Choosing a Graduate Program

Students listening at a workshop Students listening at a workshop

Most graduate programs are pretty specialized, so it’s important to focus your attention on just a few schools, rather than applying to everything under the sun. Not to mention that the costs can add up, just think back to when you were applying for undergrad.

When choosing a graduate program, you should:
  1. Create a targeted list of schools you wish to apply to and that you believe you will be admitted to. While it is great to have a dream-school that might be a long shot, you should also pick some “safety” schools which you are fairly certain you’ll get into.
  2. Consider program faculty since the academic experience is the most important piece and will impact your ultimate goals. Quality of faculty and the number of whom do research in your area of interest might be the deciding factor.
  3. Do research! Talk to faculty AND students of that program. You should be able to get in contact with current students (or past ones) via the program director. Conduct an informational interview about why they chose that program, would they choose it again, and why. They are the experts.
  4. Make sure the campus meets your needs. Is their focus on their undergraduate or graduate population? Is that what you are looking for? Do they have enough labs, libraries, assistantships, fellowships?

Pre-Professional Education

Are you considering working in healthcare or law? Many careers in these fields require a graduate or professional degree, and there are many majors and minors that can prepare you for these degrees. Most, however, require prerequisite courses, so make sure you talk to an academic advisor who can help you plan your classes to best suit your interests.


If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or pharmacy, meet with one of our highly trained coaches. The University offers additional resources through the Office of Pre-Health Advising and Mentoring, including a list of Pre-Health Guidelines and a variety of informational programs. If you are interested in Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy or Public Health, you should also meet with an adviser in the School of Nursing and Health Studies.


Are you thinking about a career in law? Start by coming checking out this Pre-Law Handbook, which contains information about what you can study as an undergraduate in addition to information about the LSAT and law school admission process. For more information, click here.