The Soll Center for Student Opportunity

How to Choose Graduate School Programs

Types of Graduate Degree Programs

Graduate degrees are available at three levels:

Master's Degrees

Master's degrees are offered in many fields of study. Some are designed to lead to a doctoral degree while others are the "terminal" degree for a profession (e.g., Master of Business Administration or Master of Public Policy). For full-time students, completing a master's degree usually takes 1-2 years.

Specialist Degrees

Specialist degrees are usually earned in addition to a master's degree and will require additional coursework, training, or internship experience. This type of degree usually prepares students for professional certification or licensing requirements (e.g., credential for becoming a teacher).

Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral degrees are the highest level of credential. They usually require the creation of new knowledge via independent research. Including the time it takes to write and defend a dissertation, this degree may take anywhere from 5-7 years to complete.

Find the Graduate Program that is Right for You

There are so many graduate school programs available that it may feel overwhelming. Here are some steps for how to proceed with your selection of possible graduate school programs:

  1. Gather information, by researching websites that aggregate graduate school programs:
  2. Create list of schools/programs that interest you and visit each program’s website, paying careful attention to admissions requirements, coursework, and research/practicum opportunities.
  3. Contact the admissions department or program directly to get more detailed program information and inquire about information sessions for prospective students.
  4. Consider attending graduate school fairs or virtual info sessions at which you can meet graduate school representatives and learn more about the programs they offer.
  5. Conduct informational interviews with your professors as well as current and alumni graduate students of the programs to gain valuable insider information. The Soll Center for Student Opportunity can connect you with relevant CMC alumni.

Next Step to Apply to Graduate School

2. Research Funding for Graduate School

There are multiple ways you can finance your graduate school program.

See How to Pay for Graduate School

Quick Resource Guides & References

The Soll Center for Student Opportunity provides many resources to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Below are a few of our most popular resources.

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