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Explore Your Options

Once you’ve decided that pursuing a graduate degree is your goal, you then must choose the graduate programs to which you will apply. Perhaps the most important factor in choosing a graduate program is making sure that some of the faculty in that department are doing the type of work that interests you and that they are willing to take you on as a student.

Take time to think about these additional questions for each program you consider:

  • Does this program have small or large classes?
  • What is the average number of years it takes students to complete their degrees?
  • What teaching opportunities will I have if I get a funded position?
  • What is the level of financial support?
  • What is the surrounding area like? Will I enjoy living in this location?

What To Do

If you read a fascinating article in a journal about your area of interest, reach out to that author and find out if they are accepting students. Get your current professors’ advice about what other faculty members across the country are doing research in your area of interest. Most students choose a graduate program based on an interest in working with a particular faculty member.

What Not To Do

If you want to study the effects of climate change on rural populations in Sub-Sahara Africa, but no one at the institution works on that issue, do not choose that school, no matter how much you love their football team or think you want to live in that city. Because your study will be so focused, its important to find a program that is a great fit for your interests and needs!

Search Graduate Schools and Programs

For graduate school rankings, check out U.S. News & World Report and

To learn more about a career in academics, visit The Chronicle of Higher Education.