Selecting Schools

Once you have carefully considered whether or not going to graduate school is a logical and appropriate next move in your career, it is time to begin researching potential programs. Choosing the graduate school and program that best fits your needs is an important process. With so many options this may seem overwhelming.

Questions to Ask

Graduate programs vary greatly and it will be worth your time to thoroughly research your options. To begin, plan on developing a list of 10 to 15 schools (if possible) that meet your preliminary criteria. As you get started, consider the following questions and track your answers using the graduate school comparison chart (PDF):

  • What type of degree are you pursuing (master's, doctorate)?
  • Do you have a geographic preference (in-state or out-of-state)?
  • How many students are enrolled in the program you are considering?
  • What is the faculty to student ratio?
  • How selective are the admissions criteria?
  • What is the admissions profile for the most recently admitted class?
  • What type of, and how much, financial assistance is available (assistantships)?
  • What are the research interests of the faculty?
  • What is the condition of the libraries, computer labs, and laboratory facilities?
  • In what types of organizations do their graduates work and how quickly have they been able to find employment upon graduation?

By answering these questions, you will have an idea of which programs may be a better fit than others, and you will also have an idea as to where you will be a competitive applicant. But again, these are just a few questions that you may want to consider asking as you begin researching programs.

In addition to the multiple resources in the Career Resource Library, you want to check out the following web sites as you begin your search.

Peterson's Graduate School Directory
This is the web-based version of a six volume directory of graduate programs across the continental U.S. You can search by type of degree, discipline, geographic location, size of program, tuition, etc. Excellent source for creating an initial list of possible programs.
Another comprehensive database that is searchable my multiple criteria including subject, geographic location, etc. You can also search for graduate programs beyond the U.S. including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Japan, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Grad School Resources

Check out our comprehensive list of graduate school resources!