Graduate Schools 101 & Find by Subject

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What is Graduate School?

Graduate school, often referred to as grad school, is a college or university that offers advanced academic programs resulting in a master’s degree, doctorate degree or certificate. Most require students to already have completed a bachelor’s program and earned a minimum GPA. Many universities offer graduate programs, though the “graduate school” within the institution. The coursework in a grad school will be more advanced and focused as the goal of a graduate student is to concentrate their studies in a specific subject area and develop advanced knowledge and skills.

Some graduate programs also have a more significant research component than undergraduate studies. And other graduate schools offer professional degrees which may be more focused on practical skills and knowledge. Examples include the MBA, MPA, PsyD and DNP. The type of grad school you attend, degree you seek and chosen area of study will play a large role in determining your graduate school experience.

Frequently Asked Grad School Questions

Students who are considering pursing an advanced degree at the graduate degree level often have many questions about what to expect in grad school. Going to graduate school is both a costly and time-consuming endeavor and students may feel nervous about committing to advancing their education. You are not alone.

At some point in time the frequently asked questions we have gathered have been asked by one student or another. We are hear to help provide answers to these questions the best we can. Let’s start with the question of popularity. To the right, we have listed popular subjects our users visit often.

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Not Sure What to Study?

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

Frequently Asked Questions About Graduate School

What is the difference between undergraduate and graduate?

An undergraduate student is studying to earn a bachelors degree or associates degree. A graduate student is studying to earn an advanced degree, either a masters or phd.

What does cohort mean?

A cohort is a group of people. When talked about in relation to a graduate program, it typically means the group of other students you will be starting your program with at the same time.  

How many years to earn a masters degree?

Most master degree programs require 1-2 years of study, depending on the program type and enrollment. This may entail completing around 36 to 54 semester credits or 60 to 90 quarter semester credits; equivalent to about 12 to 18 graduate-level courses. Of course, program lengths and course requirements vary by school and type of Master’s Degree Program.

How many years to earn a phd?

Typically, a doctorate degree program can take about 4 to 6 years to complete after the bachelor’s degree. If you hold A master’s degree, you may be able to complete your doctorate in about 3 years. This assumes you are going to school full time. Party time programs are not common for doctorates.

Is grad school worth it?

Only you can answer this question. But for some insight. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who earned a Master’s degree in 2016 earned about $25,000 more per year when compared to all workers; and people who earned a Doctorate degree in 2016 earned about $40,000 more per year when compared to all workers.*

Can i go to graduate school for free?

To actually earn a diploma, you will have to pay for your education. However, there are many non-degree credit options available if you are simply looking to advance your knowledge. One such program may be a micro masters program.

MicroMasters programs are a set of masters-level online courses that help you earn professional credentials and valuable university credits. Now you can test drive a MicroMasters Program for Free! Browse MicroMasters Programs now.

What are admissions requirements for grad school?

Typically there are 4 buckets of admissions requirements:

  1. Entrance Exams: 1st and foremost, determine if the school you are interested in requires an entrance exam, and if they do, determine which type of exam.

    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.

    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.
  2. GPA Requirements: Determine what GPA requirements there may be. Certain subjects may require specific GPA levels. There are also some schools which have no GPA requirements.
  3. Application, Transcripts & Other Paperwork: Fill out the application online and send your undergraduate transcript – at a minimum, those two items are generally required. Some schools may also require a personal essay or letters of recommendation.
  4. The Interview: If an applicant passes the paper round then they are oftentimes 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.

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