The other day I was talking to my GSI about their experience so far in their PhD program. She told me that she had personally taken some time off after her undergrad and worked in a field related to her major. Others I’ve talked to told me that they went to grad school right after they finished their bachelors.
This led me to think:
Do I have to go to graduate school right after my undergrad?
What program can lead me to the job I want?
Is Grad School worth it?
There are several programs in Graduate school, but I will be focusing on M.A. and PhD.
Masters of Arts (M.A.)
Can allow specialization within a field.
The degree works especially well for those who have been working in a particular career for some time and hope to advance or gain new knowledge that will qualify them for a different position within their field.
It can also be an excellent method of changing careers.
For those who have been in the workforce and found that their career or undergraduate education are not leading them in the direction they would like to go, a master’s degree can allow them to start in a different direction by gaining new knowledge and skills.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Can also be helpful outside the world of academia in today’s increasingly competitive job market.
Businesses are searching for extremely qualified people who have demonstrated intelligence, perseverance and the ability to learn.
A PhD can open doors.
One of the less tangible, though very important, aspects of getting a PhD consists in the ideal of creating knowledge.
PhD work requires original research that contributes new information to the field of study.
People interested in pursuing a PhD should love their studies and be excited by the prospect of meaningful contribution.
In the workforce there are pathways that would prefer one over the other and there are times when neither of those degrees aren’t necessarily needed but still help as there are some positions where experience related to the job account for a lot.
In many careers (science, law, medicine) a graduate degree is necessary to move beyond entry-level work. But for marketing, computer science and creative fields, experience and quality of work are more important than having an advanced degree.
Another key point would be to see if the job is something you truly like. I personally wanted to be a researcher and after an experience, I found that it wasn’t for me. If someone wants to be a lawyer, will he/she be comfortable with working 40+ hours a week readings documents and attending meetings? This is an example of a question you should ask yourself when deciding your next step in life.
These are some ideas I believe one should think about when considering graduate school. It is great that you want to further your education but it also important to see if it is an immediate thing to do or if you can take some time after college to focus on other things. To talk about these things more feel free to stop by the career center and discuss them with a counselor or peer advisor.