Graduate school is usually defined as post-baccalaureate education that occurs after obtaining a four-year or other type of bachelor’s degree in art or science. This term is commonly used in the United States, but an equivalent term in other parts of the world could be postgraduate school or postgraduate education. Graduate schools can offer a wide range of studies, and they can be standalone institutions or part of a larger college with an undergraduate population.
Many people go to graduate school to pursue careers in fields that they were interested in as undergraduates. They may pursue advanced degrees in this field of interest, which are typically master’s or doctorate degrees. The doctorate is usually the highest or final degree, and some people pursue doctoral studies to become the most knowledgeable in a particular field. Not everyone goes to school to get a doctorate, and some people can achieve great success in their field with only a master’s degree.
Master’s and doctoral degrees aren’t the only degrees that can be earned in a graduate program. Some students pursue medical or dental school, law school, or a specialist degree that qualifies them for certain high-level positions. People may spend a year in graduate school, which is geared toward training elementary and secondary school teachers, and then enroll in a certificate program. Some of these programs are available in tandem with master’s degrees.
A graduate school can operate in a number of different ways. It could be part of a larger university, and students could even teach undergrads or work as research assistants for professors. Some schools are referred to as professional schools, and they exist solely to provide graduate education, such as law school. Graduate schools are available both online and in many brick-and-mortar locations, and a person with a bachelor’s degree may have a variety of options for admission.
Many graduate programs at traditional university-based graduate schools are classified as advanced studies, which means that applicants must demonstrate that they have strong scholastic skills. This can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, and applications may request that students take and list standardized test scores for tests such as the medical college admissions test (MCAT) or the graduate record examination test (GRE), which may include subject-specific and general tests. In order to prove their worth, students will typically need good grades and recommendations from faculty.
School requirements may differ, and some graduate programs are highly competitive, while others are more open. If the school is affiliated with a well-known university, getting into a program will be much more difficult. A student will have to show that he or she has exceptional abilities.
While many students study the same subjects in both undergraduate and graduate school, some programs do not. It might be simple to transition from a bachelor’s degree in history to a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, for example. Students may be required to take one or two basic courses in order to obtain a minimum level of knowledge.
Other programs are not well suited to students who have not previously studied the same subject at the undergraduate level. Under most circumstances, the history major will have a difficult time convincing anyone to accept him into a chemistry PhD program.
Another variable in graduate school is the length of time it takes to complete it. Many master’s programs can be completed in two years of full-time study, though if a thesis is required, you may need a little more time. The majority of doctorate programs take at least three years to complete, and most people spend at least four or five years in school. To become a doctor, students must complete three years of school and a year of internship, with the internship time being significantly extended if people wish to specialize. Grad school takes about two years to become a counselor or social worker, but students must then complete approximately 3000 hours of work before receiving their licenses.