Graduate degrees are planned by almost 1 million people this school year, and for many of those people it will be worth the late nights of studying and the investments made in time and money.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, adult workers with full-time, year-round jobs and a Master's degree earned on average $88,477 in 2012: just over $18,000 more than the average worker with a Bachelor's degree. Workers with professional degrees, such as lawyers and doctors, made almost $89,000 more on average than those with Bachelor's degrees.
What to study and how much to pay can vary depending on a prospective student's career interests, finances and location. Prospective graduate students can look to the Best US Graduate Schools rankings, released by U.S. News to find the right programme for them.
The 2017 edition of the rankings includes admissions information for those aspiring to study law, business, medicine, education, engineering and nursing. Graduate schools in the six disciplines are evaluated on criteria such as grade-point averages of incoming students, acceptance rates and employment outcomes of graduates. The rankings methodology varies across disciplines to account for differences in each graduate programme. The nursing school rankings, for example, take into account the percentage of faculty members still actively working in hospitals and other medical settings, while business schools are evaluated in part on how corporate recruiters rate MBA programmes.
Harvard Business School landed at No. 1 for MBA programmes, taking over the spot from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, which tied for second with the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. Yale University's School of Management climbed five spots from last year's rankings to crack the top 10, tying for eighth place.
Another school that made a big jump was the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, which moved up eight places – from tying for No. 33 to tying for No. 25.
As for the part-time programmes, the Haas School of Business at the University of California—Berkeley was once again ranked No. 1, followed by the Booth School of Business, with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University at No. 3. The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University made a great jump from No. 12 to No. 6.
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The top schools were unchanged in the law rankings, with Yale Law School at No. 1. Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School tied for No. 2, just as last year. However, Duke University and the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor traded places, with Michigan moving up to a tie for No. 8 and Duke dropping to No. 11.
Further down the list, Boston University moved up six spots, from a tie at No. 26 to a tie at No. 20.
The University of Houston jumped into the top 10, where it tied with three other schools for No. 6. Last year, it was tied at No. 11. Marquette University fell to No. 42 after tying for No. 17 in last year's rankings.
It is no surprise that The Massachusetts Institute of Technology placed first in the rankings of graduate engineering programmes, while Stanford and Berkeley came in at second and third – the same ranks each school occupied last year. Harvard fell four spots from No. 20 to No. 24, where it tied with two other schools.
Check out the full report and rankings at U.S. News