Top 5 Graduate Programs in the Nation

By Joseph Guibert , last updated December 22, 2011

After four years of cramming for exams and spending countless late nights in the library, students with undergraduate degrees are looking for nothing but the best as they continue on in their educational careers, and that’s just what they’ll get with the top five graduate programs in the nation. While on the path to higher education, many students and aspiring professionals will amass a large amount of student loan debt, so the decision as to where one should study and pursue that long-desired Master’s or PhD Degree is one that should should involve a great deal of thought and consideration. With this list of the nation’s top five graduate programs, young minds can trust in their final choice of where they choose to study.

Stanford University

Topping most ranking charts in the top spots for its business, law, and engineering programs, to name only a few, Stanford University should be at the top of any high-achieving graduate school hopeful. Founded in 1885, this California private university boasts a graduate student population larger than its undergrad, with more than 8,000 academics enrolled. The institution offers more than 125 different possible programs and specializations at the graduate level, 80 percent of which all rank within the top ten in their respective fields for graduate programs in the nation.

Harvard University

Harvard University, founded in 1782, is one of the most prestigious graduate schools in the United States. While tuition and fees for graduate programs at this exclusive school can be quite high, Harvard continues to attract top talent from around the globe. Specifically, the university, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, scores top marks for its graduate programs in education, law, and medical research, with dozens of other programs also coming in within the top ten in their respective fields.

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania, founded by Ben Franklin in 1740, is located in Philadelphia and boasts a graduate student population of just over 10,000. Its specific program strengths include business, law, and medical research. The school also offers several dual-degree graduate programs, but is perhaps most well known for its world-renowned Wharton School of Business.

Yale University

Most recognized for its top-ranked graduate law program, Yale University offers several other high level programs. Founded in 1701, the school offers nationally recognized graduate programs in a number of areas ranging from business and economics to sciences and medicine. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, the school currently has approximately 6,000 graduate students.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

With almost half of its 6,000 graduate students studying engineering, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is internationally recognized as the number one school in the field of engineering. However, the institution is also ranked in the top three for its chemistry, biology, business, computer science, earth science, economics, math, and physics programs.

While this list of the top five graduate programs includes the crème de la crème of higher education, it is not necessarily the end-all, be-all of post graduate studies. There are more select schools that also regularly achieve high rankings for specific programs. However, this list contains the elite few higher educational institutions that boast the most number of top ranked programs overall.

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