The Big Easy is a city known for its relaxed pace, great jazz, and rich history. We’ve put together an extensive list of NOLA graduate programs worth checking out, along with a guide to living and learning in this amazing city.
To get the basics out of the way: New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana and is located in the southeast part of the state on the delta of the Mississippi River. At one point or another, New Orleans has belonged to Spain, France, and, of course, the United States.
African American cultural contributions are key to the city’s identity. You’ll experience aspects of these and other cultures as you go about the grad student’s life in NOLA.
As of a 2016 estimate, New Orleans had a population of 391,495. 36.2% of the population has a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and the median household income is $37, 488.
If you’re fleeing cold weather to study here, you’ll be happy to discover that New Orleans enjoys very mild winter weather. From October through March, the average daily temperature is a comfy 60 °F. Though summers can be quite hot, the thermometer rarely exceeds 95 °F.
Start your search by browsing some popular programs from our partner schools in New Orleans.
New Orleans, or Nouvelle-Orléans, was founded in 1717 by John Law’s Company of the West.
The city you pick for grad school is more than just a base for your studies. Students choosing one of New Orleans’ many colleges and universities might just discover a whole new way of life here. Here are a few of the wonderful things about New Orleans, ranging from the educational to the just plain fun:
New Orleans BioDistrict – This 1,500-acre area is home base for several hospitals, a cancer research institute, and biosciences entities. It’s a place where scientists work to improve healthcare locally and around the world. And, if you plan to study health or medicine graduate programs in New Orleans, it’s a hub you should know about!
Music – Whether you’re studying music in New Orleans or you’re a more casual fan, this city is the place to be for everything from old-school jazz to Cajun music. You’ll also find opera, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and plenty of other musical traditions to experience.
Festivals – Of course, New Orleans is known for Mardi Gras, a spectacular festival heralding the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent (usually fall from February to March). But the city also hosts over 130 other cultural festivals. These range from film, literary, and theatre festivals to celebrations based around food and drink. JazzFest is also a popular time of year (falls April to May).
Food – Signature menu items include beignets (a donut-like sugary treat), po-boys, and Creole and Cajun food such as gumbo or red beans and rice. However, you can eat pretty much anything in New Orleans, at both upscale restaurants and hole-in-the-wall finds.
Diversity – New Orleans has a rich history of celebrating diverse identities. The city has a particularly vibrant LGBTQ scene. And, you’ll hopefully find plenty of opportunities to celebrate what makes you unique during your grad school experience.
Educational Opportunities – Southeast Louisiana is home to many diverse and excellent colleges and universities. Many of them may even partner with New Orleans businesses and nonprofits in order to help students connect what they’re learning to the larger community.
If you’re pursuing an MBA in New Orleans or you’re just interested in the local business scene, you should know about what makes New Orleans’ economy tick. Starting with its port: 5,000 oceangoing vessels dock here each year. The city is also the lighter aboard ship (LASH) cargo and Seabee barge capital of the world, transporting mostly grain, coal, and feed for animals
New Orleans’ manufacturing industry is also a significant part of the economy, with petroleum, petrochemical, shipbuilding, and aerospace industries playing a large role as well. And of course, the tourist trade cannot be overlooked.
The city has many historic districts and is home to what might be the largest enclosed arena in the world, the Superdome, home of the New Orlean's Saints football team. If you enjoy gambling, heads up: New Orleans is widely considered to be the birthplace of poker and craps.
You may have heard of some of these businesses that are headquartered in New Orleans:
Home to vibrant streets, dazzling squares, and elegant architecture, New Orleans is an amazing place to spend a semester or a lifetime! Let’s get to know some of the neighborhoods where you could either stay or play as you pursue your graduate studies.
Uptown – This region is home to colleges and universities like Tulane University and Loyola University. Ride the St. Charles streetcar to get around, and don’t forget to admire the classic revival architecture, Mardi Gras World, and other must-sees.
Mid-city – If you’re searching for a little green amid the city, look no further. This neighborhood features lovely parks and gardens, as well as historic above-ground cemeteries. If you’re an art buff, don’t miss the New Orleans Museum of Art!
Downtown/Central Business District – Home to businesses, shopping, and the dramatic Mercedes-Benz Superdome, this region is one of New Orleans’ most bustling. Check here for swanky hotels and posh dining establishments. But, you’ll find some more casual and affordable spots, too – this is The Big Easy, after all!
