List of Private Graduate Schools in the U.S.

There are over 500 private graduate institutions in the United States; they offer education in many different fields. Here, you can find out about some of the best private universities for graduate-level study in particular academic disciplines.

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Private graduate schools can offer master's degrees, post-master's certificates and both research and professional doctoral degrees. Here, you can get more information about some of the options by examining information provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and U.S. News & World Report.

Highly Ranked Private Universities

The private universities highlighted here were highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017. The business schools were all ranked within the top 5; the education schools were all within the top 25; the engineering schools were within the top 12, the law schools were within the top 20; the nursing schools were within the top 40; the fine arts schools were within the top 13; the science schools were within the top 12; and the social science/humanities schools were within the top 15.

Business Harvard University (Boston, MA)
Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
Education Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
New York University (New York, NY)
Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
Law Yale University (New Haven, CT)
Duke University (Durham, NC)
Georgetown University (Washington, DC)
Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
Boston University (Boston, MA)
Nursing Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)
Emory University (Atlanta, GA)
Rush University (Chicago, IL)
University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Fine Arts Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore, MD)
Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
Science California Institute of Technology (Valencia, CA)
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
Yale University (New Haven, CT)
Social Science/Humanities Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
Columbia University (New York, NY)
Yale University (New Haven, CT)

Largest Private Graduate Schools in the United States

Institutions with large student populations may be able to provide a broader array of academic and extracurricular enrichment opportunities for graduate students. These are the five largest private graduate schools in the United States:

  • Excelsior College (43,123 students)
  • Brigham Young University (33,469 students)
  • Boston University (32,158 students)
  • Harvard University (29,652 students)
  • Columbia University (28,086 students)

Lowest Average Graduate Tuition

Affording graduate school is a significant issue for many students, and private institutions are sometimes more expensive than their public counterparts. Therefore, it is important to consider the average cost of tuition. According to NCES statistics for the 2015-2016 academic year, these five non-specialty, private universities were among the most affordable:

  • Caribbean University ($3,570 per year)
  • Western Governors University ($6,500 per year)
  • Columbia College ($6,593 per year)
  • Bellevue University ($9,450 per year)
  • Amridge University ($12,870 per year)

Highest Graduation Rate

The NCES reports the graduation rate at an institution as the percentage of full-time undergraduate students who complete their programs within 150% of the expected time. Although this figure does not include graduate students, it can provide insight into the academic quality of on institutions. Based on NCES data for students who started their programs in fall 2009, four out of the five non-specialty graduate schools with the highest graduation rates were Ivy League Institutions:

  • Harvard University (98%)
  • Brown University (96%)
  • Columbia University (95%)
  • Duke University (95%)
  • Dartmouth College (94%)

For students who want to pursue graduate education at a privately-funded institution, there are top-ranked schools offering programs in a variety of subjects. Statistics on size, cost and graduation rate can help students find a school that meets their needs.

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