The Graduate School Guide

We’ve helped over 6.4 million students research graduate programs last year alone! If you’re looking to pursue a graduate education, we can help you find affordable academic programs amidst thousands of accredited graduate schools. There are a lot of compelling reasons to pursue an advanced degree. A graduate education can help you gain the skills and knowledge to differentiate yourself, and it may open more opportunities for career advancement. That said, graduate school is a big investment both in terms of time and money. It’s important to be informed when making your decision and think about your long-term goals both personally and professionally. Be sure to choose a field of study that suits your personality, as well as your academic and career goals. Additionally, determine whether an online degree or traditional campus experience would fit your lifestyle. Once you’ve made those decisions, it’s time to pick a few schools and request information about the specific programs your interested in. We’re here to guide you along the way!

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5 Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by Prospective Graduate Students

The decision on whether to attend grad school can be a tough one. Before making that decision, it’s crucial that you reflect on your reasons for continuing your education. It’s equally important to understand what pursuing an advanced degree involves. Below, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions by prospective graduate students. Our goal is to help you get a better grasp on the admissions process, the types of grad degree options available to you, costs and more.

What are the Admissions Requirements for Graduate Programs?

Every graduate school will have different requirements for their institution and your particular degree program. It’s important to request information from a school to learn more about their unique program requirements. However, in general, there are three key requirements that remain fairly consistent from school to school, including a Statement of Purpose (Personal Statement), Letters of Recommendation, and an Entrance exam. Learn More about these common requirements.

How Long will it take to Complete an Advanced Degree?

The short answer is, it depends. There are many factors that will contribute to the length of time it takes to complete a degree program. These include the type of degree program you opt for, the total number of credits required, whether you’re attending on a full-time or part-time basis, and the total number of courses you take per semester. Still have questions? We have answers.

What Types of Graduate Degrees are available?

There are many different types of programs for graduate study. Each offers specialized training for particular career goals. Degrees may be considered either academic or professional in nature. Academic Degrees, such as Master of Arts (M.A), Master of Science, (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy are research focused. Where as Professional Degrees stress the practical application of knowledge and skills. Examples include: business (M.B.A.), education (M.Ed., Ed.D.), engineering (M.Eng.), psychology (PsyD), nursing (DNP), and law (J.D.). Figuring out which degree type is right for you can be a bit daunting, our Degree Guide can help you sort out the various options.

How much does Graduate School Cost?

The cost of a graduate education can vary greatly from school to school. Some schools may charge a cost per credit, while other’s have flat rate tuition. There are other factors that also come into play, like whether you’re going to a public or private university and whether you’re enrolling as an in-state or out-of-state student. The bottom line is that in order to get a clear picture of price, you’ll need to request specific information from your school of choice. However, If cost is a major concern for you, check out these Master’s programs with cost per credit under $500.

How do I Finance a Grad Program?

Grad students can fund their education in a variety of ways. Financial aid is often based on merit and/or financial need. Availability of financial aid for graduate and professional students may vary by school, program and/or eligibility. In general, graduate financial aid options could consist of a combination of scholarships and grants, fellowships, assistantships, work-study, tuition-discounts and/or student loans. Visit our Financial Aid Guide for more detailed information.

Featured Graduate Schools

Graduate Earning Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who earned a Master’s degree in 2019 earned about $27,456 more per year when compared to all workers; and people who earned a Doctorate degree in 2019 earned about $47,528 more per year when compared to all workers.

Grad School 101

While an undergraduate degree is marked by generalist coursework, graduate coursework typically entails more highly-focused studies and research in a chosen discipline. To this end, many grad programs encourage students to narrow down their interests through a concentration. This focal area is often used to anchor independent research, internship experience, supervised practice and/or teaching. Learn more about the basics of grad school and view a comprehensive list of Graduate Majors.

MA, MS, MSW,MFA, MEd, MBA Programs

What Type Of Masters Degree Is Right For You?

