3 Great Science and Math Graduate Schools

By Ryan Hickey updated on Monday, September 30, 2013

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Florida Institute of Technology: If you happen to live in upstate New York or central Florida, then you’re probably already in the know. However, most people haven’t heard of these great schools. That is, except people who are in the fields of science and math. Within the field, RPI, RIT, and Florida Tech are well-known and well-respected. They attract top professors and top students from around the globe, and each school’s commitment to their math and science students is unparalleled. Smaller class sizes, more opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience, and the ability to build lasting relationships with instructors have helped these three schools earn their high reputation within the competitive and innovative fields of science and math. 

With numerous accolades, such as being one of the “New Ivies” and one of the best schools regarding salary potential for engineering graduates, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (or just “RPI”) is located just north of New York’s state capital in Troy, New York. Although the school retains its focus on math and science, particularly at the graduate level, RPI also offers students a well-rounded education in the humanities and the opportunity to engage in diverse student activities and clubs on campus. As part of President Shirley Ann Jackson’s “Rensselaer Plan”, RPI has added new research facilities, including the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations. These improvements translate to greater opportunities for graduate students in particular to participate in math and science research in a dynamic and cutting-edge environment.

Not to be confused with the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology (usually called “RIT”) is unequivocal in offering its students a career-focused education. Because of this, the school consistently ranks high for its graduates regarding salary and career advancement opportunities. RIT is a pioneer in that it offered the first software engineering degree program and has a top-rated video game design program through its School of Interactive Games and Media. With its close relationships with nearby corporations Xerox, Kodak, and ITT Corp., RIT has an innovative optics program and facilities as well as the only stand-alone Imaging Science PhD Program. RIT has remained a leader in semiconductors for the past 30 years and offered the nation’s first accredited information technology (IT) degree. The Kate Gleason College of Engineering is also a highlight of the institution, ranking 6th in the nation among all schools that offer engineering master's degrees.

If you would rather combine science and math with sandy beaches instead of lush New York woodlands, you might want to look on the east coast of central Florida. Located almost directly across the Florida peninsula from Orlando, Florida Institute of Technology (or “Florida Tech”) has developed its graduate-level facilities and reputation at high speed. As one of only a handful of schools in the nation to offer advanced aviation degrees, this is no surprise. With multiple institutes aimed at applying science and math to real world problems in computing, the environment, civil engineering, and even marine biology (among others), Florida Tech has state-of-the-art facilities for conducting basic and applied research. Graduates of Florida Tech, especially those with degrees in the sciences, math, and engineering, tend to rank high in terms of salary.

Science and Math Programs
About the Author

Ryan Hickey is the Managing Editor of Peterson's and an expert in college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in admissions for nearly a decade writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants. He enjoys sharing his knowledge to aid others in achieving their educational goals and, when he gets a break, loves hiking and fly fishing with his wife and two border-collie mixes.

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