Clicky

The 22 Best In-Person Schools for Education Degrees in 2023

Every school in our ranking has something that makes them shine.  Take a look at what we came up with for the best education schools in the nation: 

The Top 22 Best Schools for Education

 

1. University of Pennsylvania

Graduation Rate: 96%

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is an ivy league school located in Philadelphia. There are 25,860 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1.

Carnegie ranks UPenn for having the highest level of research activity and according to US News UPenn is the 6th best school in the nation, and 1st for business, and 61st for education.

Their graduate school of education offers programming in a number of areas including their educational linguistics program that is a PhD in educational linguistics. Additionally students may pursue a MSEd in Intercultural Communication. Other areas of study include: 

  • Education Policy
  • Higher Education
  • Human Development and Quantitative Methods
  • Literacy Culture and International Education
  • Teaching Learning and Leadership

2. Brown University

Graduation Rate: 95%

Brown University

Brown University is a private ivy league university located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is known as the “progressive ivy” perhaps in part because Brown offers an entirely customizable “Open Curriculum.”

Undergraduates have over 2,477 courses to choose from.  As a result no two majors are alike and this highly customized approach means that oftentimes even undergraduate students pursue interdisciplinary study.

Undergraduates who choose to concentrate in education are no different and once again choose from a wide variety of courses to customize their learning path. Graduates looking to pursue an advanced degree in education may wish to choose from the following areas of study:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching 
  • Master’s in Urban Education Policy

Here are some examples of education specialization classes for undergraduates: 

  • Education Policy Analysis 
  • Child Development
  • Immigrant Youth
  • Education for Social Justice 

3. Cornell University

Graduation Rate 95%

Cornell University

Cornell University is a private 4-year university located in Ithaca, New York. This ivy league university is known for its college of arts and sciences and college of agriculture and life sciences.

Additionally, Cornell has a top-ranked veterinary medicine program. Cornell is a fantastic school for all of its programming and currently ranks, according to US News, as the 17th best school in the nation. 

According to their site, undergraduate students from all colleges may pursue academic study from the school of education and the curriculum is customizable.  Take a look at some of the education courses available at Cornell:

  • Youth Organization and Leadership Development 
  • Teens in Schools 
  • Educational Psychology
  • The Art of Teaching 
  • Program Planning in Agriculture and Education
  • Special Topics in Education

4. Columbia University

Graduation Rate: 96%

Columbia-University

Columbia University in the City of New York is yet another ivy league school on our list. Located in New York City, Columbia enrolls over 30,000 students and yet still maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1. That’s because this private university has an extraordinary amount of research activity.

Carnegie ranks Columbia as an R:1 university with very high levels of research. At Columbia College students may pursue any one of these undergraduate degrees in education: urban teaching for primary and secondary students as well as education studies degrees.

The education studies tracks do not lead to certification. Columbia has a robust graduate program in education offering both undergraduate and graduate education degrees.  Take a look at some of the options: 

  • Adult Learning
  • Applied Behavior Analysis 
  • Cognitive Science in Education
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Dance Education

5. Northwestern University

Graduation Rate: 95%

Northwestern University

Northwestern University is a private 4-year university located in Evanston, Illinois. There are 22,127 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1. According to the US News and World Report, Northwestern ranks as the 9th best university in the nation. 

Northwestern is known for its school of journalism, music, and Kellogg school of management. The School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) awards education degrees in five concentrations including Human Development in Context, Learning and Organizational Change, Learning Sciences, Secondary Education, and Social Policy.

The graduate programs include both Master’s degrees and PHDs in the following areas: 

  • Human Development and Social Policy
  • PHD and Master’s in Learning Sciences
  • MS in Education 
  • MS in Higher Education and Administration Policy
  • Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (Doctoral Training Program) 
  • Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change

6. Vanderbilt University

Graduation Rate 94%

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University is a private institution located in Nashville, Tennessee. There are about 13,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. Vanderbilt is known for its undergraduate pre med schools but is one of the top universities in the world.

According to US News Vanderbilt ranks as the 15th best university in the nation. The median starting salary for Vanderbilt alumni is $63,000. Vanderbilt offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in education.


7. Bowdoin College

Graduation Rate 95%

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College is a liberal arts college located in Brunswick, Maine. The college is known for its happy student body- a 96% retention rate, as well as its fantastic academic offerings.

The US News and World Report ranks Bowdoin College as the 6th best liberal arts college in the nation, 5th best college for undergraduate teaching, 12th best college for value, 21st best for innovation and 18th best for first year experiences among others. 

