Top 10 Universities in Washington, D.C. in 2024

Washington, D.C. is not only rich in culture and history but also it is home to the best universities. There are several top universities each with its unique appearance even more special because they have great teachers, lots of different programs, and focus on research and new ideas. It helps the students get special chances for internships, research, and learning about politics and world affairs. That is why people from all over the world come to study in these universities and enjoy the inspiring atmosphere of Washington, D.C. because it is an interesting place. Here is the list of best universities in Washington D.C.

List of the 10 Best Universities in Washington, D.C.

  1. Georgetown University
  2. George Washington University
  3. American University
  4. Howard University
  5. Catholic University of America
  6. Gallaudet University
  7. George Mason University – Arlington Campus
  8. University of the District of Columbia
  9. Johns Hopkins University – SAIS (School of Advanced International Studies)
  10. Trinity Washington University

1. Georgetown University

Georgetown is a private research university that was founded in 1789 in Washington, D.C. It is the oldest Catholic university in the U.S. Known for its long history. Famous people like ex-President Bill Clinton and leaders from other countries have studied there. With just under 20,000 students, many doing advanced studies, Georgetown is like a mini United Nations, with people from 130+ countries. It is not just in D.C. either; they have campuses in Italy, Turkey, and Qatar. 

Georgetown offers 48 different degrees through four schools, and there are five schools if you’re aiming for a master’s. The Walsh School of Foreign Service is famous for teaching about the world, and about half of Georgetown students get to explore it firsthand through study abroad. If you are into law, you are right where the action is, on Capitol Hill near the Supreme Court and the White House. Georgetown University mixes history, diversity, and global learning right in the nation’s capital.

Also Read: Top 10 Universities in the USA

2. George Washington University

George Washington University (GWU) stands as a prestigious institution in the heart of Washington, DC. With a rich history spanning over two centuries and coming to exist in 1821. GWU has consistently ranked among the top universities in the nation. It boasted a diverse student body and a faculty renowned for scholarly excellence.

GWU’s commitment to academic innovation is reflected in its renowned schools and colleges, including the School of Business, Law School, and School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The university’s urban campus, situated near the White House and the National Mall, provides students with unparalleled access to cultural and professional opportunities.

In recent years, George Washington University has made significant strides in research, securing substantial grants and contributing to groundbreaking discoveries. The university’s commitment to fostering global perspectives is evident in its international programs and partnerships. Prospective students continue to be drawn to GWU for its dynamic academic environment, esteemed faculty, and prime location in the nation’s capital.

Also Read: America’s Biggest Shopping Malls

3. American University

American University Known for its academic excellence, the university consistently ranks among the top in the nation. With an impressive 84-acre campus in DC’s Northwest quadrant, American University offers students modern facilities, including the well-regarded Katzen Arts Center. It was Founded in 1893, 

The university’s commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience is underscored by its rich history and consistent ranking in national assessments. The expansive campus serves as a dynamic hub for intellectual growth and collaboration, fostering an environment where innovation thrives. Faculty members, including distinguished scholars and Pulitzer Prize winners, contribute to the institution’s academic prowess, ensuring students receive a world-class education.

American University’s strategic location in the heart of the nation’s capital further enhances the educational journey, offering unparalleled opportunities for internships, research, and real-world engagement. This commitment to holistic development positions American University as a leader in shaping well-rounded and forward-thinking individuals poised for success in an ever-evolving global landscape.

4. Howard University

Beyond its historical significance and academic achievements, Howard University is crucial in fostering cultural enrichment and diversity. The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, founded in 1914, stands as one of the world’s largest repositories of African-American history and culture, housing over 175,000 volumes and an extensive archival collection.

Howard University’s commitment to research is underscored by its status as a leading producer of African-American undergraduates who go on to earn PhDs in science and engineering. The Howard University Hospital, established in 1975, is a testament to the institution’s dedication to providing hands-on experience for students pursuing careers in healthcare.

With a commitment to community engagement, Howard University extends its impact beyond the campus borders. The university’s emphasis on service is exemplified through initiatives such as the Alternative Spring Break Program, where students contribute to community development projects around the globe.

5. Catholic University of America

Since its establishment, the Catholic University of America has continually evolved to meet the demands of a changing world. With a commitment to inclusivity and diversity, the university has embraced a global perspective, attracting students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. The School of Theology and Religious Studies, founded in 1889, stands as one of the oldest and most distinguished Catholic theological faculties in the United States.

Catholic University’s dedication to community service is exemplified by its impressive alumni network, which includes philanthropists, policymakers, and leaders in various fields. Notably, the university has been recognized for its impactful contributions to science, earning the prestigious designation of a NASA Space Grant Institution.

The Catholic University of America’s tradition of excellence, coupled with its forward-looking approach, positions it as a dynamic force in higher education. As it continues to shape the intellectual and moral leaders of tomorrow, the university remains a beacon of academic achievement, research innovation, and Catholic values in the heart of the nation’s capital.

