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The Career Development Center is dedicated to helping students fulfill the lifelong pursuit of purpose by providing services, access to information, resources, and experiences that address individual career needs.

Graduate School Questions & Answers

What is Graduate School?
Graduate school or graduate study is an advanced program of education that is entered into once a bachelor's degree has been obtained. Advanced study programs are divided into two categories: professional programs and graduate programs.
What are Professional Programs?
Professional programs emphasize the practical use of knowledge or skill such as business, law, or medicine. While some professional programs award a master's degree such as an M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration), or an M.S.Ed. (Master of Science in Education), other degrees are also offered. For example, a J.D. (Juris Doctorate), is awarded for law, and an M.D. (Medical Doctorate), is awarded for medicine. Professional programs vary in the number of credit hours required to complete each program.
What are Graduate Programs?
Graduate programs offer an indepth study of a concentrated area such as English Literature or American History. These programs are typically 36 credit hours in length if the school runs on a semester calendar, or 54 credit hours if a trimester calendar is followed. Upon completion of a graduate program, a Master of Arts (M.A) or Master of Science (M.S.) degree is awarded. Some individuals, particularly those interested in college teaching or research, go on to obtain a Doctorate (e.g.: Ph.D., Ed.D.) or Professional degree (e.g.: M.D., J.D.).
How Do I Learn about Graduate Programs?
Obtaining information on graduate programs is not difficult, as there are plenty of available resources. A good place to begin your research is to talk with faculty members and other persons you respect about schools and programs of which they are alumni(ae) or otherwise knowledgeable. Next, review websites such as www.gradschools.com and www.petersons.com. These resources are easy to use and provide program profiles including degrees offered, enrollment statistics, admission and degree requirements, costs, availability of financial aid, research facilities, phone numbers, and email addresses to request further information. Additional graduate school links can be found Here.
How Can I Find More Detailed Information?
Additional information on program specifics can be obtained in the following ways:
  • Check the school's website for information.
  • Call or email admissions recruiters to ask individual questions.
  • Attend graduate and professional school fairs and events to meet personally with representatives. Many schools also hold information sessions for perspective students.
Once I Use Those Resources What Factors Should I Consider?
To generate a list of potential schools, consider the following factors and eliminate schools that do not meet your financial, academic, career, and personal needs.
Cost
  1. In addition to tuition and fees, have you considered costs such as books, transportation, housing, etc?
  2. Does the school or program have opportunities to receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, assistantships, or fellowships?
  3. What is the cost of living in the area where the program is located?

Quality of Program

  1. What is the reputation of the school, department, and faculty?
  2. Are you fully aware of the admissions standards for the school or program?
  3. Is the degree program properly accredited?
  4. Is the program content consistent with other programs you have investigated?
  5. Is work experience required to enter the program? What is the ratio of professors to students?
  6. How do employers view graduates of this program or school?

Other Program Aspects

  1. Can the program be completed on both a full or part-time basis?
  2. Is a thesis, comprehensive exam, or internship required for graduation?
  3. How many credit hours are needed to complete the program?
  4. Does the program offer the types of courses you want to take?
  5. Is there a foreign language requirement for the program? Have graduates of this program been successful in finding employment?
  6. Does the school or program provide assistance with a job search?
  7. Are the school's employment contacts nationally and locally based?

Updated: 9/12/2011