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Researching Graduate School

Once you have made the decision to attend graduate/ professional school, research to find the appropriate professional program to meet your educational and career goals. Start doing this research by your junior year.


  • Talk to your professors and adviser. Professors can often give you advice on top programs, and may know colleagues at a school in which you are interested. They also can be good references for graduate school and future employment.
  • Visit the Career Discovery Center in Career Services, and McIntyre Library. Career Services has many graduate school guides, general and specific to fields, as well as catalogs from all Wisconsin and Minnesota schools.
  • Tap into alumni in the Blugold Success Stories or other networking options to talk with professionals in your field of interest.
  • Use the internet to research schools and programs and view the websites of the graduate schools in which you are interested.
  • If possible, visit the institutions and departments that interest you and talk with faculty members and currently enrolled students. This can give you an idea whether or not you are comfortable in the environment. Be sure, however, to write or call the admissions office in advance to give the person in charge a chance to set up appointments for you with faculty members and students.

Evaluate the graduate programs

Find the answers to the following questions to find the best fit for you:

  • Are any graduate faculty distinguished researchers, famous authors, excellent teachers, or well-known professionals?
  • What specializations are available?
  • Is the program accredited?
  • What research opportunities are available?
  • How large is graduate enrollment?
  • What is the cost (consider cost of living of location)?
  • What financial aid options are available?
  • How long will it take to complete the program?
  • Are there joint degree program opportunities?
  • What are the admission requirements/information?

    • Test requirements/scores
    • Undergraduate major in same subject
    • GPA range
    • Average number of applicants per year
    • Percentage of applicants accepted
    • Foreign language requirement
  • What are the degree requirements?
    • Comprehensive exam
    • Credits required
    • Thesis/dissertation
    • Foreign language
    • Residency requirement
    • Maximum time
  • Placement statistics
  • Minority/women percentage
  • Reputation/accessibility of faculty
  • Facilities (library, special needs, etc.)
  • Academic environment
  • Personal considerations

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