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Why should you attend a Graduate School?

Students choose to go to grad school for many reasons. Now in 2017, it seems as though graduate degrees are more important than ever for students of the millennial generation to secure a satisfying, compensating career. Indeed, many jobs and employers will pay for their recently hired employees to return to school for a graduate degree. This is usually for the purpose of gaining a specialization in a certain subject area that will benefit them in their career.

Top 3 reasons to attend a graduate school

  • To gain specialization in a specific subject or area
  • To qualify for a higher level career
  • To enrich oneself beyond the undergraduate degree

Ultimately, this is why anyone would attend graduate school: to learn more about a subject that perhaps in their undergrad years was not fully covered. The desire to be hirable is not the only reason people attend graduate school, of course. Many students are driven by the simple desire to know more, about one subject or many.

While the vast majority of people attending graduate school finish after receiving a master’s degree, some choose to go further and attempt to achieve a PhD, or a doctorate.

A master’s degree is typically a one to three year course of study aimed at specialization in a certain subject. The master’s is the terminal degree for most careers requiring a graduate degree.

How is phd different than a Graduate program?

Phd is the doctorate degree in any field. A PhD or The Doctor of Philosophy, is the highest degree of education offered by Universities.

PhD degree would qualify you as an expert or an authority on a certain, specialized topic within a field. This too would qualify you to be a professor at a university or college, which is the ultimate goal for many people seeking this degree, as it allows them a certain amount of autonomy in continuing to research and publish and gain status in their field.

For careers like being a doctor or a lawyer, a specific kind of graduate school is required, known as medical school or law school, respectively.

These will require specialized placement exams beyond the typical GRE that most schools require for admission into a grad program. Ultimately, students choose to go to grad school for the purpose of gaining specialization in a certain subject or topic that might relate to a future career.

Find more about the Phd programs

Scholarship and Financial Aid to afford Graduate School

As is the case when applying to undergraduate programs, both scholarships and financial aid are available for most graduate programs. The scholarships offered to graduate students are as diverse as the programs themselves. Certain schools might offer a specific scholarship for the program, usually for a program in a highly specialized field, while others offer no kind of scholarship whatsoever. There are, however, many independent scholarships available for students to pay for graduate school.

These scholarships are unassociated with any college or university in particular and are usually distributed by an individual group or company.

These are typically applied for by students or individuals that meet a given criteria. As for financial aid, students and applicants have potential for more opportunities. The biggest difference when filling out the FAFSA for graduate school compared to undergrad is that the applicant will file as an independent student. This makes the process much more streamlined, as you will not have to supply your parents’ financial information.

Rather, the information will be all your own financial background information. This is the only way a graduate student will be granted federal aid.

Applying to Graduate School

The application process for graduate school is very similar to the process you went through for undergrad in your senior year of high school.The process will differ on type of program you are applying and the University you are applying to.

Step by Step Guide for applying to Graduate School

The application will likely ask you to write a statement of purpose. This is much like a cover letter for applying to a job. Essentially, it functions to describe your reasons for applying to the program.

This is one of the very important part of application and you should have read about the program you are applying. Only then you can give an honest answer as to why you are applying to this particular school program.

Sample statement of purpose for Graduate School Application

Recommendation Letter for Graduate School Application : You will need a recommendation letter for your graduate school application. Almost all programs will require you to include at least two letters of recommendation.

These are extremely important parts of your application, as a teacher’s opinion can make the difference between your being accepted or denied from the program.

Resume For Application: Resume is another important document required by most graduate school programs.You should take the time to prepare your resume so that it reflects and highlights everything you see as applicable to the program that might increase your chances of acceptance. Thus, your resume should be tailored to the program that you are applying to, for example if you are hoping to be accepted to medical school, be sure to include any hospital volunteering you’ve done, relevant upper level biology classes, etc. Be sure to go into detail about your academic history

Resume Example for Graduate School Application

GRE for Graduate Schools

Most Graduate schools expect you to take GRE. Find helpful resources and practice Test for GRE.

GRE Practice Test

Find Graduate schools Based on GRE Score

We have one of the unique features where in you can search for graduate schools based on your GRE score. Enter you GRE score, area of studny and our program tries to best match with the university.

Based on your subject of choice, you will also get a list of universities which do not ask for a minimum GRE.

Find Graduate Schools based on GRE Score

What are Graduate programs?

Because they are both in higher education, graduate programs are very similar to undergraduate ones. Your bachelor's degree can be extended through a graduate program, which calls for you to devote at least two to four years—and occasionally even longer—to furthering your education. Master's, Master of Fine Arts, and Ph.D. programs are only a few of the graduate degrees available.

Is the graduate program Masters and/or PHD?

Typically, an educational program that comes after earning a bachelor's degree and leads to a higher level of academic certification is referred to as a graduate program. Different levels of degrees, such as master's and doctoral degrees (PHD), can be pursued within graduate programs.

An advanced degree, the master's, is often earned following the bachelor's. As opposed to this, a doctoral degree, sometimes known as a PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), is the pinnacle of education. Although certain programs may accept applicants straight from a bachelor's degree, PHD is often pursued after a master's degree.

How to compare graduate programs?

Choosing the graduate program that best suits your aims and preferences requires comparing several programs. When contrasting graduate programs, bear the following important considerations in mind:

  1. Reputation of the Program: Consider the university's and the program's general standing and reputation. Take into account elements including the program's history, faculty credentials, research accomplishments, and alumni success.
  2. Curriculum and Specializations: Examine each program's curriculum to see if it offers the particular specializations or areas of study that you are interested in. Take into account the curriculum's adaptability, the variety of courses provided, and whether or not there are prospects for interdisciplinary study.
  3. Research Opportunities: Take a look at the program's available research opportunities if you're interested in conducting research.
  4. Faculty: Research the qualifications, areas of specialization, and areas of interest of the program's instructors. Look for professors that have experience in your field of study and who are actively involved in research or partnerships with businesses.
  5. Alumni Network and Success: Examine the successes and accomplishments of the program's alumni by looking at their networks. Look for signs like as career progression, job placements, and the size of alumni networks that might offer networking and mentoring opportunities.
  6. Resources and Facilities: Evaluate the resources, such as libraries, labs, computing facilities, and other research or educational resources, that are available to graduate students. Take into account the financial options, scholarships, and assistantships that can help you pay for your study.
  7. Location and Lifestyle: Take into account the university's location and whether it suits your preferences and way of life. Consider elements like the cost of living, the local weather, the distance to business or employment centers, and the availability of leisure and cultural activities.
  8. Program Culture and Support: Take into account the program's culture and the level of student support offered. Seek out initiatives that promote teamwork and support, provide mentorship opportunities, and offer tools for professional growth.

CollegeHippo helps you in comparing the graduate programs and the universities offering them. You can use our new tool Match Me With Masters Programs by easily filling out some fields.

Can you quit and resume your graduate program at any time?

Depending on the precise rules and specifications of the program and the university, different graduate programs may have different procedures for leaving and returning. A break or withdrawal from a graduate program may have an impact on your academic status and progress toward finishing the program because graduate programs often have a fixed timeframe and progression.

For personal or medical reasons, several colleges permit students to take a formal leave of absence. This enables students to momentarily put their academic pursuits on hold without formally leaving the program. It's crucial to confirm with the program or university about their unique policies as the length and terms of the leave may differ.

You must also note that the financial repercussions can result from taking a vacation or leaving a graduate program, including possible loss of funds, scholarships, or assistantships. Be sure to think about the financial repercussions and speak with the relevant university authorities to comprehend the impact on your financial status.

How difficult is it to get into top-ranked graduate schools?

Due to fierce competition and strict admission requirements, getting into top-ranked graduate institutions can be fairly difficult. The degree of difficulty varies based on the program, the school, and the area of study. However, the most prestigious graduate programs typically have very strict entrance requirements and draw in a pool of applicants who are extraordinarily well-qualified.

High-ranking graduate programs frequently have demanding academic standards. It is usual for them to demand that applicants have excellent undergraduate records, such as a high GPA, pertinent coursework, and good letters of recommendation. Depending on the school, standardized exam results like the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT are taken into account by the admissions committee.

When should you go to graduate school?

Graduate school enrollment is a personal choice that should be in line with your objectives, passions, and situation. You should think about a few things before making a choice in order to ascertain the best moment for you.

