50 Best Private Grad Schools of 2021

When graduate students are looking for a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services, a private graduate college or university could be the perfect choice.

50 Best Private Grad Schools of 2021

A private university will on average be much smaller than a public university, the best of which are large state schools serving 30,000 to 40,000 students, or more. Small here doesn’t mean tiny, but it does mean more intimate, with readier access to mentors and research faculty. The best private grad schools also have an abundance of resources (often through large endowments), which they can make consistently available to students.

These are the best private grad schools in the US!” – @AcademicInflux

Even the best and largest public grad schools may face budget crunches when state legislatures decide to cut costs. We’ve seen it happen at large public universities where, on account of budget cuts, teachers have to provide their own chalk and students their own exam booklets. Finally, especially for doctoral programs, both private and public grad schools will, depending on the field, offer tuition remission and a stipend, so the out of pocket cost for graduate students tends to be no different, and thus no higher, at private graduate schools.

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How can you choose the best graduate school for you? A good answer to this question looks to your personal and professional goals. Certain professions will require you to earn an advanced degree. In other cases, an advanced degree can make you eligible for leadership roles and higher pay. For instance, the best graduate schools for education can improve your earnings as a teacher, make you eligible for tenure, or help you meet the basic threshold for continued employment. On the other hand, the best graduate schools for business can simply make you a more competitive candidate for job openings and management roles.

The best graduate school for you should have a stellar reputation and employ highly influential professors across the board and especially in your area of study. Indeed, much exciting academic work these days is cross-disciplinary, and for such work to flourish it helps to be at a school that is strong across discipines. The following list is composed of only private graduate schools.

We’ve identified 715 private colleges and universities that meet our criteria. In order to be included in this list of best graduate schools, a university needs to satisfy the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a private non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer doctoral degrees and a broad range of advanced degrees.
  4. It must have a student body of at least 2,000.

How do we determine the best private graduate colleges & universities?

Methodology

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.

50 Best Private Grad Schools in the US

  1. #1

    Harvard University

    Cambridge , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    What is Harvard University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #2

    Stanford University

    Stanford , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/33

    What is Stanford University known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1540/35

    What is Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for?

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Columbia University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    What is Columbia University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Yale University

    New Haven , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    What is Yale University known for?

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

    • Law
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    Princeton University

    Princeton , NJ
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    What is Princeton University known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #7

    University of Chicago

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1535/34

    What is University of Chicago known for?

    University of Chicago’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Law
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  8. #8

    New York University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    49K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1440/32

    What is New York University known for?

    New York University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #9

    Cornell University

    Ithaca , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

    What is Cornell University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #10

    University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    What is University of Pennsylvania known for?

    University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Law
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #11

    Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore , MD
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

    What is Johns Hopkins University known for?

    Johns Hopkins University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  12. #12

    Northwestern University

    Evanston , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1495/34

    What is Northwestern University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Law
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. #13

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    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:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    What is University of Southern California known for?

    University of Southern California’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  15. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1545/35

    What is California Institute of Technology known for?

    California Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  16. #17

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Pittsburgh , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

    What is Carnegie Mellon University known for?

    Carnegie Mellon University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    REQUEST INFO
  17. #18

    Brown University

    Providence , RI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    What is Brown University known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  18. #25

    Syracuse University

    Syracuse , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1280/28

    What is Syracuse University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  19. #26

    Brandeis University

    Waltham , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/31

    What is Brandeis University known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • History
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. #29

    The New School

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1265/27

    What is The New School known for?

    The New School’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  21. #30

    University of Rochester

    Rochester , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    35%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1405/32

    What is University of Rochester known for?

    University of Rochester’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Business
    REQUEST INFO
  22. #33

    Wesleyan University

    Middletown , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Wesleyan University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Religious Studies
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  23. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    30%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1425/32

    What is Case Western Reserve University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  24. #36

    Howard University

    Washington , DC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    39%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1205/24

    What is Howard University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  25. #37

    University of Miami

    Coral Gables , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1355/30

    What is University of Miami known for?

    University of Miami’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  26. Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/31

    What is Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute known for?

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  27. #40

    Drexel University

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1290/28

    What is Drexel University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  28. Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    What is Northeastern University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  29. #42

    Yeshiva University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/27

    What is Yeshiva University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  30. #44

    Tulane University

    New Orleans , LA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1440/32

    What is Tulane University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  31. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/31

    What is Southern Methodist University known for?

    Southern Methodist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  32. Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1295/29

    What is Illinois Institute of Technology known for?

    Illinois Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Law
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  33. #48

    Pepperdine University

    Malibu , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1340/29

    What is Pepperdine University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • History
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  34. #49

    Santa Clara University

    Santa Clara , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1360/30

    What is Santa Clara University known for?

    Santa Clara University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Law
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  35. #50

    DePaul University

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    19K

    What is DePaul University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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