Graduate DegreeWelcome to GradSchoolHub.com! We’re guessing you’re interested in attending grad school. You’ve come to the right place. Our mission is to provide you with all the resources you need to make a good decision about which type of graduate degree is right for you, and the help you explore your options in a degree program. The world of graduate education is expanding rapidly, and students with master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees are in increasing demand. To help you navigate, we launched GradSchoolHub.com.

What is a Graduate Degree?

Do you want to earn a graduate degree, but do not know enough about graduate study to decide what to do next? This article, and many other articles on this website, answers some of the most common questions people have about earning a graduate degree, its benefits and what it takes to earn one.

A graduate degree follows the bachelor’s degree. The purpose of a graduate degree is to provide students with advanced and specialized learning to become experts in a certain field of study. The most popular graduate degrees include business administration, education, accounting, mechanical engineering, and nursing.

The first degree after the bachelor’s degree is the master’s degree. The most common master’s degrees are the Master of Arts (M.A.) and the Master of Science (M.S.) degrees. Once you have completed a master’s degree, you can apply for admission to study for a doctoral degree. The most common doctorate is the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), an academic research-based degree. Another well-known doctorate is the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). Or, if you want to become an attorney, you need to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.). For people who want to increase their management career opportunities, the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) is another example of a professional degree.

The benefits of a graduate degree include increased employment opportunities, more specialized skills, increase in self-confidence, and often times higher pay.

Graduate School Admission Requirements

While the general education requirements for graduate school vary, the majority of programs require students to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) letters of recommendation, and completion of essay questions.

Most graduate schools also require an interview to ensure you are a good fit for the program. It’s wise to spend some time in research learning how to prepare for your grad school interview.

What to Expect When Pursuing a Graduate Degree

The successful completion of a graduate degree requires you to commit your time, energy, focus and finances. Be prepared to spend at least 2-3 years to complete a master’s degree on a full-time basis. Full-time graduate study equals 3 courses per semester. Students working full time while in school attend school on a part-time basis. Part-time graduate study equals 1-2 courses per semester. Most part-time master’s degree students can expect to study for 3-5 years.

Doctoral students complete course work in about 2-4 years. Besides course work, students must pass one or more qualifying examinations. Finally, the doctoral candidate researches and writes a research paper called the dissertation. The dissertation stage can last up to 2 years.

Graduate school can be expensive and it’s common for students to wonder how to pay for graduate school. Knowing the estimated costs up front is important, as well as learning the ins and outs of scholarships, loans and other forms of financial aid. Most schools have financial aid departments whose aim is to make the process as easy on you as possible.

How to Find the Top Graduate Degree Programs

A good way to find out the best graduate degree programs is to begin your search using the Internet. For example, if you want to find the best online graduate degree programs for business administration, do a keyword search for the best M.B.A. programs. Once you have a list of results from your search, go to each college or university website and read about the degree program. Choose programs only at accredited colleges or universities. Reviewing annual college and university ranking publications will give you ideas about the best graduate programs. Once you have several programs in mind, make comparisons to see which program you like the best.

Top-ranked graduate schools rank according to their specific degree programs. The best graduate schools for a master’s degree in engineering will be different from the best graduate schools for education or business. For example, one student will choose the University of California, Los Angeles for the graduate degree in History; another student will choose Stanford University for its M.B.A. program; and a third student will choose the law school at Harvard University. Choosing the best graduate school for your specific needs can be time consuming. Know what to look for, do your research, and you will find the graduate degree program that meets your needs.

Additional Resource: Graduate School FAQs