What Should I Study to Work In a Specific Field

what should i study in grad school Are you looking to earn a graduate degree, but can’t decide what to study? The question 'What Should I Study in Grad School' is a common one, especially as many fields don’t require that you earned an undergraduate degree in the same field as the one you want to enter.

Discover a list of careers below and graduate schools that offer a degree that may help you enter that field below.

What Should I Study in Grad School if I Want to Work at a Tech Giant?

Computer and Information Research Scientists (Data Scientists)

2018 Median Annual Salary: $114,520

Job Outlook (2016 – 2026): 19%

How to Become One: Master’s degree (bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some fields)

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), typically data scientists have a master’s degree in computer science or in a related field, such as business information systems or information technology. Plus, demand from the tech giants, as well as other fields, such as pharmaceuticals and marketing, are driving the increased demand.

That demand is translating to graduate degrees. In fact, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council Application Trends Survey Report in 2017, 74% of big data courses in the US reported increased demand compared to 32% of two-year, full-time MBA programs.

Many data science and computer science graduate programs look for applicants with strong backgrounds in mathematics, computer science, and applied statistics. That foundation is built upon through a curriculum designed to:

  • Teach automated analytical skills
  • Collect and process data
  • Design the best method to solve the problem
  • Data to implement a solution

Two of our partner schools that offer master’s degrees in data science are listed below. Or, discover 10 Master’s in Machine Learning Programs.

Utica College

Through courses that teach strong analytical skills and expertise in research methods, the MS in Data Science programs at Utica emphasize research design and the critical evaluation of data. In addition to the regular program, the school also offers four concentrations:

St. John’s University

The Data Mining and Predictive Analysis, M.S. at St. John’s teaches powerful statistical and data mining techniques to large data sets so students can examine and apply methods of generating useful information, identifying patterns and trends, and building predictive models.

What Degree You Should Get if You Want to Work on Wall Street

Financial Analyst

2018 Median Annual Salary: $84,300

Job Outlook (2016 – 2026): 11%

How to Become One: Bachelor’s degree

Typically, you only need a bachelor’s degree to pursue a career as a financial analyst and many employers recommend that you earn a certification, which may improve your chances for advancement.

In order to earn Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute, you need a bachelor’s degree, four years of qualified experience, and to pass three exams.

Many master’s programs in finance are designed to prepare you to sit for the CFA exams, though that’s not the only benefit. Other key topics include:

  • Theoretical and practical foundations in corporate finance and valuation
  • Corporate governance
  • Importance of transparency
  • Securities analysis and investments

Check out the sponsored schools below and learn how to apply! Or, learn about 10 Online Master’s in Finance No GMAT Required.

Sacred Heart University

At Sacred Heart, they know that finance has evolved and now places greater emphasis on quantitative techniques for asset valuation and risk management. As a result, the Master of Science in Finance and Investment Management incorporates these techniques, as well as enhanced financial theories and cutting-edge practical theories.

Grand Canyon University

The Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance at GCU examines the research and application of quantitative methods that transform raw data into useful information. Key topics include the elements of financial business decisions, management of working capital, and raising funds in capital markets.

What to Study if You Want to Be an Executive

Top Executives

2018 Median Annual Salary: $104,700

Job Outlook (2016 – 2026): 8%

How to Become One: Bachelor’s degree, though many have an MBA, especially in larger corporations

It’s no surprise that earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the keys to becoming a top executive. While this is by no means a requirement, the curriculum and coursework is specifically designed to prepare students for leadership and executive roles through:

  • Analysis of case studies
  • Evaluating strategies of many different kinds of companies
  • Analyzing the cost of bringing a new product to market
  • Effective ways to cut expenses

In addition to many other topics, these form the foundation upon which decision-making and management skills are honed. These skills and knowledge are in high demand, and has led to the MBA as the most popular graduate degree, with more than 186,000 being awarded in 2015-2016 according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Learn about two partner schools that offer an MBA below or continue reading about online MBA with no GMAT required.

George Mason University

In order to prepare students for the diverse skill set required in the modern global marketplace, the Master of Business Administration at George Mason uses a curriculum based on a global perspective, industry demand, and leadership.

Purdue University Global

With a curriculum developed by a select panel of global business professionals and that uses international business case studies as unique examples, the Master of Business Administration at Purdue University Global teaches how to understand global issues and how to manage relationships across cultures.

Purdue University Global also offers:

What Should I Study in Grad School if I Want to Save Lives?

Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

2018 Median Annual Salary: $110,930

Job Outlook (2016 – 2026): 31%

How to Become One: Master’s degree

While there are plenty of positions to choose in healthcare, one of the most popular and most in-demand careers according to the BLS is advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) or nurse anesthetists, nurse midwifes, or nurse practitioners.

There are restrictions, such as earning a master’s degree (usually a Master of Science in Nursing) and passing a national certification exam, however these are only to meet the needs of today’s rapidly evolving health care industry.

Plus, this career path offers a number of options so you can pursue the option that suits your goals best so you can decide the how you want to help others. Check out two sponsored schools with MSN programs or discover 13 Online MSN Programs No GRE Required.

University of Southern California

Designed for students with a BSN, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at USC incorporates evidence-based nursing to help students develop comprehensive skills to deliver effective treatment and preventative care.