  • Determine whether a graduate degree is required or advantageous for your selected field by considering your career goals. A graduate degree may be necessary for progression or entrance into specific positions in some professions. Others, in contrast, might place a higher value on opportunities for professional development or job experience than continuing their education.
  • Candidates having a lot of work experience may be preferred by some degree programs, such as MBA or executive programs. In these situations, working in your profession prior to pursuing higher education might improve your application to graduate school and offer helpful background and ideas for your studies.
  • You should assess your financial condition to see if you can afford the expenditures of graduate education. This covers living expenses, tuition, and perhaps giving up a full-time job. To lessen the financial strain, look into alternatives for financial aid, scholarships, grants, and assistantships.
  • Take into account your unique circumstances, such as family obligations, the viability of relocating, and personal objectives. It's critical to consider if you can juggle the responsibilities of your academics with your personal life because graduate school can be a time-consuming activity.

Do you need work experience to enroll in graduate school?

Depending on the degree and subject of study, different graduate schools have different requirements for work experience. Work experience is frequently highly appreciated and may be a requirement for admission in some areas, such as commerce (MBA programs) or public administration. However, employment experience is not usually required or expected in other professions, such as the sciences, humanities, or social sciences.

Many graduate students believe that their inability to obtain work experience prevents them from enrolling in their preferred graduate program. According to the type of master's degree you wish to acquire, one or two years of work experience may not necessarily be required.

How many credits to get a graduate degree?

Credit hours, which represent the amount of time spent in class or participating in academic activities, are the standard unit of measurement for graduate degrees. Between 30 and 60 credits are commonly needed for master's degree programs. Depending on the subject of study, program structure (such as a thesis or non-thesis option), and whether the program is full-time or part-time, the precise number of credits might vary greatly. And compared to master's programs, doctorate programs, like a Ph.D., typically demand more credit hours. Depending on the area of study, the amount of required research, and the amount of dissertation labor, the number of credits needed for a Ph.D. might range from 60 to 90 or more.

It's also important to remember that completing a graduate degree involves more than just completing the required credit hours. Graduate programs frequently include research, comprehensive exams, internships, fieldwork, and a thesis or dissertation component in addition to coursework, all of which contribute to the degree requirements.

Can you complete grad school in 1 year?

Yes, it is possible to complete certain graduate programs in one year. It's crucial to keep in mind that one-year programs are frequently specialized or accelerated and created to deliver an intense and focused curriculum in a shorter amount of time.

For instance, one-year or accelerated options may be available for professional graduate degrees, such as an MBA (Master of Business Administration). These programs are made for those who have certain academic backgrounds or a lot of prior work experience, enabling them to finish their degrees faster. Certain research-based master's programs may offer the option to finish the degree in one year, especially if the student has prior research experience or applicable undergraduate research credits.

For example, the online Master’s in Physician Assistant offered by Pace University can be taken part-time which requires 30 credits and can be completed in 12 months. And some online master's programs offered by Stony Brook University can also be completed in just a year.

Find more One Year Master's Programs.

How can I find part-time graduate programs?

Quite a few graduate programs are designed for working professionals and that is why they are offered as part-time programs or online programs. you would have to look for these programs in your town and see if the colleges are offering these part-time programs or not. Collegehippo is based out of Boston and we know that some of the most famous institutions here offer part-time graduate programs like Boston University, Harvard, MIT, and Northeastern University. A regular graduate degree might take you to es to complete while a part-time one can take 3 years and that is a slight disadvantage but the biggest benefit is that you don't have to quit your job so you are not losing the income for those two full years when you are studying

What are the most popular Graduate programs?

Graduate degrees can be popular in different places and at different times. Some fields, however, routinely draw a sizable number of graduate students. The most popular graduate programs in the USA are Business Administration (MBA), Computer Science, Medicine and Healthcare, Psychology and Counseling, Education, Social Sciences, and Engineering.

It is crucial to keep in mind that factors like business trends, demand on the labor market, and societal demands can also have an impact on how popular graduate programs are. Additionally, a program's acceptance may differ regionally and according to the standing of the institutions that provide it.

Can you transfer to colleges for Graduate programs?

People move, change jobs, and things can happen. Graduate schools understand that this is not a common phenomenon in life but does happen and that is why they allow the transfer of students from one program to another. They might not accept all the credits that you have accumulated in the previous programs but they will consider your application. some graduate schools very clearly Define that they accept their students and for others, you will have to submit an application.

Do Graduate schools accept transfer credits?

The policies of graduate schools regarding the acceptance of transfer credits differ. Some graduate programs might only take a few transfer credits, while others might not accept any at all. In the end, it depends on the particular regulations of the graduate program and the course you're interested in.

