Graduate Schools & Programs in Washington, DC

Head to the east coast to earn a Masters or PhD at one of the Graduate Schools in Washington, DC! Washington, D.C., or more formally, the District of Columbia, is commonly known as "Washington", "the District", or simply "D.C." While its status as the nation’s capital often steals the limelight, DC is also vibrant, eclectic and fun to discover with or without the politics.

Why Consider DC Area Universities?

Founded in 1791, DC is home to three branches of government, iconic national monuments, museums, foreign embassies, lobbying groups and more.

Named in honor of the first President, George Washington, the city was carefully planned by a French-born architect and city planner named Pierre Charles L’Enfant. Its initial design featured broad streets and avenues reminiscent of Paris, Amsterdam, and Milan.

Even as the city has grown, Washington’s skyline is kept low by law in order to maintain a sense of open space and keep monuments visible. The Washington Monument is the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing at 554 feet.i

Today, DC is one of the 15 cities with the largest increases in population in the United States. It gained over 10,000 people between 2015 and 2016 alone, and the total head count is still climbing.ii Population estimates are above 693,000 which means an extra 12,000-plus since the initial Census report.iii

Data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also indicates that the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. Metropolitan Division, with 82 percent of the area’s employment, gained 37,000 jobs from 2016 to 2017. The largest gains were in professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality.iv

Explore DC Neighborhoods

The District is actually made up of four quadrants: Northwest (NW), Northeast (NE), Southeast (SE), and Southwest (SW). The axes that bound these quadrants radiate from the U.S. Capitol Building, and most streets follow a grid. East to west streets tend to be named with letters. North to south streets, with numbers.

One could find history and power plays on Capitol Hill, high-end boutiques in Georgetown, performing arts in Penn Quarter, or dining and nightlife in Adams Morgan.

The extensive transit system includes the commuter rail system, which is called the Metro, and the Metrobus. Residents report an average commute of about 30 minutes. iii Maryland's MARC and Virginia's VRE commuter trains and the Metrorail Red Line also provide service into DC’s Union Station, where Amtrak also operates service. Plus, DC has a bike share if you aren’t interested in mass transit.

The Washington National Cathedral is adorned with hundreds of "grotesques" or gargoyles—one of which is in the shape of Darth Vadar from Star Wars.v

Adams Morgan: A culturally diverse neighborhood with a lively nightlife scene, as well as many bars and restaurants along the 18th Street corridor. You could also find trendy clothing, yoga and fitness studios, sidewalk cafes and art galleries. Get there the second Sunday in September for the annual Adams Morgan Day for live music, eats and other offerings.

Dupont Circle: With a prime location in the NW quadrant, Dupont Circle is filled with its own restaurants and nightlife. A LGBTQ haven, it hosts the annual Pride Parade.

Downtown: Bustles as a center for business, restaurants, shopping and nightlife. A walkable neighborhood that is close to Penn Quarter.

Penn Quarter: Hipster and home to Capital One Arena which hosts everything from professional sports teams to American rock icons.

Anacostia: One of Washington DC’s earliest suburbs, there are some serene places for hikers, walkers and cyclists. It is also a great place to visit – check out Cedar Hill. It is home of Frederick Douglass and now an historic site run by the National Park Service.

Brookland: Where you could find other students, green space, lively arts and tree-lined streets filled with both older homes and retro storefronts. Locals call it “Little Rome” as it is home to the Catholic University of America (since 1887).

Capitol Hill: Home to the Library of Congress, Supreme Court, U.S. Capitol, House and Senate, you could also find 19th and 20th -century row houses, historic Eastern Market, and a vibrant dining and nightlife scene.

Capitol Riverfront: Just south of the US Capitol, this emerging neighborhood is home to major league baseball’s Washington Nationals. It also has a dynamic commercial wharf and draws sports fans, nature lovers and foodies.  

Columbia Heights: A leafy and densely populated neighborhood with homey restaurants and bars, and lots of Capitol bike-share stations. It's diverse architecture includes row houses, 19th-century homes, and historic buildings.

The U-Street Corridor: One of DC’s oldest neighborhoods and site of businesses, theaters and row homes since the 19th-century. Hip, up-and-coming meets African-American history. Lots of shops, busy cafes and some sizzle at night. 

Georgetown: A mix of cobblestones, historic charm and tree-lined streets, here you could find upscale boutiques, quick bites, dining and nightlife. Or kayak, jog and cycle at Waterfront Park.

H Street NE: A bubbly one-and-a-half mile stretch in Northeast DC. Known for its nightlife, restaurants, pop-ups, festivals and communal atmosphere.

Chevy Chase: Chevy Chase, Md., which includes the bordering area of Chevy Chase, D.C., inside District lines, offers suburban tranquility, adjacent to the city.

