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What Are the Best Masters Programs in the U.S.?

A master's degree is the lowest-level graduate degree available to students who have already completed their bachelor's degrees. Master's degree programs are available in both professional and academic disciplines and can also lead to professional or doctorate degree programs. Read on to learn more about universities which offer some of the top-ranked master's programs in the country.

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Choosing a Master's Degree Program

Many factors go into selecting a master's program, including your professional goals, academic interests and whether or not you plan to pursue continued doctoral or professional study.

Many students choose their subject or field before they begin searching for specific programs. Master's degrees are available in almost every academic and professional area, from nursing to history to computer science.

Once you know either the specific topic or general field that you would like to study, it can be helpful to identify the top-ranked programs in that area. U.S. News & World Report ranks graduate schools based on discipline. Although it doesn't distinguish between master's and doctoral programs, most top-ranked schools in the U.S. News list include both.

Top Graduate Schools in the U.S.

In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked the following schools #1 in their respective graduate fields:

DisciplineTop-Ranked College or UniversityLocation
BiologyStanford UniversityStanford, CA
BusinessStanford UniversityStanford, CA
ChemistryCalifornia Institute of Technology (Cal Tech)Pasadena, CA
Computer ScienceCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh, PA
Clinical PsychologyUniversity of California - Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA
CriminologyUniversity of Maryland - College ParkCollege Park, MD
Earth ScienceCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadena, CA
EconomicsHarvard UniversityCambridge, MA
EducationVanderbilt UniversityNashville, TN
EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Cambridge, MA
EnglishUniversity of California - BerkeleyBerkeley, CA
Fine ArtsRhode Island School of Design (RISD)Providence, RI
Healthcare ManagementUniversity of Michigan - Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI
HistoryPrinceton UniversityPrinceton, NJ
Library & Information StudiesUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign, IL
MathMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridge, MA
NursingJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD
Occupational TherapyBoston UniversityBoston, MA
Political ScienceHarvard UniversityCambridge, MA
Physical TherapyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA
PhysicsCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadena, CA
Public AffairsSyracuse UniversitySyracuse, NY
Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD
PsychologyStanford UniversityStanford, CA
Social WorkWashington University in St. LouisSt. Louis, MO
SociologyUniversity of California - BerkeleyBerkeley, CA
StatisticsStanford UniversityStanford, CA
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