Students looking to major in education must take 6 education courses one of which is Contemporary American Education.  Undergraduate students also participate in field experiences.  Take a look at some of the courses currently offered: 

  • Urban Education and Community Organizing
  • Contemporary American Education
  • Educational Psychology
  • Science Education: Purpose, Policy and Potential
  • Student Teaching Practicum 

8. Washington University in St Louis

Graduation Rate 95%

8. Washington University in St Louis

Washington University in Saint Louis (WUSTL) is a private four year university with very high research activity. Some of the most popular majors at WUSTL are in the fields of business and psychology, social sciences and engineering. 

WUSTL currently ranks as the 19th best school in the nation not to mention 20th for value and 61st for best undergraduate teaching programming. Their education department offers undergraduates the opportunity to pursue teacher education and degrees in educational studies.

Students may pursue an undergraduate degree as well as a master’s degree in education.  Students may get certified in

  • Elementary Education
  • Middle School Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Art  (Certificate)
  • Dance (Certificate)
  • Foreign Language (Certificate) 

WUSTL offers unique programming for master’s degree students looking to teach children who are deaf or hard of hearing. This program is offered through the Washington University School of Medicine. 9


9. University of Southern California

Graduation Rate 92%

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is a large private research university that offers bachelor’s master’s and doctoral degrees as well as professional degrees. There are nearly 50,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1.

USC currently ranks as the 22nd best school in the nation, 5th best college for veterans, 56th best undergraduate teaching school, and 37th for value among others.  In addition to education programming USC is known for its business and engineering programming.

The Rossier School of Education offers education degrees to both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate students may pursue a minor in education and society, teaching English to speakers in other languages, and the Dynamics of Early Childhood.

There are a number of graduate degrees available. Take a look at some of their offerings: 

  • MAT Teaching
  • MA Teaching English
  • World Masters in Language Teaching
  • M.Ed. in Educational Counseling
  • PHD Urban Education Policy
  • PHD Educational Leadership 

10. Emory University

Graduation Rate 90%

Emory University

Emory University is a private university located in Atlanta, Georgia. Emory has very high research activity and a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1. There are 14,448 students enrolled.

According to the US News and World Report, Emory ranks as the 21st best school in the nation, 40th best for undergraduate teaching programs, 21st best for value, and 42nd best for most innovative schools. Undergraduate students may study educational studies. This program does not lead to teacher certification.

However, the program is a good fit for students who may potentially wish to pursue certification at the Master’s level or for students who may wish to study other areas or pursue a career in education.  All students must complete courses from these five areas: 

  • Psychological Context of Education
  • Social Context of Education
  • Cultural Context of Education
  • Historical/ Philosophical Context of Education
  • Methods of Disciplines Inquiry

11. Colgate University

Graduation Rate 89%

Colgate University

Colgate University is a private 4-year institution located in Hamilton, New York. There are about 3,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1.

Colgate University currently ranks as the 17th best liberal arts college in the nation as well as 35th for best undergraduate teaching, 17th for best value, and 50th for undergraduate research/ creative projects.

The department of education offers a few opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to prepare themselves for a career in education. Take a look at what is available: 

  • Undergraduate major in Educational Studies
  • Undergraduate minor in Educational Studies
  • Teacher Certification 
  • Master of Arts in Teaching 

12. New York University

Graduation Rate 85%

New York University

New York University (NYU) is a private doctoral university with very high research activity and a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1. NYU enrolls over 50,000 students and offers traditional as well as non traditional academic programming.

NYU is an elite university known for being well-rounded and is particularly known for its arts and business programming with a New York focus. Additionally, NYU is known for its incredible study abroad opportunities. NYU Steinhardt is one of the best education schools in the nation.

There are dozens of opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students including programming in American Sign Language and music education, school counseling and more.  Take a look at just a few of their offerings: 

  • Math Education
  • Peace and Conflict Studies 
  • Literacy Education
  • BA Education Studies 
  • Educational Leadership
  • Computer Science Education
  • Educational Theater 
  • And Many More! 

13. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Graduation Rate 89%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC or Chapel Hill) is a public institution that enrolls over 30,000 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1.  Chapel Hill is part of the research triangle that includes Duke and North Carolina State.

UNC Chapel Hill is known for its academic innovation.  Chapel Hill ranks as the 29th best school in the nation, 10th best value school, 63rd most innovative school and 5th top public school in the nation. Their school of education offers exciting programs for prospective or current educators.

Some of their offerings are unique such as their path to practice program- a program designed to get the necessary licensure for teachers in North Carolina. Here’s a list of just some of the education degrees available at Chapel Hill: 

  • Ph.D. Applied Developmental Science and Special Education 
  • Birth-Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten Licensure
  • Ph.D. Culture, Curriculum, and Teacher Education 
  • MEd. Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support 
  • Ph.D. Education
  • M.A. Educational Innovation Technology and Entrepreneurship 
  • Ed.D. Educational Leadership
  • B.A.Ed. Human Development 
  • B.Mus K-12 Music Education 
  • Ph.D. Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies 
  • M.A.T.
  • M.Ed. 
  • And Many More!

