Article - Graduate Degree Info:

A graduate degree is an advanced degree completed in graduate school. The process of obtaining the degree takes a minimum of two years, though some students take four years or longer to finish. As soon as students enter graduate school, they declare their major and focus their attention on taking courses within that major. Graduate programs are intended to give students a better understanding of their chosen course of study.

The education associated with a graduate degree is quite different from the undergraduate level. The graduate coursework is more specialized and focuses on the specific area declared by the student. A good example of this is the field of psychology. At the undergraduate level the student takes a wide range of courses relating to psychology, such as abnormal psychology and child psychology. In graduate school they narrow down their focus into one specific area like forensic psychology or counseling. The courses they take relate to that area rather than more generalized classes.

Students working on their graduate degree also take courses known as seminars, which are worth more credit hours than other courses. Seminars typically take place only one day a week, as opposed to meeting several times a week, and cover several hours. The student writes a long paper at the end of the course for successful completion.

A graduate degree also involves something known as a thesis. The thesis is a fairly long paper researched and written by the student and covering a specific topic relating to their major. The student studying forensic psychology, for example, might opt to write about a current theme involving prison work. This paper usually falls in the 20 page range, though some write much more.

The thesis sometimes involves a thesis defense, which is similar to the defense Doctor of Philosophy students give upon completion of their dissertation. Not all schools do this at the graduate level, but many do. The student’s advisor, professors and professors working in their department form a committee that meets with the student after reading their thesis. The student must answer questions about their paper before obtaining their college diploma.

An increasing number of graduate schools are now opting out of the thesis process. They now allow students the chance to work on a final project rather than their thesis. The student can begin working on this project during the second term of their first year. During their final year, the student presents their project to several people working in the department. After the project’s approved, they’re given their diploma.

A student must meet certain requirements before they gain admission to a graduate school. They take a specialized test, such as the Medical College Admission Test for medical school or the Graduate Record Examination for general admission to graduate school. They also fill out a lengthy application packet including an essay about why they want to study in the field and letters of recommendation. In addition, they must possess a Bachelor’s degree in a related field. All of those things help the student gain admission to graduate school where they can work on obtaining their graduate degree.


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