Graduate school is an intense and specialized course of study. While your undergraduate education provides you broad knowledge with some specialization in your major area, graduate school focuses exclusively on your area of study.
Graduate degrees are oriented towards either research or professional preparation, making graduate school something to venture into only if you are sure what you want to study or what your goals are for obtaining a degree.
Talk to people in the field you are interested in to find out their educational background and what their recommendations are for graduate study.
Investigate Graduate School Further
- Research Graduate and Professional Schools
- Apply to Graduate School
- Finance Graduate School
- Graduate School Timetable
There are many different types of graduate degrees, although they generally fall into two categories: master’s and doctoral degrees.
Master’s Degree usually involves 1–2 years of full-time work to complete.
Typical degrees: Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Physical Therapy, Master of Social Work, Master of Public Health, and Master of Public Administration.
Doctoral Degree is more involved and can take 4–6 full-time years to complete.
Typical degrees: Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education, Juris Doctor (law degree), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and Medical Doctor.
These are just a sampling of possible degrees. Additionally, each degree may be granted from a variety of different programs. For example, a student may receive a Master of Science in Microbiology or a Master of Science in Psychology. Some degrees can be completed on a part-time basis over an extended period of time.
Is graduate school right for you
Graduate school is a large commitment in terms of time and money. Be sure you are applying for the right reasons!
According to Green and Minton, authors of From Beyond the Ivy Wall (Little, Brown & Co), there are 3 basic reasons (or a combination of them) to go to graduate school:
- A graduate degree is essential for going into certain professions.
- A graduate degree can help to advance your career.
- A graduate degree can give you the personal satisfaction derived from advanced learning.
There are also poor reasons to go to graduate school. At the top of this list is feeling you have no other option, or wanting to stay in education because it is an environment in which you are familiar. In these cases, graduate work immediately after graduation from college may not be the best decision for you.
If you are having difficulty deciding whether or not graduate school is the right choice for you, talk to your faculty advisor and/or use the many resources in Career Services.
Some resources that you might find helpful are meeting with a Career Counselor, investigating Blugold Career Network and talking to some Alumni who have gone to graduate school. You may also use our self-assessment resources, or browse some of our books about careers and graduate school in the Career Discovery Center.