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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. View article »

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Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
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  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Top U.S. Graduate Schools

To find the best master's degree programs in the United States, prospective students can look at the subject-specific rankings provided by U.S. News & World Report. 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. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked the following schools top in their respective graduate fields of business, education, engineering, and other areas of study. Let's review some of the most popular fields, along with graduate schools that rank highest in these fields of study.

Business

Master's-level business studies are available through Master of Business Administration programs, as well as other degree options. The best schools in this field are:

  1. Harvard University
  2. University of Pennsylvania
  3. University of Chicago

Education

Master's degree programs in education can serve the needs of teachers and educational administrators. Here are the top schools in the field:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. University of California - Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin - Madison (tie for 3rd)

Engineering

In master's degree programs in engineering, students can prepare for careers in research or industry. The top three schools are:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  2. Stanford University
  3. University of California - Berkeley

Law

For experienced lawyers who have already earned a J.D., it is possible to enroll in a Master of Laws program. The top-ranked law schools in the country are:

  1. Yale University
  2. Stanford University
  3. Harvard University

Medicine

Most medical schools offer Doctor of Medicine degrees, but some also provide research-focused master's degrees. The best medical schools in the country for research are:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. Johns Hopkins University

Nursing

According to U.S. News & World Report, these are the best master's-level nursing schools in the United States.

  1. Duke University
  2. Johns Hopkins University
  3. University of Pennsylvania

Fine Arts

Students looking for graduate-level programs in fine arts may look to the following schools:

  1. Yale University
  2. University of California - Los Angeles
  3. Virginia Commonwealth University

Health

Outside of direct medical studies, U.S. News & World Report ranked schools in the field of health. For instance, these are the best schools for health care management:

  1. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  2. University of Alabama - Birmingham
  3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Virginia Commonwealth University (tie for 3rd)

Public Affairs

These three schools were ranked the best in the country for public affairs:

  1. Indiana University - Bloomington
  2. Syracuse University
  3. Harvard University

Science

U.S. News & World Report includes many subjects within its science rankings. For chemistry, the best programs can be found at:

  1. California Institute of Technology
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. University of California - Berkeley

Social Sciences and Humanities

Like the science category, this category includes many different subjects. Here are the specific rankings for political science schools:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. Princeton University

Library and Information Studies

For information management and archiving systems education, these are the top three schools:

  1. University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign
  2. University of Washington
  3. University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

When looking for the best master's degree programs, it can be helpful to look to the rankings provided by U.S. News & World Report.

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