Graduate Programs in Illinois: Overview of Popular Graduate Degrees

The state of Illinois offers graduate programs at 89 institutions. Explore several different evaluation criteria for prospective students to utilize that may be helpful during the school selection process.

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Graduate schools in Illinois offer both traditional and distance learning for post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates, master's, and doctoral degrees. Information from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will help potential students select the right graduate school by considering criteria such as; proximity to large cities, school size, cost, and graduation rates.

Illinois Schools Near Large Cities

One qualitative factor that many students consider is proximity to large cities. NCES data allows us to determine exactly how close these graduate schools are from 3 major cities in Illinois: Chicago, Rockford, and Springfield. Students looking for a school near a large city may want to consider:

  • Argosy University (downtown Chicago)
  • Adler University (downtown Chicago)
  • National Louis University (downtown Chicago)
  • University of Illinois at Springfield (2 miles from downtown Springfield)
  • Rockford University (6 miles from downtown Rockford)

Largest Schools in Illinois

Another popular evaluation criterion is the size of the student body. For the state of Chicago, there is a mix of public and private institutions. Though the largest school has over 45,000 students, most schools of the largest have a student body of between 20,000 and 30,000. These are the five schools in the state of Illinois with the largest student bodies:

  • University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign (45,140 total students)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (27,969 total students)
  • DeVry University-Illinois (24,220 total students)
  • DePaul University (23,799 total students)
  • Northwestern University (21,554 total students)

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
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Lowest Net Price

Tuition costs play a major role in determining where to enroll in a graduate program. The NCES College Navigator provides information on the net price for full-time undergraduate students for the 2014-2015 academic year. Here are five graduate schools in Illinois offering the lowest net price:

  • Chicago State University ($10,793)
  • National Louis University ($11,238)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago ($11,494)
  • University of Illinois at Springfield ($12,308)
  • American InterContiental University ($13,366)

Graduation Rate

Graduation rate is another important factor to consider when applying for graduate school. Although the NCES only calculates the graduation rates for undergraduate students finishing within six years of first enrolling, this can be an indication of the success of all students at the university. The five schools with the best graduation rates are as follows:

  • Northwestern University (93%)
  • University of Chicago (92%)
  • Wheaton College (89%)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (85%)
  • Bradley University (74%)

There are a number of criteria that prospective students looking for graduate programs in Illinois can consider when selecting their graduate school, including net price, graduation rate, proximity and size.

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