Let's start at the beginning...
What is Graduate School?
Graduate school is a more concentrated course of study that offers advanced programs beyond a bachelor’s degree. Their programs normally focus studies in specific disciplines in order to upgrade your education, professionalism, and career opportunities. Normally, those who enroll are specifically seeking for opportunities in higher education and to pursue academic interests and careers offered beyond the normal four-year degree.
Is Graduate School Right for Me?
In some disciplines, getting a graduate degree is necessary to find a career. However, going to graduate school depends on what career you want to pursue, how much effort you’re willing to put into achieving higher education, and if you have the time to be dedicated to your studies. Entering a graduate program is an important decision that can affect your life anywhere from 1 to 7 years, so it shouldn’t be taken likely. Be sure you are aware of all your options, what certain graduate programs require, and if you’re prepared to support yourself financial, emotionally, and mentally.
What do I want to pursue in graduate school?
The majority of people expand on their bachelor’s degree by applying to the same-name programs, or something very similar. These are students who want to immerse themselves deeper into their fields and specialize in a specific discipline. However, that’s not necessary. Although it’s important to keep in mind that every graduate field has its own requirements, many students take graduate school as the opportunity to change their career paths or fields of study.
What type of degree do I want?
Depending on what your professional, educational, and career goals are, you may have to choose between a master’s degree program, a Ph.D program, and a graduate certificate. By conducting research on your intended career and the opportunities available in your field, you must determine which degree will be most useful to you.
|Master's Degree||PhD||Graduate Certificate|
|Definition||An academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study||A research-based, individualized path of study, often times leading to careers in academia and advanced research||A higher education qualification at the same level as a bachelor’s degree but more limited in scope and taking less time to complete|
|Time to Complete||1-3 years||3-5 years||1 semester-1 year|
|Application to Career||This degree is career-oriented and has a wide range of professional and academic applications||Vast knowledge on subject, allows you to be qualified for high positions in lab research, academic, or analysis-based studies||Provides supplemental education needs for professional positions|
|Benefits||Requires less time and money; will set you apart from those with only Bachelor degrees, allows specialization within a field; works as a method to change career paths||Provides academic and research tenure positions at universities; helpful in a competitive job market; fulfills requirements for professor positions; work requires original research that contributes new information to the field; meaningful contribution to field of study||Quick gain of specific professional credentials in order to advance careers; building information on undergraduate degrees; gaining new skill sets to modify or change careers; serve as a gateway to a master’s degree program|