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2023 Best Grad Schools in the United States for Doctorate Degrees

There are lots of options to choose from today when trying to decide which grad school to attend. College Factual was founded, in part, to help students make the decision as to what would be the best school for them. Our Best Doctor's Degree Colleges ranking is part of that endeavor.

What's on This Page: * Our Methodology

Choosing the Best Grad School for You

Quality Badge

After analyzing 676 grad schools in the United States, we came up with our list of those that offered the best doctorate degree programs. Our ranking for the best grad schools is based on objective factors. We steer clear of subjective measures since they don't give a clear picture when determining how one school compares to another. The following gives more info on what goes into our ranking factors and why we consider those factors.

Higher Than Average Earnings

To determine the overall quality of a graduate school, one factor we look at is the average early-career salary of those receiving a doctorate degree from the school. Recent students who earned a doctorate degree in the United States entered the job market making an average of $75,260 while those in the top 21 schools on our list made an average of $93,624.

Starting Salary  ( 71481 to 114452 )
$0
$163,986

Taking Out Student Loans

Graduate students may also take on a lot of debt while working on their doctorate so we factor that into our rankings as well. The average amount taken out in student loans for graduates at a particular school may be crippling for those who earn less than average wages after graduation.

More Ranking Factors That Are Important

We also analyze a number of other factors in addition to average post-graduation earnings and average student debt when coming up with our yearly Best Doctorate Degree Schools ranking. On a broad level, other factors that go into our rankings include such things as the demand of the school, the student body caliber, if the school has online options, and the educational resources provided by the school.

We go into more detail on these factors on our graduate school ranking methodology page.

One Size Does Not Fit All

If you'd rather work on your doctorate degree in a specific area of the country, you might be interested in our rankings by place. Also, you may want to check out our other college rankings.

Not quite ready to work on your doctorate? Check out our Best Master's Degree Schools ranking.

Top Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States

Learn more about these excellent grad schools below:

#1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts
568 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$115,303 Average Early-Career Earnings

Massachusetts Institute of Technology tops this year’s ranking as the best grad school for doctorate degrees in the United States for overall quality. MIT is a private not-for-profit institution located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 568 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Those who receive a doctorate degree from MIT go into careers with an average salary of $115,303 during the early years of their career.

Full Massachusetts Institute of Technology Report

#2

Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia
1,014 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$105,462 Average Early-Career Earnings

The excellent doctorate degree programs at Georgetown University helped the school earn the #2 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in the United States. Georgetown is located in Washington, District of Columbia and has a large student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 1,014 doctorate degrees to qualified graduate students.

Graduates with a doctorate degree from Georgetown make an average of $105,462 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Georgetown University

#3

Stanford University

Stanford, California
1,105 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$98,295 Average Early-Career Earnings

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Stanford University. It ranked #3 on our 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Stanford, California. It awarded 1,105 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from Stanford make an average of $98,295 a year.

Full Stanford University Report

#4

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
333 Doctorate Degrees Awarded

Out of the 676 doctorate degree schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Carnegie Mellon University landed the #4 spot on the list. Carnegie Mellon is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has a fairly large student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 333 doctorate degrees to qualified graduate students.

Learn More About Carnegie Mellon University

#5

Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey
293 Doctorate Degrees Awarded

Out of the 676 doctorate degree schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Princeton University landed the #5 spot on the list. This medium-sized private not-for-profit school is located in Princeton, New Jersey, and it awarded 293 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Full Princeton University Report

#6

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1,254 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$97,555 Average Early-Career Earnings

University of Pennsylvania ranked #6 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the large private not-for-profit school handed out 1,254 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Upon graduation, doctorate degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $97,555 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on University of Pennsylvania

#7

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts
1,444 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$95,158 Average Early-Career Earnings

Harvard University did quite well in the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #7. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the large private not-for-profit school handed out 1,444 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from Harvard make an average of $95,158 a year.

Learn More About Harvard University

#8

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois
1,028 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$93,954 Average Early-Career Earnings

Northwestern University ranked #8 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Located in Evanston, Illinois, the large private not-for-profit school awarded 1,028 diplomas to qualifed doctorate degree students in 2020-2021.

Upon graduation, doctorate degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $93,954 during the early years of their career.