It's crucial to examine and comprehend the unique transfer credit procedures of the institutions and programs you're interested in if you're thinking about transferring credits to a graduate school. It is also important to keep in mind that even if transfer credits are accepted, the overall number of credits needed to get a graduate degree might not be greatly lowered. Regardless of transfer credits, graduate programs often have a standardized curriculum and standards that all students must meet.

For example, Huntington University allows transfer credits from students with GPAs higher than 2.67 for the MBA program. And The University of Texas at Austin allows students to transfer credits in Computer Science programs if they have a minimum GPS score of 2.0.

Do you always have to write a thesis or dissertation to get a Graduate degree?

Some graduate programs do expect thesis completion as the requirement to get your degree. but again this is something that depends from college to college and program to program. We have seen recently that colleges are moving away from thesis being a part of the degree. Here is the list of accredited universities that don’t require a thesis for an online master's program which includes Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, North Carolina State University at Raleigh, and Rice University.

What is a Capstone Project in a Graduate degree program?

In a Master's program, a capstone project or capstone experience entails the identification of an existing problem in a practical environment and the application of taught skills and techniques to create a solution that directly solves the issue. It's a rare chance to conduct an autonomous group study and come up with creative answers. The advantage of having Capstone experiences throughout a Master's program is that they frequently require considerable work done outside of the classroom during internship experiences or time spent in scientific inquiry. This raises the rigor of the program and provides the students an experience in working with real-world problems. 

Graduate students' capstone projects are complex bodies of work that enhance their academic and intellectual development. The graduate capstone provides a chance for graduate students to professionally apply what they have studied. Graduate students will have the opportunity to address a personal or social issue, a real-world business issue, or an entrepreneurial opportunity that is directly relevant to their chosen subject of study through the project.

For more details, see What is Capstone Project for Master’s Programs?

Can you get scholarships and Grants for Graduate programs?

It is a myth that Graduate programs are not eligible for scholarships and financial aid. There are scholarships offered by external sources like NSF GRFP Google Amazon and then Scholarships in your respective field of study by some non-profit organizations. Colleges do offer financial aid but most of this Aid is need-based rather than merit-based. At CollegeHippo, we have identified and vetted close to 700 sources of scholarships available for graduate students. Some of the scholarships are Leo W. and Alberta V. Thomas Utz Scholarship - Math, Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarship, Linda Lentz Hubert Grant, Greenwall Fellowship in Bioethics, and PCI Women in STEM Scholarship.

What are employer sponsor graduate programs?

Graduate programs are designed for working professionals and sometimes employers do sponsor a part of your education cost. If you're doing a part-time graduate program then you will probably take two to three years to complete the degree and the employers can pay around $15,000 to $25,000 per year, depending on where you're working and that would cover close to 80% or 100% of your tuition for that year. you do have to maintain a minimum GPA and computer degree and sometimes there might be a contract with the employer that you cannot leave the company after getting your degree since they are paying for the cost of education but otherwise, it's a fairly simple process. check out your employer and see if they offer this benefit.

What kind of career growth do you expect after getting a graduate degree? How does a Graduate degree help you in your career?

Graduate programs go into more depth on particular topics, giving you expanded knowledge and skills in your area of study. This specific expertise can increase your employability and qualify you for higher-level professions that call for more in-depth knowledge of the field. 

It's also crucial to remember that the value of a graduate degree in your career might also depend on elements like the sector, the state of the labor market, and the particular roles you are aiming for. Before deciding to seek a graduate degree, it is crucial to thoroughly explore your career goals, investigate the requirements of your selected field, and evaluate how a graduate degree matches your desires.

Some of the professions require an advanced degree of the preferred candidate with an advanced degree. A good example is in the field of Education where it is always preferred for an advanced degree in education if you want to rise the ranks in the Education Administration.

Another example is for machine learning and for data scientists who are constantly looking for PHD and graduate students who will spend years researching and learning advanced concepts.

How to find top graduate programs for Women and Minorities?

The importance of Top Graduate Programs for Women and Minorities is rising as universities and colleges work to foster a more welcoming and varied atmosphere. These initiatives are made to give minorities and women the chance to excel in both their academic and professional endeavors.

Graduate programs with a strong emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion are some of the finest for women and minorities. These programs could include financial aid or scholarships tailored to women and minorities, as well as networking and mentoring possibilities. Additionally, these courses and research opportunities could cover subjects like social justice, racial and cultural diversity, and gender.

