Best Grad Schools in North Carolina 2022

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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina 2022

Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

Among these schools are over 60 public colleges and universities, including the state’s largest school, North Carolina State University, which serves almost 30,000 students. Tuition costs average about $9,000, just below the national average, and students also have the option to enroll in over 1,000 online courses. Another notable public school is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is one of the country’s oldest universities.

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The 25,000 students who attend UNC will walk the same halls as Francis Collins, Thomas Wolfe, and former president James K. Polk. North Carolina’s private schools have also made a name for themselves, including the well-known Duke University located in Durham. Here, students can earn degrees in some of the top programs, like nursing, political science, and business. Additionally, students can attend one of the many small schools which serve less than 5,000 students, like Campbell University in Buies Creek, or a religiously affiliated school, like Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City.

From its coastal beaches to its lush forests, it’s no wonder the Wright Brothers dreamed of taking flight over North Carolina. This state is rich with history, scenic views, and famous people who once called it home, like John Coltrane and Nicholas Sparks. Students hoping to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree also have the option of choosing from over 100 schools in the Tar Heel State.

Whether you prefer ocean views or wooded forests, North Carolina has something for everyone. Discover more about the state’s higher learning options.


What are North Carolina’s Colleges & Universities?

North Carolina’s Best Overall


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How do we determine North Carolina's best grad schools?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

There are 16 doctorate-granting graduate schools in North Carolina. Our ranking of the best graduate schools in the North Carolina 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 North Carolina 2022

  1. #1

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1525/34

    What is Duke University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1405/30

    What is University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill known for?

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Communications
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    31K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1335/29

    What is North Carolina State University known for?

    North Carolina State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Wake Forest University

    Winston-Salem , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    8K

    What is Wake Forest University known for?

    Wake Forest University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1205/24

    What is University of North Carolina at Charlotte known for?

    University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Computer Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Physics
    • History
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    East Carolina University

    Greenville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/22

    What is East Carolina University known for?

    East Carolina University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • History
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/22

    What is University of North Carolina at Greensboro known for?

    University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/18

    What is North Carolina Central University known for?

    North Carolina Central University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    What is Appalachian State University known for?

    Appalachian State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Education
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #10

    High Point University

    High Point , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/25

    What is High Point University known for?

    High Point University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Religious Studies
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • History
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/19

    What is North Carolina A&T State University known for?

    North Carolina A&T State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Western Carolina University

    Cullowhee , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/22

    What is Western Carolina University known for?

    Western Carolina University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • History
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/24

    What is University of North Carolina Wilmington known for?

    University of North Carolina Wilmington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #14

    Fayetteville State University

    Fayetteville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    940/19

    What is Fayetteville State University known for?

    Fayetteville State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Biology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    Wingate University

    Wingate , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/20

    What is Wingate University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Gardner–Webb University

    Boiling Springs , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    What is Gardner–Webb University known for?

    Gardner–Webb University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
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North Carolina’s Best Grad School for Your Area of Interest

Resources for Prospective Grad Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized 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. Duke University
  2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  3. North Carolina State University
  4. Wake Forest University
  5. Appalachian State University
  6. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  7. East Carolina University
  8. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  9. University of North Carolina Wilmington
  10. Western Carolina University
  11. High Point University
  12. Wingate University