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If you plan on attending graduate or professional school, it is important to spend plenty of time planning for your future goals and career plans in detail. Going into a graduate program requires a large commitment in time, money, and energy, so it is important to move forward with a clear vision.

Graduate Degree Types

When you go on to pursue a graduate degree, you are gaining specialized knowledge in a concentrated area that can be divided into two different degree types: academic and professional. An academic degree allows for the opportunity for research and scholarship in a specific discipline. A professional degree allows for training and to acquire the specific skills and knowledge for a particular profession. Degrees can be divided into three different levels:

  • Master's degrees are available in almost any field. Some doctoral programs are only offered in some fields of study.
  • Specialist degrees are usually completed after a master's degree is completed and will usually require additional training of some sort or internship experience. This type of degree will prepare you for a professional certificate or to be licensed in a field.
  • Doctoral studies will require your own original research for an academic program or will require some kind of practical application of your knowledge and skills in a professional program.

Is Graduate School for Me?

You may be wondering if you really need to pursue a graduate degree in your field of study to be successful. Before you start applying to programs you will want to familiarize yourself with the career requirements, work conditions, and what types of occupations would be available with your degree. You should talk to faculty in you major and staff in the Career Development Center to make sure that you understand the demands of graduate school and to ensure that you have the skills and abilities required to be successful.

The next thing to consider is if graduate school is necessary to achieve the goals you have set. If the answer is yes, please use the resources presented on this website to help you plan your search.