Whether you’re just starting college or about to graduate, you might be wondering whether you should go to grad school. This could be especially true if you’re considering a career in law or medicine, fields that require significant postgraduate education.
Before you decide, here are some of the key things you need to know about grad school.
Grad school (or graduate school) is any form of postgraduate education that focuses on one particular area of study. Depending on the subject you choose, this can be anything from business to law or even the humanities. Designed to deepen your understanding of your chosen subject and turn you into a specialist in your field, grad school can vary in length from two years for a master’s degree to seven years for a Ph.D. and usually includes a combination of coursework and independent study.
While college gives you a broad overview of several subjects and helps you identify which subject you’re truly passionate about, grad school allows you to become an expert in that subject and to explore it in detail. Depending on the program you choose, grad school also has a different structure than college, generally consisting of classes, independent study and a final project such as a thesis or dissertation.
Grad school programs vary depending on the academic subject and the type of degree. Popular programs include Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) programs for medical students, Juris Doctor (J.D.) programs for law students, Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) programs for business students and a broad range of master’s and Ph.D. programs in subjects including psychology, biochemistry and history.
Deciding whether to go to grad school comes down to two things: 1) Your desire to continue your course of study and 2) Your career goals. For example, if you’re passionate about law, going to law school to pursue a Juris Doctor degree is a must if you want to become a lawyer. The same goes for those wishing to me doctors who must attend medical school and get a Doctor of Medicine degree in order to practice. For others, such as creative writers or computer programmers, a graduate degree is not required in order to advance in the field though some may choose to do it in order to develop their skills and knowledge.
Pro Tip: Beyond your career goals, two other important factors to consider are time and cost. Since grad school typically requires a minimum two-year commitment in addition to tuition costs, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how this degree can help you before entering into a graduate program.
A great way to boost your knowledge and expand your career options, grad school can be a powerful way to develop new skills. By knowing what to expect and what factors to consider, you’ll be able to decide if grad school is right for you.
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