14. Vassar College

Graduation Rate 88%

Vassar College

Vassar College is a private institution located in Poughkeepsie, New York. There are 2,456 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1. Vassar is one of the elite seven sisters- a women’s college that eventually went co-ed.

According to US News Vassar ranks as the 14th best liberal arts college in the nation.  Additionally, Vassar College ranks as the number 1 best college for veterans, 48th best undergraduate teaching college, 11th best value school, and 16th most innovative school. Vassar is known for its high quality programming in a wide range of disciplines including art history and English.

Undergraduate students who major in education have the opportunity to select their programming from a wide array of exciting topics in education including: 

  • Pedagogy and Learning
  • Domestic Issues in Education
  • Global Perspectives on Education 
  • Research
  • Electives
  • Intensives

15. Bucknell University

Graduation Rate 88%

Bucknell University

Bucknell University is a private liberal arts college located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. There are 3,668 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1.

This is a liberal arts college with over 50 majors as well as professional majors in the field of engineering, education, management and music. The US News and World Report ranks Bucknell as the 35th best liberal arts college in the nation. Additionally, Bucknell ranks highly for value, innovation, engineering and social mobility. 

There are four main programs at Bucknell for undergraduate and graduate students including a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Teaching Certification. 

The BS program is intended for students interested in Early Childhood Development.  BA students have the opportunity to study the following core courses: 

  • Social Foundations of Education
  • Educational Psychology 
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Culminating Experience
  • B.A. Internship

16. Smith College

Graduation Rate 8*%

Smith College

Smith College is a private 4-year institution located in Northampton, Massachusetts. There are 2,903 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. Smith is an all women’s liberal arts college and one of the largest of its kind in the nation.

Smith currently offers co-educational graduate programs and was an original member of the Seven Sisters. According to US News, Smith College ranks as the 11th best liberal arts college in the nation. Additionally, Smith ranks as the 9th best undergraduate teaching school and 5th best school for value. 

The education department offers a major and minor in Education and Child Studies. The major consists of four components: ten core education courses, three courses in a curricular, three electives, and one senior capstone experience. These are the three strands for the EDC major:

  • Teaching and Learning which includes licensure
  • International/Global Education
  • Youth, Community, and Policy Studies

17. Boston University

Graduation Rate 88%

Boston University

Boston University (BU) is a private research university that is known for its Law school, schools of medicine, economics program, theater programming and much more.  BU enrolls over 34,000 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1.

According to the US News and World Report, BU ranks as the 40th best university in the nation, and is the 18th best college for veterans, 76th best undergraduate teaching college, 27th most innovative schools, and 48th best value school among many other top accolades.

Wheelock College is BU’s school for education and human development. Wheelock offers undergraduate, master’s as well as doctoral programs in the field of education.  Additionally BU offers programming in early childhood development, applied human development, child life, and counseling psychology.

Take a look at the education majors available to undergraduates: 

  • Bilingual Education
  • Deaf Studies
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Modern Foreign Language Education
  • Science Education
  • Social Studies Education
  • Special Education

18. University of California – Irvine

Graduation Rate 83%

University of California-Irvine

The University of California Irvine is a public 4-year institution that enrolls 36,032 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1.  UC Irvine is one of the top public institutions in the United States. 

In fact, UC Irvine ranks as the 36th best school in the nation, 15th best for veterans, 3r best for social mobility, and 9th best in the nation for public schools. 

UC Irvine is known to have fantastic programming in a wide array of fields some of which include psychology, biology, business, public health, and education. The School of Education recently launched an online learning research center.  UCI offers three main programs at their school of education: a major in education sciences, a MAT with credentials, and a doctoral degree.

CalTeach is a program for undergraduates majoring in a STEM subject who may wish to explore what it means to become a teacher. CalTeach offers UCI students the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree as well as a teacher’s certification in just 4 years.

Here are the five core concepts of their education sciences major: 

  • Social Structures and Stratification
  • Human Development
  • Learning
  • Policy Making in Education
  • Schools as Organizations

19. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Graduation Rate 84%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the public flagship university of the state of Illinois. This research university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees to students with any interest.

Illinois is known for its outstanding psychology department, college of engineering as well as college of information sciences.  The university is the whole package with the biggest Greek life, amazing research opportunities as well as opportunities for its graduates.

Their college of education offers programming for undergraduates, graduates, and those seeking teacher licensure. They have an online program as well.  Here are the teacher licensure degrees currently available: 

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Middle Grades 
  • Special Education
  • Secondary Education

Graduate programs: 

  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • Educational Psychology
  • Special Education
  • Education Policy 

20. Colby College

Graduation Rate 91%

Colby College

Colby College is a private 4-year university located in Waterville, Maine. There are just 2,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1.

