What is Graduate School All About?
In contrast to undergraduate study which introduces you to a wide range of subjects, even though you major in one, a graduate program involves specialized knowledge and concentrated study in one area.
There are professional and research degrees at the master's and doctoral levels:
The Professional Master's gives you a specific set of skills needed to practice in a particular field, such as education, business, engineering or other profession requiring specialized training. It is generally a final or "terminal" degree, and often involves an internship, practicum or field work.
The Research Master's provides experience in research and scholarship, and it may be a final degree or a step toward the Ph.D. A master's degree usually takes one or two years of study.
The Professional Doctorate. The M.D. for medical practice or the J.D. for law are the most common professional degrees.
The Research Doctorate. The Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), is the primary credential for college level teaching. The Ph.D. typically involves both course work and a major research project. The Ph.D. usually takes a minimum of four to six years of full-time study.
Career Options with a Graduate Degree
The Master's Degree. The Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) can be an entry point for new and better job opportunities in business, industry, government, and education.
In education, for instance, it can open doors to teaching, administration and staff positions in elementary and secondary schools, community colleges and other institutions of higher learning.
The Doctorate Degree. The traditional career for recipients of the doctorate degree is college teaching and research. The Ph.D., however, can lead to a wide variety of career options in corporations where research and development of new products or services are important, or with government agencies where the skill to analyze large amounts of complex data is essential.
For example, statisticians work for the Census Bureau, psychologists work for advertising firms, historians work for museums, and chemists, engineers, physicists and other scientists may work in science-based industries or government-funded research laboratories.