There are rankings of US universities and colleges:

  1. overall,
  2. for undergrad programs,
  3. and for doctoral programs

But, I find nothing for rankings of Masters programs in specific subjects (like physics, math, etc).

Does my observation ring true with others, and if so, why is this? It would seem curious to me if undergrad and PhD programs were ranked but Masters were not.

Thank you, Matt


I'd say, generally, rankings are often fickle beasts, so don't put too much faith in any specific one you come across. Depending on the publisher, ordering rules, etc, you may get very different rankings for each school. To your specific question though, it's a fair bet to lump Masters programs in with their respective doctoral program, at least if you're looking for some prestige comparison.

That being said, particular Masters programs can be better than others in certain aspects (like affordability, access to research, focus on industry, etc) that may run counter to the institution's prestige ranking. For those things, it's best to research institutions within your specific field rather than look for some published blanket rankings anyway.

As to why there is no blanket Masters ranking, it is likely related to what I mentioned above: Masters programs are often geared toward students with specific goals in mind. Undergrad and doctoral programs are each generally focused on well-defined tasks, providing a foundation and establishing research competency, respectively, and thus perhaps easier (more valid) to compare. In obtaining Masters degrees, students' goals can run the gamut of possibilities. Some people are looking for career advancement (e.g. MBA, MEng, etc), others are looking to make a pivot in their field, and still others are looking for something else. It's tough to compare these programs because, with all the variables, you're really comparing apples and oranges.

| improve this answer | |
  • Actually (as I stated), I am looking for Master's rankings that are discipline specific (not a "blanket rating"). – – Matt Brenneman Sep 6 '15 at 1:04
  • @MattBrenneman -- I realize that. By "blanket rating" I am referring to what I'd also called a "prestige comparison." That can be within a single discipline or across all offered. – marcman Sep 6 '15 at 5:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.