Weighing Options for Grad Schools Near Tahoe

Morgan Meadows, Editor

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Graduate degrees can be a valuable, sometimes even necessary, asset in many career paths. In the senior exit survey given to the Sierra Nevada College graduating class in 2017, 13.89 percent reported having applied to post-baccalaureate programs. However, 47.22 percent of respondents said they intended to apply.

In addition to SNC, there are five graduate schools within 150 miles of Lake Tahoe.

University of Nevada, Reno

UNR is a public research university located near downtown Reno. It was founded in 1874 and has more than 3,000 post-graduate students across multiple schools. The university is well known for its college of engineering, where students can earn a multitude of master’s and doctoral degrees in the STEM field.

Students interested in media and communications can find a home at UNR’s Reynold’s School of Journalism. The school offers an intensive three-semester Master in Media Innovation. For students without an undergraduate background in journalism or communications, the Reynold’s School of Journalism offers classes to prepare students for graduate-level work in the discipline.

The program requires a 150-hour summer internship, where students gain practical work experience.

UNR also offers various degree programs across the sciences and liberal arts, including English, mathematics, psychology and political science, to name a few. The college of business offers a part-time M.B.A. program for students interested in expanding their education while working.

University of the Pacific: Sacramento Campus 

The University of the Pacific’s Sacramento campus is home to McGeorge School of Law, where students can earn traditional law degrees such as the J.D. (Juris Doctor) and L.L.M. (Master of Laws). The law school also offers an M.A. in Public Policy and M.A. in Public Administration, which can be earned individually or in conjunction with the J.D. program. McGeorge is the only American Bar Association-accredited law school in Sacramento, California’s capitol and political hub.

The campus also houses UOP’s physician’s assistant program, a new addition to the university. The 27-month program’s first entering class began in January of 2017. There are only 229 accredited P.A. programs in the country. With a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (M.P.A.S.), students become licensed healthcare professionals practicing with physician collaboration.

Students can also earn an M.S. in data science.

California State University, Chico 

Chico State is the second-oldest college in the California State University system. The college offers 35 master’s programs, but does not grant doctoral degrees. The college has received numerous honors for its efforts in environmental awareness and sustainability. In 2007, Chico professor Jeff Price shared the Nobel Peace Prize for leadership on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The college has a focus in environmental science. Students can earn an M.S. in agricultural education through the
college’s fully online program, which allows participants to be able to work full time. Other online options include nursing, which is catered to the needs of nurses located in rural areas.

Chico State also offers a unique interdisciplinary studies master program, where students have the opportunity to create their own majors aligning with various fields of interest. The program allows students to choose from two or three academic areas, rather than concentrating in a single discipline, so that they graduate with a degree specific to them.

California State University, Sacramento 

Sacramento State University, home to the Hornets, offers more than 40 different graduate programs for students seeking an urban setting, only 90 minutes from Lake Tahoe.

The university has one of the biggest veteran’s programs in the country, and an Air Force ROTC program, which is the second-largest in California. The campus is green, literally, with more than 3,500 trees on its grounds.

The College of Business Administration earned accreditation from the AACSB (Association of Collegiate Schools of Business), only granted to 5 percent of the 13,000 colleges worldwide. Students also have the opportunity to earn a joint doctorate in public history in partnership with UC Santa Barbara. 

University of California, Davis

UC Davis is located 20 miles east of Sacramento in the rural town of Davis, Calif.  Well known for its school of medicine and attached research hospital, Davis offers future healthcare professionals the opportunity for study and practical experience in any area of specialty.

The M.D. program is a four-year multidisciplinary and competency-based approach to medical education. Students are required to complete clerkships, interacting with patients. In their fourth year, students are prepared for their residencies through rigorous academic and practical courses in all areas of practice.

The university is also home to King Hall School of Law, named after Dr. Martin Luther King. Psychology, economics, and the biological sciences are among the most popular majors at UC Davis.

Local grad school programs


Reno, Nev.

37 miles from Incline Village

Ranked #1 college in Nevada

UOP Sacramento Campus

Sacramento, Calif.

120 miles from Incline Village

Ranked #3 in the nation for government law

Sacramento State

Sacramento, Calif.

123 miles from Incline Village

Ranked #20 in top public colleges: regional universities west

UC Davis

Davis, Calif.

133 miles from Incline Village

Ranked #18 nationally for best medical schools: primary care

Chico State

Chico, Calif.

150 miles from Incline Village

Ranked #8 in colleges that add the most value

(Sources: U.S. News & World
Report, Money Magazine,
National Jurist)

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