Since 1996 our team has been working to compile the most comprehensive listing of graduate programs available. Our service is free, and it gives you access to information on over 70,000 graduate school programs. Start your grad school search here to find doctorate (doctoral or Ph.d), masters, or graduate certificate programs. Learn about types of grad school programs, what requirements are necessary, then search by graduate degree, subject and location. You can also review accredited colleges and universities by searching our comprehensive list of graduate schools by name, by city or by state. Contact schools directly and apply today! We make your graduate school search quick and easy.
GradSchools.com helped more than 6.4 million students research programs last year. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, our degree finder above can help match you to a grad school program that aligns with your education goals and busy schedule.
Should I Go to Grad School?
Only you can answer this question but we can help by sharing several reasons why many graduate students have chosen to attend graduate school. According to Aslanian Market Research, one tried and true theme remains constant for students who wish to pursue a graduate degree. In their most recent study it remained unchanged that the primary driver for online students seeking to further their education is for career related reasons. More than 75% of respondents to their study cited career as their motive to earn a graduate degree.[vi]
Find the Right Graduate School Program
Making the decision to go to graduate school is no easy task. You will have to ask yourself a lot of questions, such as: "Do I want to earn a master's degree or PhD?" "What field of study interests me most?" "What course of academic study will help me reach my long-term career goals?" "How can I pay for this?"
This site offers resources to help you answer these questions plus a large list of graduate schools that you can contact today! Thousands of options at hundreds of accredited colleges and universities, across masters degree programs, PhD programs, and certificate programs.
According to Aslanian market Research, a career change is the #1 reason for continuing education[vi]. Despite an individual's level of educational attainment, very few people stay in the same career throughout their entire work life. Reasons for changes vary from being laid off, burn out, or change of interest. However, when the time comes to look for a new opportunity, one's past experience may not be relevant enough to switch careers without training.
Fortunately, most graduate programs do not require an applicant to have majored in the same content area. This makes it easier for someone to pursue a graduate program in a new field as long as they at least hold a bachelor's degree. Some do however have prerequisites that a student must take before matriculating; nursing is a great example here. There are direct entry MSN programs where the applicant does not need a BSN but might need to complete prerequisite math and science academic courses in order to have the foundation to handle the rigors of the program.
Differentiate yourself as a Specialist
While a profession may not require an advanced degree, it may be helpful to advance or to distinguish oneself from the pack. Some people may choose to specialize in certain areas of a particular subject such as a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) or a Masters of Taxation (MTax), MS in Strategic Human Resource Management (MSSHRM), an MS or a MHA in Gerontology just to name a few.[i]
Potential Salary Increase
While advancing in a field could sometimes lead to higher pay, attending and completing graduate school also has the potential to increase a person’s earning potential in certain fields.[ii]For example, in the education field, the level of education one obtains could determine the pay scale they are on in combination with the number of years one has worked.[iii]
If you are considering a higher education degree for this reason, be very careful to weigh the costs (including the loss of earnings if you are enrolled full time) with your potential salary after graduation. In particular, research the career center of the graduate program you are interested in, to get a feel for the job opportunities available.
Requirement for Employment
For some occupations, in order to even be considered for employment, an applicant must hold a graduate degree in their respective area. This is not only applicable for doctors and lawyers, but for professions such as Physical Therapists, Counselors, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, and Social Workers.[iv] In education, a teacher cannot become an administrator without earning a Supervisors Certificate or a MA in Educational Leadership.[i]
Did You Know?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the Fall of 2014 -- 25% of graduate students were enrolled in exclusively online courses![a]
Masters programs require the completion of a bachelor's and typically take one to two years of full time study to complete. Common types of degrees are the Masters of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS), which can be applied to a wide range of content areas. Other common types at a more subject oriented level would include the MBA, Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and Master of Social Work (MSW).
If we take a look at a subject such as Education, you can also see that there are several different types of degrees available within a subject such as the M.Ed. M.S.I, M.A.T. or M.Ad.Ed., just to name a few.
Doctoral degrees are the highest earned academic degree and can be professional or research based, sometimes referred to as academic. Even though most research based programs are doctoral programs there are still professional degrees offered at this level. Examples of research based degrees would be Doctor of Theology (ThD) or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). Examples of professional degrees would be Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.), Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Time to complete a doctoral program varies by institution and type of degree, however it is typical that a doctorate degree program can take about 4 to 6 years to complete after the Bachelors degree. If you already hold a Masters degree in that subject area it may be possible to complete your doctorate in about 3-years of full-time study.
Though not a 'type' of graduate degree, certificate programs offer many students the opportunity to gain advanced training in a specific area. They are not often required to pursue a position per se, but give alumnus added credentials that make them more marketable to future employers as well as become specialists in certain areas within their field.
Graduate School Requirements
When considering graduate school, the first thing one must do is identify which entrance exam they must take. Unlike applying to college where either the SAT or ACT is accepted at all institutions, graduate programs require different entrance exams based on the type of program one is applying to. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a general skills standardized test similar to the SAT. Like the SAT there are Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections each scored on a 200-800 point scale.
For more specialized graduate programs, specific subject-related entrance exams are required such as the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) for business, Law Admissions Test (LSAT) for Law, and the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) to attend a medical university or college.
Determine if Specialized Exams are needed
Determine if the school you are interested in requires that exam. There are schools and programs that do not require GREs or GMATs.
Fill out the application online and send your undergraduate transcript, personal essay, and letter of recommendations.[i]
If an applicant passes the paper round then they are often times brought in for an interview round. These interviews may be one-on-one or in groups. Many times graduate work involves extensive research and the admissions committee wants to ensure that a graduate student will work well with others in their respective departments.