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Graduate Schools

Thinking Through Grad School

Graduate school is a huge choice — the time and effort spent is significant and lasts several years — but some jobs reward graduate education with significantly larger salaries, too.

If you’re thinking about grad school, keep the following questions in mind:

  • How certain am I of my career path?
  •  Does my career path require grad school?
  • Can I afford the loans associated with more schooling?
  • Am I burned out after my undergrad degree?
  • Do I know what I want to study?
  • Do I have the necessary prerequisites, or do I need to fill in undergraduate courses?

General Steps to Grad School

  • Define your interest
  • Research schools (keep in mind constraints like location, cost, prestige, and time commitment)
  • Check application requirements and deadlines
  • Take necessary prerequisite courses
  • Take necessary tests
  • Prepare application

Graduate Degrees and Tests

This section provides a general overview of graduate-level degrees. This section is not meant to be a comprehensive list, and students should be aware that there are likely many ways to pursue higher degrees in their field of study.

MASTERS PROGRAMS (typically 1-2 years fulltime)

Master of Arts (MA)

For those students pursuing studies in history, literature, philosophy, social science, geography, or fine arts.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

For those students pursuing studies in performing and visual arts, dance, film, and creative writing.

Master of Sciences (MS)

For those students pursuing studies in any of the hard sciences, and sometimes in accounting and economics.

Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Public Policy (MPP)

For those students pursuing a professional degree in interdisciplinary studies, focusing on government and public policy. The MPP focuses primarily on policy analysis, and the MPA focuses primarily on policy implementation and management.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

For those students pursuing studies in accounting, finance, management, marketing, and other business fields.

Master of Divinity (M.Div)

For those students pursuing a professional degree in pastoral ministry. Often, the M.Div is a requirement for ordination, but denominations and seminaries may vary.

ACADEMIC DOCTORAL DEGREES (typically 5-8 years)

Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

For those students pursuing advanced studies in a variety of fields. Program lengths vary and may or may not include a master’s degree.

Doctorate of Education (Eh.D.)

For students interested in pursuing academic, administrative, clinical or research positions in education, civil service, and private organizations -- this is a discipline-based degree.

PROFESSIONAL DOCTORAL DEGREES

Juris Doctorate (JD)(3 years)

For those students pursuing a career as a lawyer, especially those seeking admittance to the bar.

TESTS

GRE: This is the standard test for admittance to graduate school, though not every business school accepts the GRE.

GMAT: This is the standard test for admittance to business school, though some business schools accept the GRE.

LSAT: This is the standard test for admittance to law school.

RESOURCES 

GRADUATE SCHOOL RANKINGS

*These rankings are from US News and World Report’s annual list. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools

Business

  • Stanford
  • Harvard / MIT
  • U Penn
  • Northwestern

History

  • Princeton
  • Stanford
  • UC – Berkeley
  • Yale
  • Harvard

Economics

  • Harvard
  • MIT
  • Princeton
  • University of Chicago
  • Stanford

Law

  • Yale
  • Harvard
  • Stanford
  • Columbia
  • University of Chicago

Education

  • Vanderbilt
  • Harvard
  • UT (Austin)
  • Stanford
  • Columbia

Political Science

  • Harvard
  • Princeton
  • Stanford
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
  • Yale

English

  • UC – Berkeley
  • Stanford
  • Yale
  • Columbia
  • Harvard

Public Affairs

  • Syracuse
  • Harvard
  • Indiana University – Bloomington
  • Princeton
  • University of Georgia

Fine Arts

  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Yale
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Cranbrook Academy of Art
  • Cranbrook Academy of Art

Sociology

  • UC – Berkeley
  • University of Wisconsin (Madison)
  • Princeton
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
  • Harvard

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