The Southwest Waterfront: Close-knit community and the most historic area of the city. Lots of people live on their boats all year and there has been recent Wharf development. You might catch an outdoor movie in summer or watch the Parade of Lighted Boats in December.

Cool Things to Do in Washington, DC

Cherry blossoms aside, Washington, DC has lots to offer in terms of art, architecture, culture and cuisine. Here are seven things you might want to add to your bucket list.

  1. Oral arguments in the Supreme Court are open to the public (arrive early)
  2. Take a tour of the Pentagon (plan ahead)
  3. Check out a Smithsonian museum (there’s free entry!)
  4. For a fix of history and heritage, get to the National Mall
  5. Feeling epicurean? Head to NoMA to check out Union Market
  6. Catch an outdoor concert
  7. Go on a van-driven beer crawl to check out the local scene

Explore the DC Food Scene

Every city has iconic foods and Washington DC is no exception. One of DC’s signature dishes is called a half-smoke. It is a sausage, generally smoked before it’s grilled, then sauced and spiced up on a soft white bun with onions, cheese and chili.

DC is known for its Ethiopian food (since it is home to near 300.000 Ethiopians); head for the U Street Corridor to try some. June through September traditionalists head for Chesapeake blue crab—get it steamed or broiled in a crab cake.

Stay Active in DC

Year-round temperatures could be moderate, but in winter, you could lace up your skates and head to one of the many outdoor rinks. Top of the Skate in the Watergate Hotel has 360-degree views of the city skyline and nearby Arlington, Va. Plus you can warm up with spiked cider.

Spring and fall are mild to warm, and there are plenty of places to walk, jog, bike, roller blade, golf, play tennis and hike. Rock Creek Park is a go-to oasis in the midst of urban bustle. Cycle on the Mount Vernon Trail or the C&O Canal.

List of Graduate Schools in Washington, DC

There is an extensive list of Graduate Schools in Washington, DC one might consider.

Review some of the partner schools below and make sure to scroll through the many others.

There are many graduate programs in Washington DC to choose from. Take a look at some examples from partner schools below, then conduct your own extensive search.

Finance Masters Programs in DC

Take your knowledge of capital gains up a notch as you study to earn a Master of Science in Finance (MSF) in DC. One such program is Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program which is available in a blended format.

Students typically work through their course material online when convenient. Each course unit culminates in a MSF Live evening session (online or onsite) where students take part in a case study discussion with their professor and classmates.

Coursework stacks compulsory topics such as financial markets, financial accounting and corporate finance with advanced courses in risk management and investments. Students could choose several electives like big data, private equity and financial modeling. Residency periods and a final project round out this curriculum.

MBA Programs in DC

Compare the MSF with an MBA. Flexible MBA students at Johns Hopkins, DC Campus might study to advance overall business and management skills. Plus, Flexible MBA emphases are offered in areas such as Financial Businesses, Health Care Management, and Leading Organizations. They are offered both in-person and online.

MLS Programs in DC

Earn a Master of Legal Studies in the nation’s capital. Washington University Law offers a MLS program that is tailored to non-lawyer professionals. Students take a wide array of courses to generate a deeper grasp of the legal system. Students usually complete the MLS degree in as few as two semesters full-time or eight semesters part-time. 

Nurse Midwifery Programs in DC

Pursue your interest in women’s health through a Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP) program in DC.

Students could look into this type of program at Georgetown where it could be earned on a part-time basis. Onsite students might take part in faculty-led instruction and practice through simulation at the O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center within the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

A NM/WHNP program could prepare RNs to manage a woman’s normal obstetrical and gynecological needs during the childbearing years. Students could also learn to manage the care of the normal newborn, and provide primary care to women at all stages of the life cycle.

Graduates of the NM/WHNP program may be eligible to become dually certified as Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners (WHNPs) without any extra coursework.

After successful completion of the program, graduates could also be eligible to sit for the midwifery exam offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) and the WHNP exam offered by National Certification Corporation (NCC) to become Board Certified (BC).

MPA Programs in DC

Students drawn to study public affairs in DC might look closely at a Master of Public Administration & Policy (MPAP) program. A MPAP degree program could help students fine-tune their critical analysis skills in tandem with a deeper grasp of how to craft policy.

MPAP students at American University are centrally located in the midst of the nation's political, cultural, and media capital. A broad curriculum might offer courses in areas such as policy analysis, economics, legal, budget and financial management.

Other courses might tackle issues such as how to manage people and projects. Research and quantitative methods classes usually help students prepare for a final project. 

American University offers a Master of Science in Terrorism & Homeland Security Policy through the School of Public Affairs. Students in this MS in Homeland Security program could take courses in criminology, law, and public policy.

Choose a Graduate School in Washington, DC

Excited to find other graduate programs in Washington DC? Use the menu on this page to select degree level (Masters, Doctorate, Certificate), subject and program format (online or on-campus). Get matched for free to available programs!

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