Wisconsin’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 Wisconsin offer advanced degrees, such as master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as opportunities for independent research, mentorships, and professional networking.

Wisconsin’s Best Graduate Schools of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Wisconsin

Between community colleges, technical schools, and universities, Wisconsin has 30 public schools. All the public schools in Wisconsin have affordable tuitions, ranging from $4,000 to $11,000. The University of Wisconsin – Madison has over 35,000 students in attendance, making it the largest in the state. The tuition runs about $11,000, and the school boasts an 85% graduation rate. Public affairs, veterinary medicine, and human ecology are just some of the fields students can study here.

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Of Wisconsin’s 29 private schools, 18 are religious. With just under 10,000 students, Marquette University is the largest, and tuition for this school is about $42,000. Located in Milwaukee, this Catholic, Jesuit university offers degrees in fields like business, engineering, physical therapy, and law. Also located in Milwaukee, the state’s smallest institution, the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology, is a private graduate school with just over 30 students, and is geared toward those earning their doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Wisconsin, like many states, also provides a loan forgiveness program to those who are working in the health care field.

When people think Wisconsin, they might immediately crave cheese. After all, the state is home to a museum dedicated to all things cheese, including the annual making of a 90-pound wheel of Swiss. But The Beaver State is also known for its more than 15,000 lakes, including Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Prospective students looking to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree will enjoy the food, landscape, and educational variety Wisconsin has to offer.

Learn more about Wisconsin’s higher education opportunities by checking out the state’s variety of colleges and universities.


What are Wisconsin’s Colleges & Universities?

Wisconsin’s Best Overall

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There are 6 doctorate-granting universities in Wisconsin, all of which 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 40%.

How do we determine Wisconsin'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.

Best Graduate Schools in Wisconsin

  1. #1

    University of Wisconsin–Madison

    #24 institution's historical influence
    #216 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    38K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/29

    Madison, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Madison known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Madison’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Marquette University

    #382 institution's historical influence
    #475 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/26

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is Marquette University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #3

    University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

    #429 institution's historical influence
    #1407 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    22K

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Edgewood College

    #3284 institution's historical influence
    #1002 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/22

    Madison, WI

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    What is Edgewood College known for?

    Edgewood College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
  5. #5

    Cardinal Stritch University

    #4457 institution's historical influence
    #693 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/20

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is Cardinal Stritch University known for?

    Cardinal Stritch University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
  6. #6

    Marian University

    #6525 institution's historical influence
    #813 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    980/19

    Fond Du Lac, WI

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    What is Marian University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

Wisconsin’s Best Grad School for Your Interest!

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Photo By: Rosina Peixoto - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0