Best Graduate Schools in Illinois by Salary Potential

Find out which Illinois schools offer the highest salaries for master's degree, JD, MBA and PhD graduates. [Read More]

Illinois is home to the biggest city in the Midwest, Chicago, and some of the best universities in the country for academics, sports and earning potential. This year, PayScale's College Salary Report has salary data for a wide variety of graduate programs at public and private schools offering degrees in business, law, and a variety of master's and doctoral-level subjects.

Business and law schools account for some of Illinois’ highest alumni salaries. The two highest median mid-career salaries by a long shot are earned by alumni of the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University and the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago boasts one of the highest earning potential on our list when we ranked by early career salary. Many powerful figures in international business, commerce and politics graduated from Booth, including former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Roger C. Altman, and Katerina Chumachenko Yushchenko, first lady of Ukraine. The University of Chicage also offers MBAs with different focuses at their College of Business Administration.

If you're interested in pursuing a law degree in the Land of Lincoln, John Marshall Law School has one of the highest earning potentials in the state. Loyola Law School also has a high law school alumni salary in Chicago. Loyola has the highest percentage of female students in the state; about 64 percent of their students are women.

The PhD program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign takes a high spot for institutions offering profitable doctorate degrees. The highest reported earners with a non-MBA master's in Illinois graduate from the master's program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. IIT also, unsurprisingly, has the highest percentage of students who graduate with STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering and math); about half of non-MBA master's degrees are in these subjects.

As with its system of higher education, Illinois's civic personality is rooted in prudence, tradition, and classical symbolism. The Prairie State's state tree is the White Oak; the state dance is the square dance; the state mammal is the white-tailed deer; the state flower is the violet. The one exception is perhaps the state foods, which are, interestingly, the Gold Bush apple and popcorn.

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