French Quarter – While perhaps not so conducive to studying, this loud and colorful neighborhood may be a great place to cut loose on a Friday night. Enjoy Bourbon Street’s famous nightlife, street performers in Jackson Square, and an abundance of important historical sites.
Treme – An important site for African American history, this neighborhood is home to great jazz and Creole food. Don’t miss Armstrong Park, named after Louis Armstrong. In the park, you may stumble on Congo Square, where people of color gathered in the 19th century to celebrate musical traditions.
The Marigny and Bywater – These next-door neighborhoods both offer a dynamic arts scene, with galleries, live music in casual venues, and the Marigny Opera House (if you want to get fancy). Like other spots in NOLA, the streets are lined with Creole cottages in vibrant colors.
Esplanade Ridge – Stroll under the shady boughs of oak trees and enjoy the Big Easy at its easiest. Here, you can kayak down Bayou St. John to Lake Pontchartrain. And don’t forget to stop by a local eatery for some ridiculously fresh seafood.
Gentilly, Ninth Ward, and New Orleans East – These neighborhoods lie east of the downtown bustle. Close to the bayous by Lake Borgne, parts of this region sustained much damage during Hurricane Katrina and have come back strong. You’ll encounter resilient people and diverse cultures here. And, you’ll find tons of great restaurants, notably Vietnamese food.
Don’t forget to explore neighboring towns or graduate schools near New Orleans, as well. Suburbs of New Orleans like Slidell, Metairie, Covington, and others may be worth checking out.
In and around New Orleans, students can find everything from private and Catholic-affiliated colleges to the state’s largest community college. And don’t overlook online or hybrid degree programs based in New Orleans, since these may offer viable paths to Louisiana residents and others who desire a more flexible grad school experience.
While those seeking graduate programs in New Orleans may have many potential paths to consider, the city is particularly known for graduate medical education and research, as well as the biosciences. Here are just a few sponsored graduate schools in New Orleans to learn more about:
As an important hub for medical science education and research, New Orleans is home to its share of health and medicine graduate programs. In fact, the medical schools of Tulane University and Louisiana State University, plus Xavier University’s graduate pharmacy program, are located in a special place: the New Orleans BioDistrict. The BioDistrict is a state economic development district formed with the goal of biosciences research and development, as well as healthcare delivery for New Orleans and beyond.
Whether you’re interested in studying nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, or something else, NOLA might be a great place to look. You could find graduate programs like:
Don’t let New Orleans’ laidback vibes fool you. This city is a major center of industry, making waves in everything from transportation and manufacturing to tourism. Food products, clothing, glass items, and fabricated metal items are just a few key products made locally. And, the petrochemical industry – though it’s caused a great deal of ecological harm – remains big, here.
In a graduate business program, you might discover the ins and outs of your industry of choice, or study how to be a change agent in NOLA’s evolving economy. Whatever your goals, you may want to check out programs like:
Whether you’re interested in disease pathology, wetlands ecology, the science behind the petroleum industry, or something else entirely, New Orleans may be the ideal place to further your knowledge. For one, it’s situated in a unique ecosystem, at the head of the Mississippi River delta at the Gulf of Mexico. Lakes and bayous surround the city, and you don’t have to go far to see alligators. Find Science Graduate Programs in New Orleans
Also, as you may know, New Orleans has received more than its share of environmental disasters. From hurricanes to oil spills, this city has weathered problems that, hopefully, science can help to mitigate the effects of. Look further into programs like:
New Orleans is a city big on arts, culture, literature, and history. Here you can visit a house where Degas stayed, learn the story of the Battle of New Orleans, or ride streetcars reminiscent of the one named Desire, from Tennessee Williams’ renowned play. You might also be able to hone your own literary skills, study a language in depth, or prepare for a new career path in the humanities. Find Liberal Arts & Humanities Graduate Programs
Check out humanities and liberal arts graduate programs near New Orleans, like:
New Orleans is an awesome place to live, learn, and see the sights. So why not further explore the graduate schools that call this city home? Peruse our sponsored listings, and use the navigation tools to narrow down your search to New Orleans graduate programs that may be the perfect fit for you.
Sources: britannica.com/place/New-Orleans-Louisiana | factmonster.com/ipka/A0108567.html | quickfacts.census.gov | en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans | neworleans.com/ | choosenola.com/living-in-New-Orleans/highered