The 5 Best Education Graduate Programs

By Jill Gardiner , last updated December 25, 2011

If you’re looking to take your teaching career to the next level, you might be interested in attending one of the five best education graduate programs in the country. Education is one of those fields that has a tremendous impact on the world at large; by positively affecting even just a few students, the ripple effect in virtually every other field can be astounding. An infinitely challenging and rewarding career, educators are responsible for helping students reach their full potential, but to whom do the best educators turn when they’re looking to reach their own? These top graduate programs will give you the skills and knowledge you’ll need to make a major contribution to the field of education, whether you choose to teach in a classroom, work to improve policy, or pursue research into new and more effective educational approaches.


The Teachers College affiliated with Columbia University in New York City offers a wide variety of education related master’s degree programs in concentrations such as teacher education, counseling, education policy, and health and behavioral studies. Listed in the top five education graduate schools by US News & World Report, the Teachers College also offers numerous doctoral programs. For educators who are currently working, intensive summer programs allow you to pursue your graduate degree over a few years without taking time off. Those interested in education research programs might be interested to know the school receives upwards of $30 million in research and training funding.


One of the most prestigious schools in the world, it should come as no surprise that Massachusetts’ Harvard University is listed in the top-three graduate education programs by US News & World Report. As with many of their programs, the focus is on real-world, practical learning that will prepare educators to make a real difference in their field, whether it’s through Harvard’s research facility, the Center on the Developing Child, their online teacher education programs, or through their reform-conscious WIDE World program. Students can also take classes at Harvard’s other top-notch graduate schools as well.


Also in US News & World Report’s top five, Stanford University’s Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) takes a broad, all-inclusive approach to education. Focus includes school, home, community, and even cultural or religious factors, then allows students to apply their knowledge in the real world by getting involved in the university-run charter school, East Palo Alto Academy, or the Stanford Haas Center for Public Service. Students can also take classes at Stanford’s esteemed Graduate School of Business and Law School.

University of Texas – Austin

UT-Austin’s College of Education, ranked in US News & World Report’s top three, places a lot of emphasis on research. One of the highest levels of funding in the country and the opportunity to get involved in projects like studying high school restructuring and the Stupski project, which focuses on closing education gaps, make this school an excellent choice for those who want to be on the cutting edge of education.


Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbuilt University is US News & World Report’s number one ranked graduate education program. Offering a hands-on approach in more than 15 areas of specialization, students will also have access to numerous on-campus research facilities as well as the federally funded National Center on School Choice and the National Center on Performance Initiatives.

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