Top graduate programs for women and minorities include,

  1. UCLA Anderson School of Management's Riordan MBA Fellows Program: This program is meant to help underrepresented minorities who want to get an MBA. It contains professional resources, leadership training, and mentoring.
  2. Harvard Kennedy School's Women and Public Policy Program: The goal of this program is to provide women with the information and abilities needed to be successful in leadership positions in the public policy and governmental sectors. Coursework, research possibilities, and networking occasions are all part of it.
  3. University of Michigan's Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program: This initiative aims to advance gender equality in STEM professions. It consists of outreach initiatives, professional development, and mentoring.
  4. Georgetown University's Institute for Women, Peace, and Security: The goal of this program is to encourage women to take part in peace and security efforts. It consists of outreach, policy analysis, and research projects.

Overall, the best graduate programs are those that give underrepresented groups the chance to excel and prosper in their academic and professional endeavors. They provide networking opportunities, mentorship, and resources that are especially created to meet the particular difficulties that minorities and women confront.

What are the different dual-degree graduate programs available to students for interdisciplinary learning?

Graduate programs that provide advanced students the chance to simultaneously obtain two degrees are known as dual degree programs. There are several different dual-degree programs available to students, including dual master's, dual PHD, and dual master's programs. Graduate programs that offer dual degrees are a fantastic method for students to complete both degrees at once or to transfer credits from one degree to the other. 

Some examples of dual-degree graduate programs that promote interdisciplinary education include JD/MBA (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), MD/PHD (Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy), MBA/MS in Data Science, JD/MSW (Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work), MBA/MPH (Master of Business Administration/Master of Public Health), MS in Engineering/MBA, MA/MS in International Relations/JD, and PHD/MSW (Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Social Work).

Do I need to focus on a research-focused curriculum while choosing a graduate program?

When choosing a graduate program, one of the biggest considerations for students is the research opportunities available to them. When considering a graduate program, look for one with a research-focused curriculum that gives you exposure to publishable research, the opportunity to present your own research at conferences, and one that will help you develop and practice the skills needed to become a successful, independent researcher.

Some of the graduate programs known for their emphasis on research include the following:

  1. Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing: These programs place a strong emphasis on the creation of original works as well as the improvement of writing abilities through rigorous workshops. For their final project, many students write a thesis or other creative work after conducting an in-depth study to hone their craft.
  2. Master of Architecture (MArch) or PHD in Architecture: These programs offer in-depth research options in architecture and allied subjects. Through research-based projects and theses, students examine cutting-edge design principles, sustainability, historic preservation, and urban planning.
  3. Master of Economics (MScEcon) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics: These degree programs focus on research in a variety of economic theories, models, and policy analyses. Through their dissertations or research articles, students do independent studies and add to the body of economic literature.

What does HBCU stand for?

Institutions of higher learning in the United States that were founded prior to 1964, when formal segregation was still in place, are known as historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). The goal of these institutions is to educate African Americans. 

HBCUs have a long history and have been crucial in ensuring that African Americans have access to higher education, especially during periods of racial segregation and limited opportunity. HBCUs still serve a diverse student body today while placing a strong emphasis on African American culture, history, and accomplishment. These institutions were established as a result of the significant limitations placed on black people's access to employment and educational opportunities by racial discrimination-enforcing segregation laws.

How to pick a Graduate program?

Choosing a graduate program might be difficult. There are a lot of things to think about, including your interests, future job aspirations, location, and academic specialization, to mention a few. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that your choice will have a significant impact on the course of your career, so take your time and choose the institution that is the best fit for you. There are numerous factors to take into account, but there are also actions you may do to simplify the process.

At CollegeHippo it’s very easy to find graduate programs. We have listed out all the graduate programs offered by the top accredited universities in the USA.

Search for the program you are interested in. Find a graduate program

What is a low GPA in Master's?

Generally, colleges expect a minimum GPA score of 3.5 from the students for graduate admissions. But, you can't consider all the scores below 3.5 are low, because there are universities that even accept a GPA score of 2.5.

So, a GPA score below 3.5 can be considered a low GPA and a score below 2.5 can be considered as a very low GPA score.

How does the low GPA scores affect Masters program admissions?

GPA is one of the main admission requirements for graduate universities. To get into high-ranking universities you need to have a good GPA score. A good GPA gets you admission to a good university. And the GPA scores even affect your chances of getting scholarships and grants.