Differences between Graduate School and Undergraduate:
- Many more seminar type courses, especially at advanced level.
- More papers, projects and presentations; fewer tests.
- More research oriented approaches.
- Increased specialization of subject matter studies.
- More independent work requiring self-discipline.
- Less short-term feedback about how you are doing academically.
- Increased pressure to maintain high grades; generally B or above is the expected minimum.
Master's Degree (M.A. or M.S.)
Four typical types of programs:
- Coursework and thesis - A thesis is an independent research project which the student designs, carries
out, writes and defends before a committee of graduate professors.
- Coursework and exams - Some programs give the student the option of not writing a thesis, but taking comprehensive
- Coursework and internship - An internship is a supervised, experiential learning situation, usually on a part-time,
voluntary basis. The student may spend one or two semesters working in a setting
compatible with his/her area of study to develop knowledge and skills in that area.
- Combination of the above.
Doctoral Degree (PhD)/Other Professional Degrees
Usual requirements include:
- Preliminary coursework.
- Some programs require a master’s thesis.
- A comprehensive examination covering required coursework which may be written and/or
- Dissertation which is an original, independent research project. The student usually
presents the project to a faculty committee for approval and defends the completed
project before the same committee. Differs from a thesis in that it must be original,
is usually more complex and in-depth, and must be judged to be a significant contribution
to knowledge in the student’s field.
- Requirements for applied programs such as counseling, clinical psychology, nursing
or social work may involve some practical experience.
- Some professions may require some licensing procedure, i.e. a bar exam or state license exam.