According to the US News and World Report, Colby College ranks as the 11th best national liberal arts college, 48th for best undergraduate teaching, 16th for best value school, and 18th for the most innovative. Innovative schools are those making the most improvements to their faculty requirements, curriculum, technology and facilities as well as campus life.

The education program at Colby College has a strong focus on social justice and the program is interdisciplinary in its approach. Take a look at some of the degree course offerings: 

  • Sexual Violence Prevention Peer Educator Training 
  • Education and Social Justice
  • Schools and Society
  • Children and Adolescents in Schools and Society
  • Creating Media for Social Change 
  • Second Language Pedagogy 
  • Teach Freedom
  • Women, Children, Gender and Human Rights 
  • History and Philosophy of Progressive Education
  • And More!

As you can see the curriculum is designed with current socially significant issues in mind. If you’re looking to address current concerns in education then you might not find a better program that addresses those than the undergraduate education minor at Colby College.21


21. Arizona State University

Graduation Rate 70%

Arizona State University

Arizona State University is a research university with a diverse student body and an impressive 17:1 student ratio. With over 46,000 enrolled students, the institution offers more than 150 majors accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College offers various undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs that will fit your career goals.

The college aims to improve the quality of education by mobilizing educators and creating more opportunities for the field to grow. Here are some of the bachelor’s degree programs you can choose from:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Schools and Society
  • Elementary Education
  • Educational Studies
  • Special Education
  • Environmental Education

Certificate programs are also available to add more value to your current resume. Moreover, the college offers master’s programs with different concentrations, including Educational Policy, Global Education, and Learning Sciences.

Aside from face-to-face classes, ASU also offers remote classes so you can conveniently finish your degree program and be one step closer to becoming a certified teacher.22


22. University of Oregon

Graduation Rate 72%

Oregon State University

The University of Oregon is a public university that comprises nine schools and colleges with more than 300 degree programs and certificates. The university has a student ratio of 17:1, with almost 23,000 enrolled students.

With an accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the university promises quality programs that drive innovation and research. If you’re looking for programs to start your career in education, this is the right place for you.

Its College of Education ranks 14th in the Best Education Schools ranking of the US News and World Report. Some of the programs offered are:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Family and Human Service Program
  • Education Policy and Leadership Program
  • Special Education Program
  • School Psychology Program
  • Curriculum and Teacher Education Program

Its Sapsik’ʷałá Teacher Education program is also worth noting. This program aims to support American Indians and Native Alaskans interested in becoming licensed teachers or obtaining a master’s degree.

Additionally, COE offers various scholarships to make your academic journey more affordable. All you have to do is submit one application, and the university decides which scholarship program best suits you.


Should I Study Online? 

Determining whether or not to study online is an essential first step to determining where you want to study.  Today more so than ever before there are fantastic online programs. 


Quality online degrees are often the same as the on-campus program, are taught by expert faculty, and are designed with the working professional in mind.  

Oftentimes online degrees offer asynchronous classes that may be taken when the student has availability.  If you have a set schedule that you have to adhere to each week then you may want to start there- will the classes slot into the time you have available? 

Not sure where to start? Take a look at some of our suggested questions. 

Quick Search: Finding an Online Degree That Matches Your Needs

  • When are classes held?
  • Is the program entirely online? 
  • Can I use my job as an internship experience? 
  • How many hours do I need to devote to my degree each week? 

Earning a degree online may seem convenient. But when a program doesn’t match your learning style, there is potential for the online program to actually absorb your time without the payoff.  The goal is to complete the degree and to use that degree to advance in your career. 


Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons to studying online. 

Pros

Designed with a working professional in mind 

Often times more affordable

Time efficient 

Cons


There’s very little time in a collegiate setting

You may or may not have a cohort you can rely on

Very little face time if any with your professors

Maybe you’re not sure how you learn and study. Perhaps it has been that long.  Think about how you learn today. 

  • Are you self-directed in your pursuits or do you rely on social influences to make them?  
  • Do you spend your time wisely online or do you find yourself sucked in by social media and other forms of clickbait? 
  • Do you carve out time for your own interests?
  • When you’re going about your day do you have a plan or are you playing it by ear? 

Not everyone is successful with an online degree.  But those who are engage with the material with a sense of drive and purpose. If you are certain that you want to take this next step then consider writing down your goal and what ultimately drives you. Take a look at what we mean: 

I want to pursue an online degree to have better income security for myself in the future.

This degree links to my passion in life which is to teach children that the world is a good place. 

I’m pursuing my online degree because I have something to say about educational policy.

These are just examples, but are important to have in mind when you do decide to pursue an online degree. 

Do you feel ready to do it? Take a look at what we have come up with for the best online degree programs in education.

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor