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The Most Competitive Graduate Programs in the Country


The Most Competitive Graduate Programs in the Country

In the US, the best graduate schools are very competitive and tend to admit only the cream of the crop. Usually, these institutions only get the cream of the crop, so they have a very small graduate student population. Still, many students want to apply to these institutions because they believe they will get the best kind of instruction there is for their chosen field.


In 2008, the University of Washington was commended for its excellent nursing program. At rank three, The University of Pennsylvania, another competitive graduate institution, has an acceptance rate of 21%. And in the case of Washington University, acceptance rate is at 67%.


Graduate degrees are very specialized. One of the most specialized graduate programs is in the area of education. Advanced education degrees focus on different aspects of education such as educational theories, educational administration, and educational psychology. As of 2008, the Teacher’s College of Columbia University has the most competitive teacher’s program. Its acceptance rate is only about 48%.

Social science

The Social sciences are broad by convention therefore varying universities excel for a particular graduate program. However, some top-ranking universities are noted for their very selective admission standards. For example, Stanford tops the Psychology program and holds an acceptance record of 11%. Harvard, which also has one of the country’s most competitive political science program, presents a lower acceptance rate at 9%.

Engineering and the natural sciences

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers some of the country’s best graduate programs, so MIT receives hundreds of applications every year. To maintain a low student-teacher ratio, MIT overall acceptance rate is only 14%, which ranks it as the most difficult university to enter with respect to the fields of engineering and the natural sciences. To ensure that it only gets students who are capable of coping with the rigorous academic demands of its programs, MIT looks for applicants with SAT math scores above 700.


According to experts in the field, Harvard University has one of the best graduate programs in English. Yale offers the best History program according to a huge number of respondents. Princeton, the University of California – Berkeley, and Stanford also have competitive graduate programs in the Humanities.