A graduate degree is an advanced academic degree that generally requires students to have earned an undergraduate degree (bachelor’s degree). A graduate degree might take the form of a master’s degree, doctoral degree, or first professional degree. Each degree is granted by a graduate school after successful completion of the individual program requirements.
A graduate degree could provide a pathway for students to study a subject in depth, conduct research in their technical field, and build professional skills. Often referred to as ‘advanced degrees’, graduate degrees could be earned in many areas. They can calso be earned across different credentials. Graduate Certificate verses a Masters Degree. Or, a Masters vs PhD.
Many graduate schools also offer joint Masters and PhD programs. Others, offer dual programs such as a Dual MBA. You may also be able to earn your bachelors along the way to earning your masters.
With so many options, it is natural to wonder how to choose a graduate program. Whether investing years of your time and money earning a masters degree or a PhD 'is worth it'. Which occupations might you need a master's for?
Use this graduate degree guide to navigate the important decisions about your future. Then research grad schools to see which ones fit your goals.
Admission requirements vary greatly, for example, some graduate schools do not require an application fee, while others do. Give yourself some time to do your ‘homework’, and talk to an advisor to help gather information about each school's application form and procedure. Often you could fill most forms out online, but you might need to mail sealed transcripts, so read the fine print. Furthermore, sometimes applicants must apply to their intended program and this could involve separate forms, permission from faculty or even prerequisite courses. Other material you may have to submit could include the following. Please make sure to refer to individual schools.
Test scores (e.g. GRE, PRAXIS) Letters of recommendation Current resume, work experience Valid licenses (e.g. teaching license) Statement of goals Writing sample or example of published work
Graduate degrees involve a lot of time and commitment, and your degree should reflect a clear sense of purpose. However, there are many considerations when choosing the right graduate program.
Graduate Degrees are among the most diverse type of academic degree you can find, with different specialisations and majors, as well as different learning objectives.It can all be a bit daunting, so we've put together this quick degree guide to help you sort out the options, so you can make the most informed decision possible.
Practitioner-Focused Graduate Degrees
Graduate degrees such as a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) are practitioner-focused. These grad degrees highlight skills and methods needed to practice professionally in a certain field.
Students who pursue this type of degree take structured courses and may be required to take part in an internship or practice. To culminate their degree requirements, students may have to complete a capstone project or comprehensive exam where they demonstrate what they have learned throughout the course of their studies. Typically, their work highlights an issue in their field and some type of practical solution for it.
Research-Focused Graduate Degrees
Some graduate degrees, such as a master’s (with thesis option) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) are research-focused. While students engage with course material through things like lectures, seminars and lab work, they also could conduct some independent research.
Individuals who pursue research-oriented grad degrees could therefore learn how to form a hypothesis, conduct experiments, design surveys, collect and analyze data. This data and the research methods they use for their inquiry could then become the focus for a research project. Masters level research is often called a thesis, whereas doctoral research is called a dissertation. Each of these final pieces of scholarly writing are usually based on original thought.
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