Graduate/Professional School Options
What Is Graduate School?
- Graduate school is an advanced program of study on a particular subject or profession. Traditionally, graduate school has been geared more toward generating original research. However, there are also programs that pertain to developing skills and knowledge to acquire a specific profession.
- Graduate school is different from undergraduate study for a variety of reasons. Graduate programs tend to have smaller, more intimate class room settings, where discussion and participation is even more important. Many students work during graduate school not only to pay the bills, but to gain experience in their field of choice. Because of this many programs will have night classes to accommodate those working during the day.
What Types of Degrees are Available?
- Master's Degrees: There are a vast variety of different master's degree fields of study to choose from. Some master's programs will lead to doctoral degree programs, but many are "terminal" master's degrees, meaning they do not segue into a doctoral program. These programs typically take a full-time student 2 years to complete. Some examples are Master's of Business Administration, and Master's of Arts in Education.
- Specialist Degrees: Are certifications and credentials earned in addition to a master's degree, such as a teaching credential.
- Doctoral Degrees: Are the most advanced degree that one can receive. They are typically focused on one specialty area of study and involve unique individual research which leads to the defense of a dissertation. The typical length of a program for a doctoral degree is five to seven years.
Is Graduate School Right for You?
- "Testing the Water: Are You Ready for Graduate School?" by The Princeton Review
How to Pick the Right School and Program
- What to do "Before You Apply" from GradSchools.com
- Peterson'sFind a Graduate School That's Right For You! search utility
- Grad Programs Search from The Princeton Review
- Graduate School Search from GraduateGuide
- Search, be discovered, and connect with GradSchoolMatch
Graduate School Application Timeline
Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement
This is your opportunity to showcase who you are and your interest in the field of study in which you are applying to. It is important to use examples and stories to enhance your points. It is also important to state why you are interested in studying the program you are applying for and why you chose that particular school. The selection committees also like to read about your future career goals and how your graduate education will lead you toward those goals.
- Personal Statement Assessment Worksheet
- Tips on Writing a Personal Statement from the SJSU Writing Center
- Test Scores: In doing your research, it is important to determine what admissions tests, if any, are required. You will then want to sign-up for the test in a time frame that will get the scores to the school/schools you are applying to before the application deadline. There are a variety of different tests that pertain to various different grad school programs, for example Master's of Business Administration requires the GMAT and medical schools require the MCAT.
Financing Graduate School
Applying to Medical School
- If medical school is a goal of yours, then take a look at the Association of American Medical Colleges website.
- A couple of things you should know are that you do not need to major in a science in order to attend or be accepted into medical school.
- However, you do need to meet certain course prerequisites. Many schools require that applicants have one year of Physics, Biology, English, and one year each of General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry.