 to 1
  7. Gallaudet University 6 to 1
  1. Georgetown University $59,957
  2. George Washington University $59,870
  3. American University $53,334
  4. The Catholic University of America $52,156
  5. Howard University $28,916
  6. Gallaudet University $17,712
  7. University of the District of Columbia $5,292
  1. Georgetown University $54,672
  2. The Catholic University of America $50,670
  3. American University $37,447
  4. Howard University $33,860
  5. George Washington University $32,850
  6. Gallaudet University $18,180
  7. University of the District of Columbia $9,234
  1. University of the District of Columbia
  2. Gallaudet University
  3. The Catholic University of America
  4. Howard University
  5. American University
  6. George Washington University
  7. Georgetown University
  1. University of the District of Columbia
  2. Gallaudet University
  3. The Catholic University of America
  4. American University
  5. Howard University
  6. George Washington University
  7. Georgetown University
  1. Georgetown University 12%
  2. Howard University 35%
  3. George Washington University 50%
  4. Gallaudet University 62%
  5. American University 64%
  6. The Catholic University of America 86%
  1. Gallaudet University 6 to 1
  2. University of the District of Columbia 8 to 1
  3. Georgetown University 11 to 1
  4. American University 11 to 1
  5. The Catholic University of America 11 to 1
  6. Howard University 12 to 1
  7. George Washington University 13 to 1
  1. University of the District of Columbia $5,292
  2. Gallaudet University $17,712
  3. Howard University $28,916
  4. The Catholic University of America $52,156
  5. American University $53,334
  6. George Washington University $59,870
  7. Georgetown University $59,957
  1. University of the District of Columbia $9,234
  2. Gallaudet University $18,180
  3. George Washington University $32,850
  4. Howard University $33,860
  5. American University $37,447
  6. The Catholic University of America $50,670
  7. Georgetown University $54,672

Key Takeaways

  • The best grad schools in DC are known for their rigorous academic standards that emphasize outstanding research, contemporary curriculum, and student engagement. Graduate students must meet these academic standards through intensive study of their chosen fields.
  • Graduate schools in Washington DC are in the best position to provide abundant opportunities for students interested in a wide array of disciplines. Students choose from graduate programs in business administration, computer science, engineering, and the performing arts.
  • Being in the nation’s capital also means easy access to a wide range of networking and employment opportunities! Washington DC, after all, is filled with the world’s largest corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

What are DC’s Colleges & Universities?

DC’s Best Overall


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Washington DC’s Pride: Top-Rated Grad Schools

Did you know that Washington DC is home to one of the most educated populations in the United States? Nearly 50% of its residents have at least a bachelor’s degree—and it’s among the reasons for its popularity in academia!

The best grad schools in DC provide in-state, out-of-state, and international students with excellent graduate education in diverse disciplines.

These graduate schools are also vital in the District’s culture, society, and economy, as well as in its politics including its influence on public policy. Indeed, graduate students are considered potential movers-and-shakers of the country due to their intensive graduate school education!

Major Universities with Graduate Schools in Washington DC

The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area represents 17 colleges and universities based in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The Smithsonian Institutions are also consortium members.

As a nonprofit educational association, the consortium promotes the common mission of its member universities, namely, the advancement of student knowledge, skills, and experiences. The emphasis is on education, culture and society, and science and technology, which Washington DC graduate schools are known for.

The consortium engages in cross-campus partnerships that promote convenient course cross-registration and library access, among other services, for students. The member-universities also engage in joint programs in education, procurement, and public safety training, to name a few initiatives.

The 17 member universities of the consortium are:

These colleges and universities are major innovation centers and employers with more than 30,000 jobs—and growing. In terms of enrollment, more than 80,000 students are enrolled in a Washington DC Consortium university—or one in six residents!

These colleges and universities also make a significant impact on the economy—close to $2 billion per year. Indeed, students in graduate schools will find that their colleges and universities are among the best places to work, too.

Reasons to Be in Washington DC for Your Graduate Studies

Aside from being home to the best graduate schools in the nation, if not the world, Washington DC is a consistent top-ranking presence in reputation surveys for the best college towns. Graduate students can look forward to these benefits in pursuing their graduate studies here:

  • Rich opportunities for practical experiences. Internships and apprenticeships, research opportunities, and jobs are aplenty.
  • Networking opportunities like you’ve never had before. Washington DC is a busy city filled with professionals in a wide array of disciplines so you will never run out of people to learn from.
  • History is unfolding right before your eyes. Many of the world’s most influential organizations, from the US federal government to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have their headquarters here.
  • Amazing architecture in every corner. The White House, The Capitol, and the Supreme Court are just a few of the awe-inspiring buildings in Washington DC—there are plenty of museums, theaters, and memorials to see. Plus, the shopping and entertainment options are the best.

What are you waiting for? Come to Washington DC and check out its graduate schools now!

There are 7 doctorate-granting graduate schools in DC. Our ranking of the best graduate schools in the DC is composed of both private and public schools. To be included, schools must be fully accredited non-profit institutions, and must offer doctoral degrees and a broad array of graduate degrees.

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Best Grad Schools in DC 2023

  1. #1

    Georgetown University

    Washington , DC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    Career Outlook for degree at Georgetown University

    Cost of Degree: $62,051
    Expenses: $22,644
    Starting Salary: $73,455
    Salary after 4 years: $94,738
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1360/31

    Career Outlook for degree at George Washington University

    Cost of Degree: $60,946
    Expenses: $18,745
    Starting Salary: $67,506
    Salary after 4 years: $81,848
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  3. #3

    American University

    Washington , DC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1305/29

    Career Outlook for degree at American University

    Cost of Degree: $53,889
    Expenses: $17,814
    Starting Salary: $51,337
    Salary after 4 years: $70,785
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  4. #6

    Gallaudet University

    Washington , DC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    915/16

    Career Outlook for degree at Gallaudet University

    Cost of Degree: $17,712
    Expenses: $22,000
    Starting Salary: $41,204
    Salary after 4 years: $54,225
    Cost Recoup Time: 13 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  5. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    3K

    Career Outlook for degree at University of the District of Columbia

    Cost of Degree: $6,152
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $51,147
    Salary after 4 years: $55,004
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of the District of Columbia known for?

    University of the District of Columbia’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

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DC’s Best Grad School for Your Area of Interest

Resources for Prospective Grad Students

Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.

2021 Ranking Archieve

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utilized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. George Washington University
  2. Georgetown University
  3. American University
  4. Howard University
  5. The Catholic University of America
  6. Gallaudet University
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