2021 Best Colleges in District of Columbia Badge

2021 Best Colleges in Washington D.C. by Salary Score

By the GradReports team | Updated 3/1/2021

This list ranks the best colleges in Washington D.C. by bachelor's degree Salary Score. To determine this score, we compared median alumni earnings in the first year after graduation for each major at one college to alumni earnings for the same major across all schools. We then combined the scores from all majors to create an overall bachelor's degree Salary Score for a college. A higher score indicates that as a whole, the degrees offered by a college tend to earn alumni higher salaries than a degree at other colleges would. Each ranked school in Washington D.C. features a Salary Score above the U.S. median of 50. Top-ranked Georgetown University’s score is 98.68, which earns it the #6 spot on our 2021 list of the best colleges in the U.S.

To be considered for our state rankings, schools must offer and provide data for at least 8 bachelor's programs. This list includes all eligible schools in D.C. You can click on a school's name to view individual program scores. Read our methodology to learn more about how schools were ranked.

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Salary Scores based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Salary Score
#1 #1 Georgetown University Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $54,104 98.68
#2 #2 The George Washington University Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $55,230 86.46
#3 #3 American University Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $48,459 84.04
#4 #4 Catholic University of America Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $45,804 83.72
#5 #5 University of the District of Columbia Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $5,888 77.52
#6 #6 Howard University Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $26,756 54.46

2021 Best Colleges in District of Columbia Highlights

#1
Washington D.C.
Salary Score 98.68
Annual Tuition $54,104
Graduation Rate 94%

Ten undergraduate programs at Georgetown University (GU) have a Salary Score of 100, and approximately 83% of the school’s programs score 90 or higher. The top scoring programs include accounting, general psychology, political science and government, marketing, and health and administrative services. The highest earning program is computer science, with a median salary of $93,340 and a Salary Score of 91. GU’s bachelor’s programs in international business and finance/financial management services also report high median earnings for graduates, with salaries of $92,280 and $92,510, respectively.

School Overview:

Georgetown University is a private institution located in the center of Washington, D.C., offering students the chance to learn in a large city that serves as a hub for policy, entrepreneurship, art, and service. For those interested in professional or biomedicine ethics, Georgetown houses the largest collection of books, journals, and government publications on ethics in its Bioethics Research Library on campus. The university hosts more than 3,600 international students and places value on global engagement by offering over 200 study abroad opportunities.

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#2
Salary Score 86.46
Annual Tuition $55,230
Graduation Rate 82%

George Washington University’s undergraduate dance program is the highest scoring program, with a Salary Score of 100. Several programs score a 99, including geography and cartography, hospitality administration/management, communication and media studies, and anthropology. The university’s business-related programs are strong overall; hospitality administration/management, finance and financial management, and public relations and advertising all have a Salary Score of 99. International business has a score of 98, marketing has a score of 94, and general business has a score of 93. The top earning program is computer science, with a reported median annual salary of $77,970.

School Overview:

Established in 1821, George Washington University is a private, four-year institution in the heart of Washington, D.C. The institution is medium-sized, with approximately 12,200 undergraduate students enrolled. In 2015, GWU became a test-optional school, meaning SAT and ACT scores are not required of applicants. GWU students are encouraged to pursue internships at nearby political, financial, research, or journalism institutions, as well as internationally. The Knowledge in Action Internship Fund offers financial support for students pursuing unpaid internships.

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#3
Washington D.C.
Salary Score 84.04
Annual Tuition $48,459
Graduation Rate 80%

The highest scoring program offered by American University is teacher education and professional development. With a Salary Score of 100 and a median annual salary of $51,690, it is also in the top 25% of AU’s degrees when ranked by reported earnings. The highest earning program is computer science, with its median salary falling at $73,320. Other strong programs are public relations (98), political science and government (96), communication and media studies (96), literature (96), and non-professional legal studies (95.), all with Salary Scores at or above 95.

School Overview:

American University is a private institution located in metropolitan Washington, D.C. Students can elect to register for the Washington Summer Program or the Washington Summer Semester Internship Program. These programs allow students to continue living in D.C. over the summer and earn credit at a reduced cost or take on an internship while being housed by the university. AU has study abroad campuses in Nairobi, Brussels, and Madrid; students can also find international opportunities such as the AU Cornerstone Program for first-year students, which has a U.K. option in addition to a D.C. option.

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