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Prepare for Further Study
Is it the Right Choice for Me?
Unlike the undergraduate experience, which is exploratory in nature, graduate school is a more self-directed study of a particular subject. You should have defined interests, clear career goals, and the self-motivation to make the most of an advanced degree. Some questions to ask yourself before making this commitment are:
- Is it possible to achieve your career goals without graduate school?
- Are you passionate enough about the subject to continue studying and producing work in the field?
- Do you have enough work experience to decide if this is the right career path?
- What is the employment outlook for your field of interest?
- Can I afford it?
Is it Worth the Investment?
Attending graduate school will cost time and money. On top of that, consider the following:
- The cost of tuition and fees does not take into account the cost of living, transportation, or meals, and may also not include textbooks.
- The full cost of graduate school should also take into account the cost of leaving the workforce for a couple years, as many competitive programs only allow full-time study.
- Be mindful that if you attend graduate school without prior full-time work experience, your post-graduate offers will likely be for entry-level work and you may experience a setback in potential earnings.
You should investigate potential funding sources including fellowships or scholarships and teaching assistantships before committing to graduate school.
Choosing a School
You should look closely at the courses offered, the reputation of the faculty, and the employment profile for alumni to determine if a program aligns with your goals. In addition, the environment and geographical location of your program can define your graduate experience so consider the population, weather, cost of living, and cultural and social opportunities of your graduate school. One of our graduate and professional school advisors can help you weigh these factors as you decide which programs to apply to.
Types of Degrees
If you have decided that graduate school is right for you, your next decision should be whether you pursue a master's level degree (MA, MSc, etc.), a doctoral level degree (PhD, EdD, etc.), or a professional degree (JD, MD, MMBS, DO, etc.) The usefulness of the degree depends on your academic and career interests, but note that the higher the degree the longer it will take to achieve and the higher the financial burden.
A master’s is a versatile degree and has a wide range of professional and academic applications. Through a pursuit of a master’s you will gain key professional skills which can enhance your employability or promotability, and you will gain access to an expanded network of like minded individuals with whom you can connect. Depending on your field of study you could typically achieve a master’s in one or two years.
A master of business administration (MBA) program will train you on the analytical, organizational, and ethical implications of business. Within your program you will likely have a concentration in finance, management, entrepreneurship, accounting, or other business related specialization. To make the most of your MBA you should also look to learn more about the leadership and interpersonal skills needed to manage others.
A law degree is designed to prepare you for a career to practice law in a particular concentration and/or country. The three most widely accepted law degrees are the Juris Doctorate (US), the Masters of Law (international), and the Bachelors of Laws (UK), which would require a Common Professional Examination (CPE)/Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course for NYUAD students. The application and practice of law in a particular region may also require additional courses, certifications, and licenses such as the Bar Professional Training course (BPTC) or the Bar Exam (US).
A doctorate is the highest degree awarded by an institution of higher learning, which will prepare degree seeking students to initiate new projects that add to the collective knowledge base of the field. Candidates for a doctoral degree often pursue careers in academics as professors or researchers, but are not limited to those roles. The process of acquiring a doctoral level degree is an opportunity for an individual to conduct singular, intensive and prolonged research on specific topic, and can take three to eight years to complete.
A medical degree is required to practice medicine anywhere in the world. Different types of degrees are recognized in different parts of the world. The Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.), and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) are the most common. The practice of medicine requires the passing of various exams to receive your license. If you want to become a doctor, be prepared for a long road!