Are you ready to commit the next one to two years taking a deep dive into a particular subject area? Considering an MBA? Check out our Admissions Guide to learn more about the MBA enrollment process.

Masters vs a PhD

The ins and outs of these degree types and why you might choose one over the other

Covid19 Impacts on Grad Students

The novel coronavirus known as Covid19 has affected the lives of grad students in numerous ways.

Advice for Prospective Graduate Students

Ok, you’ve researched your preferred degree program, and have applied to multiple schools. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of your chosen school’s application process. Most grad programs are looking for candidates who’ve excelled in their academic and professional lives, and who now want to become experts in a given field. It’s not enough to just be qualified to enroll in graduate studies; you have to stand out in order to be admitted, and ultimately to thrive, at the grad level. Our Student Guide offers tons of articles to help you set yourself apart. Once you get passed the admissions process, you’ll need to figure out how you are going to finance your higher education degree, so be sure to check out our Financial Aid Guide as well.

Interview Questions

It is possible you may be required to take part in a one on one or group interview. Show ’em what a stellar candidate you are by preparing your answers to some of the more commonly asked questions by colleges.

Top 4 Reasons Graduate Students Seek An Advanced Degree

#1 Career Change

According to a recent Aslanian Market Research report, more than 80% of respondents cited a career change as the #1 reason for continuing education. The reality is, when looking for a new job, past experience may not be relevant enough to switch careers without going back to school.

Fortunately, most advanced academic programs do not require an applicant to have majored in the same content area, which makes it easier for someone to pursue graduate studies in a new field as long as they at least hold a bachelor’s degree.

#2 Professional Development

While a profession may not require an advanced degree, it may be helpful to advance or to distinguish yourself from the pack. 

Some business school students choose to specialize in certain areas such as a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) or a Masters of Taxation (MTax), or an MS in Strategic Human Resource Management (MSSHRM) just to name a few.

While a four-year bachelor’s degree used to be enough to reach most career goals, in today’s world a graduate degree may set you apart.

#3 Potential Salary Increase

Naturally advancing in a career could lead to higher pay, however, the attainment of a graduate degree also has the potential to increase earning potential in certain fields. 

For example, in the education field, the degree you’ve earned, combined with previous work experience, could determine your pay scale.

If you are considering graduate school for this reason, weigh the costs of education (including the loss of earnings if you go to school full time) with your potential salary after graduation.

#4 Required For a Position

It is common understanding that practice-based doctorates are required for highly regarded careers, like Medicine (MD) or Law (JD). 

But, it is also true for other professions as well! It is quite typical that a teacher can’t become an administrator without earning a Supervisors Certificate or a MA in Education Leadership.[iv]

And it doesn’t stop there, the same can be true in other fields, like Physical Therapy, Counseling, Psychology, Occupational Therapy, and the Social Sciences.

Top Masters Programs

(Source: NCES)

Business, Management, Marketing
Business Administration
Engineering
Social Work
Education (General)
Accounting
Education Leadership
Gradschools Most Popular: Psychology

Top PhD Programs

(Source: NCES)

Law
Medicine
Pharmacy
Physical Therapy
Engineering
Physical Sciences
Dentistry
Gradschools Most Popular: Psychology

Top Psychology Masters Programs

(Source:  NCES)

General Psychology
Counseling Pyschology
School Psychology
Clinical Psychology
Educational Psychology
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Applied Behavior Analysis

Not Sure What to Study?

Our Degree Guide is designed to help you navigate through the many Degree options Graduate School has to offer. 

Top 5 Barriers Prospective Students Face

Finding the right graduate school is not easy for everyone. Life happens, and for various reasons some folks may face challenges they think may prevent them from becoming a graduate student. We have extensively researched these biggest pain points and are happy to say, you do have options! Here is our list of top 5 resolutions to your biggest issues.

No GRE Required. Seriously.

Didn’t do so well on the GRE (or just don’t want to take it?), no problem! Check out our lists of no GRE and Low Score GRE graduate school options.