Georgetown, UVa, Johns Hopkins among local schools with best grad programs

U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings of the best graduate schools in the country has good news for some of the area’s schools, and for those thinking of going to graduate school in general.

Johns Hopkins, Georgetown and the University of Virginia are a few of the area universities that did well in the rankings, said Anita Narayan, the managing editor for education at U.S. News.

“What we’re trying to do is allow consumers to see where they might rise to the top of the applicant pool,” she told WTOP, “and which schools are viewed highly by job recruiters.”

A Bureau of Labor Statistics report cited by U.S. News predicted that employment in master’s degree-level jobs would rise 17 percent between 2016 and 2026, while jobs in professions requiring a doctorate or a professional degree (such as a J.D., M.D. or MBA) would go up 13 percent. The bureau also showed in 2017 that the median earnings of a worker with a professional degree were more than $600 a week more than someone with just a bachelor’s.

The U.S. News rankings were compiled by collecting data on student and staff assessments; employment and salary prospects for students; faculty education levels and membership in professional organizations; research funding, and more. You can check out all their lists, along with a full explanation of their methodology.

“These rankings are just a start; they’re not an answer,” Narayan said. “We encourage prospective graduate students to use the rankings as a jumping-off point to create an initial list of schools. … “Graduate school is a great investment, but it’s a big investment. So make sure you’re doing your homework.”

Here’s a look at some of the categories, with emphasis on local schools:

Law schools

There wasn’t a lot of change at the top of the national rankings for top full-time law schools — the top seven remained the same, with Yale at No. 1. The University of Virginia came in eighth.

Among part-time law programs, the Georgetown University Law Center ranked as the top part-time law school in the country in the U.S. News list, with George Washington University in second — both the same as last year. The Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland and George Mason’s Scalia school tied for fourth.

MBA programs

Nationally, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania took the top spot for the first time, with Stanford jumping to No. 2 and Harvard dropping to No. 3 after three years at the top.

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of business tied for 12th among full-time MBA programs, while Georgetown’s McDonough School placed 24th and George Washington University 61st.

Among part-time MBA programs, Georgetown tied for 12th, while Virginia Tech’s Pamplin School tied for 14th and George Mason tied for 32nd.


Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, tied for seventh-best among the education programs ranked by US News, while Virginia Commonwealth University placed 20th and the University of Maryland-College Park placed 33rd. William and Mary, in Virginia, tied for 39th. George Washington University tied for 61st. Catholic University and Howard University, both in D.C., and Virginia Tech were part of a large tie for 93rd.


Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering tied for 17th among engineering schools, with the University of Maryland-College Park’s Clark school tying for 22nd. George Washington University tied for 75th.

Assessments, student selectivity, doctoral degrees awarded, faculty membership in the National Academy of Engineering, research expenditures.


Johns Hopkins took the top spot among nursing programs and retained its No. 1 ranking among public health programs. George Washington University scored highly among the health sciences generally, placing 12th in the health care management programs as well as public health programs; their physician assistant program placed fifth while their rehabilitation counseling program placed third.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

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