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Choosing a Graduate Program

Once you are certain that grad school fits into your plans, you need to find out as much as possible about the program you have in mind. Entering graduate school for the right reasons will not be enough if you end up in the wrong program.
Use the resources around your campus to identify and choose between programs. Your very best resources will be your instructors. Anyone who is a college professor has probably earned at least one graduate degree and is likely to have been associated with several universities as either an instructor or a graduate student. College professors – especially those who teach in the field you plan to pursue – can steer you in the direction of good programs and give you a fairly good idea of what to expect as a graduate student.

If at all possible, visit one or two campuses that have the program you want. Talk to the program director or department chair to find out about the focus of the program and whether it will suit your needs. To get a balanced view, be sure to talk to students in the program, too.

Find out how long it will take to get your degree and whether you will have to write a thesis or do major research project. Find out what courses you will have to take and if there are any other requirements to earn the degree (for example, an internship or field work placement). Ask if the program offers any fellowship or scholarships, and what you must do to apply for them. You might even want to ask a program director how his/her program differs from a like program at another institution.

Potential Graduate School Fields

Most graduate school require a GPA of at least a 3.0, completion of the GREs and two letters of recommendation (GREs are not required for most social work graduate programs). Among the many graduate school possibilities sociology majors pursue are:

  • Public Affairs and Planning
  • Human Resourses
  • Gerontology
  • Public Adminstration
  • Labor Relations
  • Sociology
  • Urban Planning
  • Social Work
  • International Development
  • Journalism/Communications
  • Public Health
  • Hospital Administration
  • Marketing
  • Archaeology/Anthropology
  • Women’s Studies
  • Criminal Justice
  • Gender and International Development
  • Business Administration
  • Student Development

The Right Time for Graduate School »