Learn More About Northwestern University

#9

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina
949 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$92,967 Average Early-Career Earnings

Duke University ranked #9 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Duke University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in Durham, North Carolina that handed out 949 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Those who receive a doctorate degree from Duke go into careers with an average salary of $92,967 during the early years of their career.

Learn More About Duke University

#10

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois
755 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$96,200 Average Early-Career Earnings

University of Chicago ranked #10 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Located in Chicago, Illinois, the fairly large private not-for-profit school handed out 755 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Upon graduation, doctorate degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $96,200 during the early years of their career.

Full University of Chicago Report

#11

Rice University

Houston, Texas
207 Doctorate Degrees Awarded

With a ranking of #11, Rice University did quite well on the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Rice is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school situated in Houston, Texas. It awarded 207 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Read full report on Rice University

#12

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley, California
1,187 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$88,876 Average Early-Career Earnings

With a ranking of #12, University of California - Berkeley did quite well on the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Located in Berkeley, California, the large public school awarded 1,187 diplomas to qualifed doctorate degree students in 2020-2021.

The average salary of a graduate with a doctorate degree from UC Berkeley is $88,876 during the early years of their career.

Full University of California - Berkeley Report

#13

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York
777 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$107,405 Average Early-Career Earnings

Cornell University ranked #13 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. This large private not-for-profit school is located in Ithaca, New York, and it awarded 777 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

The average salary of a graduate with a doctorate degree from Cornell is $107,405 during the early years of their career.

Full Cornell University Report

#14

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California
1,914 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$87,196 Average Early-Career Earnings

University of Southern California landed the #14 spot on the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. Located in Los Angeles, California, the large private not-for-profit school awarded 1,914 diplomas to qualifed doctorate degree students in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from USC make an average of $87,196 a year.

Read full report on University of Southern California

#15

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland
726 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$76,111 Average Early-Career Earnings

Johns Hopkins University did quite well in the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #15. Johns Hopkins is a private not-for-profit institution located in Baltimore, Maryland. The school has a large population, and it awarded 726 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from Johns Hopkins make an average of $76,111 a year.

Full Johns Hopkins University Report

#16

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut
742 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$91,187 Average Early-Career Earnings

With a ranking of #16, Yale University did quite well on the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, the fairly large private not-for-profit school handed out 742 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Those who receive a doctorate degree from Yale go into careers with an average salary of $91,187 during the early years of their career.

Full Yale University Report

#17

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee
787 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$91,182 Average Early-Career Earnings

Vanderbilt University ranked #17 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Nashville, Tennessee. It awarded 787 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

The average salary of a graduate with a doctorate degree from Vanderbilt is $91,182 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Vanderbilt University

#18

Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island
293 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$60,843 Average Early-Career Earnings

Brown University ranked #18 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. Brown is a private not-for-profit institution located in Providence, Rhode Island. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 293 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Those who receive a doctorate degree from Brown go into careers with an average salary of $60,843 during the early years of their career.

Full Brown University Report

1,502 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$102,938 Average Early-Career Earnings

With a ranking of #19, Columbia University in the City of New York did quite well on the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. This large private not-for-profit school is located in New York, New York, and it awarded 1,502 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Upon graduation, doctorate degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $102,938 during the early years of their career.

Learn More About Columbia University in the City of New York

577 Doctorate Degrees Awarded

Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus did quite well in the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #20. Georgia Tech is a large public school situated in Atlanta, Georgia. It awarded 577 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

Read full report on Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus

#21

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana
422 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$78,016 Average Early-Career Earnings

University of Notre Dame landed the #21 spot on the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. Notre Dame is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Notre Dame, Indiana. It awarded 422 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from Notre Dame make an average of $78,016 a year.

Full University of Notre Dame Report

#22

Dartmouth College

Hanover, New Hampshire
174 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$58,996 Average Early-Career Earnings

Dartmouth College came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking. Dartmouth College is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in Hanover, New Hampshire that handed out 174 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from Dartmouth make an average of $58,996 a year.

Read full report on Dartmouth College

#23

Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, Missouri
742 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$72,507 Average Early-Career Earnings

Washington University in St Louis ranked #23 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. WUSTL is located in Saint Louis, Missouri and has a fairly large student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 742 doctorate degrees to qualified graduate students.

The average salary of a graduate with a doctorate degree from WUSTL is $72,507 during the early years of their career.

Full Washington University in St Louis Report

#24

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan
1,562 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$91,977 Average Early-Career Earnings

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor ranked #24 on this year’s Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States list. U-M is a public institution located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The school has a large population, and it awarded 1,562 doctorate degrees in 2020-2021.

The average salary of a graduate with a doctorate degree from U-M is $91,977 during the early years of their career.

Full University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Report

#25

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, Texas
132 Doctorate Degrees Awarded
$163,986 Average Early-Career Earnings

Texas Christian University did quite well in the 2023 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States ranking, coming in at #25. TCU is located in Fort Worth, Texas and has a fairly large student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 132 doctorate degrees to qualified graduate students.

During the early years of their career, doctorate degree graduates from TCU make an average of $163,986 a year.

Read full report on Texas Christian University

Rest of the Top 50 Best Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States

Not only did these schools make the top 50 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#26

New York University

New York, New York
#27

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, Indiana
#28

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California
#29

The Master's University and Seminary

Santa Clarita, California
#31

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
#32

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia
#33

University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, Maryland

#36

Fielding Graduate University

Santa Barbara, California
#37

Tufts University

Medford, Massachusetts
#38

University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California
#39

Boston University

Boston, Massachusetts
#41

University of Rochester

Rochester, New York
#42

Colorado School of Mines

Golden, Colorado

#44

The Graduate Center, CUNY

New York, New York

#45

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia
#46

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, New York
#48

Fairfield University

Fairfield, Connecticut
#49

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida
#50

Emory University

Atlanta, Georgia

Rest of the Top 15% Doctorate Degree Schools in the United States

To learn more about the schools below, just click on their names:

Rank College Location
51 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
52 Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA
53 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
54 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
55 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
56 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
57 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
58 George Washington University Washington, DC
59 Claremont Graduate University Claremont, CA
60 Arcadia University Glenside, PA
61 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
62 Biola University La Mirada, CA
63 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA
64 Drew University Madison, NJ
65 Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ
Rank College Location
66 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
67 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
68 Auburn University Auburn, AL
69 University of Delaware Newark, DE
70 University of Puget Sound Tacoma, WA
71 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
72 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
73 The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth, MN
74 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
75 University of Denver Denver, CO
76 National American University - Rapid City Rapid City, SD
77 Pacific University Forest Grove, OR
78 Samford University Birmingham, AL
79 University of Georgia Athens, GA
80 Alliant International University San Diego, CA
81 Fordham University Bronx, NY
82 Creighton University Omaha, NE
83 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
84 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
85 Grace College and Theological Seminary Winona Lake, IN
86 Mount Marty University Yankton, SD
87 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
88 Clemson University Clemson, SC
89 Missouri University of Science and Technology Rolla, MO
90 Gannon University Erie, PA
Rank College Location
91 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
92 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
93 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
94 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
95 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
96 Saint Joseph’s University Philadelphia, PA
97 Shenandoah University Winchester, VA
98 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
99 Belmont University Nashville, TN
100 Loyola University Maryland Baltimore, MD
101 Baylor University Waco, TX
102 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Doctorate Degree Schools ranking:

Rank College Location
103 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
104 Capella University Minneapolis, MN
105 Saint Ambrose University Davenport, IA
106 Wheaton College Illinois Wheaton, IL
107 Concordia University, Chicago River Forest, IL
108 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
109 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
110 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
111 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
112 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
113 SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Syracuse, NY
114 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
115 Clark University Worcester, MA
116 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
117 Miami University - Oxford Oxford, OH
Rank College Location
118 Suffolk University Boston, MA
119 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
120 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
121 New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ
122 Northcentral University San Diego, CA
123 National Louis University Chicago, IL
124 Sacred Heart University Fairfield, CT
125 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
126 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
127 Carroll University Waukesha, WI
128 Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA
129 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
130 American University Washington, DC
131 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse La Crosse, WI
132 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN
133 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
134 Northeastern University Boston, MA
135 Walden University Minneapolis, MN
136 University of the Pacific Stockton, CA

More Rankings >

Notes and References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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