Studying in the library

Pursuing graduate and professional school

What is graduate school? How do you choose the right program? This page will help get you started as you begin thinking about pursuing further education.

Things to consider

The decision making process should start with your personal interests and goals.

What kind of work do you hope to do in the future? Is an advanced degree required to do that work? If you’re not sure, this is a great time to do some career research or informational interviews.

You can also pursue graduate studies out of intellectual curiosity, a love of learning, and a desire to pursue independent research. Reflect on your values, and what is most important to you.

Graduate studies can be a wonderful experience and open the door to many career opportunities, but it is important to understand where further studies will lead, and how to take advantage of the opportunity.

Graduate studies is not the only way to get a job—and in most fields, it is very possible to return to school after starting to work. So, don’t only consider if grad studies is right for me, but is it right for me now?

Research vs. professional programs

Different types of graduate programs are structured with very different aims, and will provide substantially different experiences. Some programs fall slightly between categories, and can be structured in quite different ways at different institutions.

Research-based graduate programs often operate as more in-depth training in a particular academic discipline, and are most likely to involve independent research, typically with a faculty member as your supervisor.

Professional programs will typically involve preparing you to be accredited to practice in a particular professional field.

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