The Deep End: Graduate School Offers In-Depth Study

By Reed, Minerva H. | Diversity Employers, October 1997 | Go to article overview
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The Deep End: Graduate School Offers In-Depth Study


Reed, Minerva H., Diversity Employers


If an undergraduate degree makes you marketable, graduate school makes you invaluable.

Graduate school teaches the organizational, management, research and writing skills that upper-level management requires. These universal skills, combined specialized knowledge, make graduate degree holders highly sought by business and government.

Career counselors suggest that students consider graduate school as part of their overall career planning. "I would suggest that students begin with an assessment of their goals," says William Carson Sr., assistant vice president for enrollment management and former director of the Center for Career Development at Morgan State University. "Graduate school should be part of a continuum of their career plans."

Choosing a graduate program

Selecting a graduate program that best matches your goals is a matter of research and comparative shopping. A good graduate program should provide you with the credentials and skills to enable you to advance in your chosen field.

Consider your interests -- what truly excites you. Do you enjoy words, and are you drawn to logic and theoretical constructs? If so, the law and law school might be for you. If you have people skills, a facility for numbers, enjoy the world of finance, and have a good natural business sense, a school of management (business) school might be in order. How about your communications capabilities -- both written and verbal? Might an advanced degree from a school of journalism or an advanced degree in communications support those interests and a career in the communications industry? How about those of you with aesthetic sensibilities? Would an advanced degree in the fine arts be the ticket? Or how about arts administration and museum or art gallery curatorial work as interest to develop through additional academic work and training?

And for the scientific and technical minded, continuing your education and research in the discipline(s) can certainly enhance your marketability in research and development, governmental assignments and work with think tanks for policy groups. There are clearly a variety of routes you can follow to reach your personal and professional goals with additional academic credentials in hand.

After deciding to pursue graduate work, the next step is to focus on selecting a (specific) graduate/professional school program, deciding on the academic disciplines to study that will be in concert with meeting your objectives. Consider the type of degree(s) and the schools that are offering programs of interest to you.

Most graduate schools require applicants to pass an entrance exam in a specific area of study. These tests are described in the accompanying article.

Types of degrees include the more traditional master's degrees (MA, Master of Arts; M.Ed, Master of Education; M.S., Master of Science; M.E., Master of Engineering) or doctoral degree (Ph.D.), offered by graduate schools of the Arts and Sciences. They cover a wide range of academic disciplines and professional schools. Other popular degrees include the Master of Business Administration (MBA) for business school, Juris Doctor, or Doctor of Laws (JD) for law school and Doctor of Medicine (MD) for medical school. Growing in popularity are the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Public Policy (MPP) for schools of public policy, (MIA) Master of International Affairs for schools of international affairs and international studies, and the (MPH) Master of Public Health for schools of public health and health care administration. Find out all you can about schools and degree programs representing your interest areas. Gather data on their admission policies and procedures.

Graduate school degrees in the Arts and Sciences (MA and Ph.D.) traditionally have been sought by those wishing to work in academic setting, especially those who want to teach at the college level, conduct research and publish scholarly works.

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