6. Gallaudet University

Gallaudet University proudly serves as a symbol of academic distinction in the heart of Washington, DC. Distinguished as the singular university globally crafted to meet the educational requirements of deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Gallaudet boasts a storied legacy deeply embedded in its dedication to fostering inclusive education. Spanning an expansive 99-acre campus, it was founded in 1864. The university is home to a vibrant and diverse student population hailing from various corners of the world.

Gallaudet boasts a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs, emphasizing bilingualism in American Sign Language (ASL) and English. Notably, the university’s commitment to research and innovation in deaf studies has garnered international recognition. The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, established in 1869, serves as a pioneering institution within Gallaudet, contributing significantly to advancements in deaf education.

Beyond academics, Gallaudet has played a pivotal role in advocating for the rights and inclusion of the deaf community. Its historic Chapel Hall, built in 1876, serves as a symbol of the university’s enduring commitment to empowering individuals through education, making Gallaudet University a distinctive and impactful institution in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Also Read: Tallest Buildings in the United States

7. George Mason University – Arlington Campus

Arlington campus is an integral part of George Mason University, consistently ranking among the top educational institutions in the nation. With a commitment to fostering innovation and research, the Arlington Campus has become a hub for cutting-edge programs in fields such as policy, business, and technology. It was established in 1972.

Boasting state-of-the-art facilities and renowned faculty members, the campus has played a pivotal role in shaping future leaders. The School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs, established in 1978, has been a driving force behind influential research and policy initiatives. The Arlington Campus reflects George Mason University’s dedication to providing a dynamic and transformative educational experience. Today, it continues to attract students from diverse backgrounds, contributing to the university’s reputation for academic rigor and forward-thinking scholarship in the nation’s capital.

Also Read: Educational Leadership

8. University of the District of Columbia

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC), established in 1851 as Miner Normal School, has evolved into a premier institution in Washington, D.C. With a rich history spanning over 170 years. UDC has consistently demonstrated its commitment to academic excellence, community engagement, and diversity.

In 1977, UDC officially became a comprehensive public university, offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. The university’s impact on the local community is noteworthy, providing affordable and accessible education to a diverse student body. Boasting a modern campus and state-of-the-art facilities, UDC continues to be a hub for innovation and research.

UDC plays a pivotal role in fostering a dynamic learning environment, with renowned faculty members and a robust curriculum. The university’s commitment to sustainability is evident through initiatives like green building practices and community outreach programs. As a leading educational institution in the nation’s capital, UDC stands as a testament to the transformative power of higher education.

9. Johns Hopkins University – SAIS (School of Advanced International Studies)

Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a premier institution founded in 1943. SAIS consistently ranks among the top international relations schools worldwide, shaping leaders in diplomacy, policy, and international affairs.

With a rich history spanning over seven decades, SAIS has been a trailblazer in fostering a deep understanding of global issues. Its strategic location in the nation’s capital provides unparalleled opportunities for students to engage with policymakers, diplomats, and influential leaders. The institution boasts a distinguished faculty, including experts and practitioners actively contributing to shaping international relations.

SAIS is renowned for its interdisciplinary approach, blending rigorous academic theory with real-world application. The university’s commitment to innovation is reflected in its cutting-edge research centers and initiatives, addressing contemporary challenges such as climate change, global health, and economic development. As a hub for critical thinking and collaboration, SAIS continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of international affairs.

10. Trinity Washington University

Trinity is known for its commitment to empowering women in education. Founded in 1897,  with a rich history spanning over a century, the university has continually evolved to meet the dynamic needs of its diverse student body. The university’s notable achievements include consistently high rankings for its nursing and health programs, exemplifying its dedication to producing top-tier professionals in critical fields. Trinity’s commitment to social justice and community engagement is evidenced by its strategic partnerships with local organizations, fostering a holistic approach to education.

Boasting a picturesque campus, Trinity Washington University is not just an academic institution but a vibrant community that encourages intellectual curiosity and personal growth. Its legacy is further enriched by a faculty of renowned scholars and a robust alumni network that continues to make significant contributions to various industries. Trinity’s enduring impact on higher education in Washington, DC, underscores its enduring commitment to shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

Also Read: Tallest Buildings In New York


Washington’s top Universities not only serve as pillars of academic excellence but also contribute significantly to the state’s reputation as a global leader in education and innovation. The rich academic offerings, world-class faculty, and vibrant campus life make these institutions highly sought-after destinations for students aspiring to embark on a transformative educational journey. This article has listed the best universities in Washington D.C.


How many universities are there in Washington, DC?

There are 17 universities and colleges offering a diverse range of educational opportunities. These institutions empower students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue their career aspirations and contribute meaningfully to their chosen fields.

What is the number 1 college in DC?

Georgetown University is the number 1 college in DC often regarded highly in national and international rankings. Each institution has its strengths and unique offerings, catering to different academic and extracurricular interests.

What are the best universities in Washington DC for international students?

Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, and Howard University are top choices for international students in Washington D.C.

Is George Mason public or private?

Situated on a suburban campus in Fairfax, Virginia, George Mason University is a sizable public university.

Is Washington DC a good place to study?

Washington DC, with its political significance, iconic landmarks, and top universities, is an ideal study destination for those interested in politics and US history.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

Leave a Reply