Graduate studies give you the advanced skills necessary to go beyond in a given field. With a graduate education, you can take on specialised roles that you might never have been given access to otherwise.
The highest education a student can complete is a graduate degree in the form of a master’s, doctorate or graduate certificate. A graduate education is any degree that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher to enroll. Once a student completes the necessary undergraduate requirements, they can continue education with, first, their master’s, then, their doctoral degree.
Many often wonder what the difference is between an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree.
What is an undergraduate degree?
An undergraduate degree is a degree that can be obtained after receiving your high school diploma or equivalent. Each type of undergraduate degree indicates the level of study. An associate degree is typically any program designed to be completed in two years or less with a 60-credit-hour requirement, while a bachelor’s degree is usually a four-year, 120-credit-hour program, although the credit hours and time to complete can vary greatly depending on the degree.
An associate degree can be used toward a bachelor’s degree at institutions that offer bridge-to-bachelor’s programs. This program allows you to transfer up to 60 credits to be used toward your bachelor’s degree.
What is a graduate degree?
A graduate degree is any degree that occurs after fully completing your undergraduate education. That is, once you’ve completed your undergraduate education in the highest form with a bachelor’s degree, you can begin working toward your graduate education starting with a master’s degree, or even a post-baccalaureate certificate.
Graduate education can come in the form of a master’s degree, Doctoral degree, or Juris Doctor.
Dual Undergrad and Grad Programs
Some 4+1 programs allow you to begin working toward your graduate degree in tandem with your undergraduate studies, but requirements must be met before you can fully enter your graduate program of choice. Not only this, but you can expect to finish your master’s degree in half the time or as little as 12 months!
A master’s degree typically takes 1.5 to 2 years to complete and consists of a curriculum of 30 to 40 graduate-level credits, including a formal dissertation or some form of advanced research. There are two types of master’s degrees, professional and academic degrees, and the difference between the two is the job function.
Professional degrees allow those holding a master’s degree to take on a specialized role or more managerial position within an organization or lead to a specific career, such as a master of business administration (MBA). An academic degree will require a thesis or other types of research and even teaching experience.
Some master’s degree programs include:
Master of Arts Degree
Master of Science Degree
Master of Fine Arts
Master of Professional Studies
Master of Business Administration etc.
A doctoral degree can be obtained after completing your master’s degree. A doctoral degree typically takes 1.5 to 2 years and consists of 60 graduate-level credits, including a formal dissertation and/or some form of advanced research.
Some doctoral degree programs include:
Juris Doctor (JD)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Having a graduate education can help you make full use of your time, money and energy invested into college. It all depends on what you want to do after you graduate, and an academic advisor will help guide you through the process for your chosen career pathway.