A graduate school as an academic institution that awards advanced degrees. It is called a graduate school because one of the admission requirements is to already possess a bachelors degree. Oftentimes a graduate school may not be a physically separate institution. Many universities house graduate schools within the same campus that offers bachelor’s degrees.
Often a significant amount of graduate degree studies is creating some type of original research. This often takes the form of writing a thesis or dissertation. In many cases a graduate school student will have to defend their thesis or dissertation–often orally before a committee.
Graduate schools offering number of different degrees. A Masters degree usually requires the shortest time commitment. Graduate schools also offer doctoral degrees and professional degrees. The number of graduate schools are starting to offer graduate certificates and graduate citations–different forms of graduate recognition that do not lead to a new degree.
The process of applying to graduate school is called the admission process. Often you will be required to take some type of standardized test in order to be admitted to grad school. Common standardized tests in the United States include the graduate record examination GRE and the graduate management admission test GMAT. Schools will often require that you achieve a particular GPA in your undergraduate work. They also may require you to make a particular grade or higher on the standardized tests. Most schools will require some type of admission essay an application in order to apply. Admission decisions are often made at the departmental level rather than by the institution. This is because masters degree level work often involves working closely with the faculty of your department.
Some schools are starting to allow non-degree seeking students to take classes. In some cases these non-degree seeking students can take a few classes to get a feel for the course work, and then apply for admission to graduate school in order to pursue a degree. In the case of schools like Harvard extension school, these non-degree seeking classes are used to determine eligibility for pursuing a degree. They allow the school to have a pretty good idea of how the student welfare if they decide to pursue a degree at the institution.
As mentioned before the thesis or dissertation is one of the most important parts of getting a graduate degree. Many students complete all of their course work except for the dissertation. The acronym ABD stands for all but dissertation. Their number of reasons that this is the holdup for many students. The thesis or dissertation can be difficult. It is particularly difficult if the student is not very good at writing. Students with a lot of experience writing will probably have little trouble writing a thesis or dissertation as long as they can make the time commitment to get it done. Students have difficulty writing may find the dissertation to be more difficult than any of the rest of the classroom work combined.
In many situations graduate school has special programs in order to offer free or reduced tuition for graduate students. The students are often given work-study where they will assist the professors in doing research or even in teaching classes. In some cases there are stipends available as well. In fact, at large universities very few doctoral students are actually paying anything and are probably being paid by the university while they complete their studies. Often professors are doing research funded by grants from the National Science Foundation or private foundations. These professors may be able to hire graduate students as research assistants were to do other work related to the research. In some cases a student may be able to get a grant to actually complete her dissertation by a foundation or organization that is interested in what they are researching.
As mentioned many graduate students hold teaching fellow positions or do other types of teaching work. Traditionally they make seemingly lower pay than other faculty members. This leads to an interesting chicken and egg problem. Students who want to teach at the graduate level after graduating may find it difficult to locate positions because those positions are already filled by low-paid graduate students who are teaching just to get through their graduate school.
While the different ways of providing reduced tuition or free tuition through work-study and other programs they look attractive, many graduate students find that they are better off getting a job in their field. The job will often pay more and may give them an experience and perspective they would not gain through the classroom only. Of course the difficulty is trying to find an employer that is willing to work around an academic schedule. However there are number of employers that are very interested in the “Youngblood” of someone going through graduate school and very committed to their particular field of study.
While a number of school is that while many schools offer teaching fellowships and other forms of academic financial assistance many do not. The cost of graduate degree can be very high very it can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars a year to 50 or $60,000 per year. The cost can vary dramatically from school to school and program to program. This requires the student to keep a very close pulse on the return on investment of their educational endeavors. Getting a degree that costs $150,000 that allows you to get a job that makes $25,000 a year is not a good investment. It is a particularly bad investment if there are other similar programs where you could get a similar degree for 10 or $15,000. Students must choose their schools wisely with an eye toward how the cost of their education is going to be paid for over the life of their career.