QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN RESEARCHING GRADUATE PROGRAMS
The process of searching for the right school and program for you can seem like a lot of work. For many people beginning the search is the most challenging piece. When you start your search it may be helpful to consider some of the following questions. Knowing the answers to these questions can help you decide what is important to you and help narrow down your search at the beginning.
- Why do you want to go to graduate school?
Is it for professional advancement? Do you need a particular set of credentials to work in your chosen field? Are you looking for more knowledge about a particular subject?
- What degree do you want or need?
Do you need a Doctorate, or is a Master’s more appropriate? Are you seeking a professional degree such as licensure to become a Medical Doctor or a JD for those interested in law?
- Where would you like to be geographically?
Do you want to be close to home or family? Would you prefer an urban, suburban, or rural setting? Are there particular cities or states that you’d prefer?
- What areas of specialty or interest would you like to pursue?
Does the curriculum offered reflect your interests? How much room for flexibility would you like? Is that flexibility available? What areas of research are the faculty engaged in?
- How strong is the program?
Is it accredited? How challenging would you like the program requirements to be? Are there experiential components such as fieldwork or internships?
- What are graduates of this program doing?
What do they say about the preparation for their field that the program offered? How long did it take them to find a position in their field after graduation?
- What are the costs associated with the program?
What are the tuition and fees? Are there opportunities for teaching, research, or program assistantships? If so, what are the stipend and/or benefits associated with them and how many students receive assistantships? Are there fellowships or other grant programs available?
- What are the admissions statistics?
What application materials do they require? What is the average GPA and entrance exam scores of those admitted? How selective is the program?