University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

With four available concentrations, the Master of Science (MSN) at University of St. Augustine is an innovative, career-focused program. The clinical and practice-based health science curriculum provides students access to nursing faculty members who are nurse leaders in practice and education.

What to Study if You Want to Create Better Infrastructure

Civil Engineer

2018 Median Annual Salary: $84,770

Job Outlook (2016 – 2026): 11%

How to Become One: Bachelor’s degree, though you usually need a graduate degree and a license for promotion to senior positions

With more than 51,000 master’s in engineering degrees conferred in 2015-16, the field in general, and civil engineering in particular, is expected to grow at an above average pace. This is at least partly due to the fact that the U.S. infrastructure is aging and will need to be replaced or rebuilt.

This infrastructure includes bridges, roads, levees, dams, airports, buildings, and other structures. Plus, the growing population will require new water systems and more waste treatment plants, as well as for the increase in renewable energy sources such as wind farms and solar arrays.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a civil engineer, check out two of our partner schools below.

University of Louisville

The University of Louisville offers an online MS in Civil Engineering designed exclusively for professionals with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. These program focuses on industry trends, as well as the technical knowledge for advancement.

Temple University

In addition to building on your existing technical and practical skills, the MS in Civil Engineering at Temple University focuses on the skills needed to build and maintain the infrastructure of the modern world, but also to develop the geotechnical and structural skills required for responsible engineering.

What to Study if You Want to Work as a Federal Investigator

FBI Agent (Police and Detectives – Federal)

2018 Median Annual Salary: $84,660

Job Outlook (2016 – 2026): 7%

How to Become One: Federal agencies, such as the FBI, typically required a Bachelor’s degree and three years of professional experience

It should come as no surprise that in order to become a federal agent, there are a number of requirements you must meet. First and foremost is having a bachelor’s degree and three years of professional experience.

However, you also need:

  • U.S. citizen
  • 21 years old
  • Meet rigorous physical and personal qualification standards
  • No felony convictions
  • Pass drug test
  • Pass background test

Usually, most police and detectives must graduate from their agency’s training academy before completing a period of on-the-job training, which is also true of potential FBI agents who train at Quantico, Virginia for five months.

Check out some of the sponsored programs below to earn a master’s in criminal justice. Or, discover 10 Online Master’s in Criminal Justice with No GRE Required!

Saint Joseph’s University

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) at Saint Joseph’s is designed to create scholar / practitioners who understand the latest trends and administrative strategies. Courses include an emphasis on ethics and the importance of equal justice for all.

SJU offers six concentrations, some of which include:

Anna Maria College

Designed to prepare professionals in criminal justice to take on leadership roles, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice at Anna Maria instructs students on diversity and inclusion to prepare them to deal professionally with an ever-evolving national and global society.

What to Study if You Want to Work in Psychology


2018 Median Annual Salary: $97,740

Job Outlook (2016 – 2026): 11%

How to Become One: Typically need a PhD, though in some fields a Master’s is acceptable

While the BLS estimates the projected job growth for all psychologists to be 14%, different types of psychologists have different projected growth rates.

For instance, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists have a projected job growth of 14%, which is double what the BLS projects for all occupations. On the other hand, industrial-organizational psychologists are at 8%, which is only 1% more than all occupations.

Typically, psychologists are required to have a PhD in the specific field, except for a few options. However, starting with a master’s degree is always a good idea. Check out two of the partner schools below that offer master’s programs in psychology.

Also, learn about the difference between a psychologist and a therapist and 9 Online Master’s in Psychology No GRE Required.

Emporia State University

The Master of Science in Clinical Psychology at Emporia State offers you the training and experience you need to help others. Designed to offer flexibility and personalized attention to allow you to pursue individual research interests and specialized training.

Regis College

With a curriculum focused on treating individuals with a variety of emotional, social, and behavioral issues, the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology at Regis offers courses that combine rigorous scholarship in the classroom and in practicum settings.

Regis also offers a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis which focuses on treatment of autism spectrum disorders and a range of other diverse applications.

What to Study if You Want to Work in Education

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

2017 Median Annual Salary: $94,390

Job Outlook (2016 – 2026): 8%

How to Become One: Master’s degree (and teaching experience)

Becoming an elementary, middle, and high school principal offers an opportunity to help shape the education and future of students, which can be one of the most rewarding careers available.

Plus, the projected job growth of 8%, or slightly above the average for all occupations, is surprising because there are a limited number of positions per school. In addition, in May 2017 the median annual wages for public elementary and secondary school principals were about $12,000 more than the median for private school principals.

Check out two partner schools below that offer master’s degrees in educational leadership or discover 9 One Year Online Master’s in Education Programs.

The George Washington University

The George Washington University offers an Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration that focuses on fostering exceptional leadership skills. The curriculum focuses on management, supervision of instruction, and general supervisory principles from faculty members in education, and internships to develop your first-hand experience.

GWU also offers:

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

The Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at Saint Mary’s is designed to prepare you for the current challenges facing school administrators, such as stretched resources and growing class sizes. This program focuses coursework on educational leadership and administration to become a visionary who can effect change.

St. Mary’s also offers:

Pursue a Graduate Degree

Deciding what to study is an important step in wondering if you should get a master’s degree.

If you’re interested in one of these careers, click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about the program and how to apply.

Or, complete the form on this page to get matched to the perfect program for you!

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