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Fisher Graduate Business Admissions Blog

What is Graduate School?

Posted by Alex Masica on Feb 19, 2018 10:12:09 AM

Graduate school is an optional advanced program that comes after undergraduate studies, where you focus on a specific topic or field of study. Some graduate programs are academic, where students are actively conducting research on a chosen topic. Others are professional, where students are focused on developing specialized skills for the workplace. Some programs are a combination of both.


Graduate school differs from undergraduate programs in a number of ways. The most obvious differentiation is that graduate school focuses on a specific field of study, like business or law, where undergraduate is usually a mix of different studies.

Depending on the program, some graduate schools also have smaller class sizes than undergraduate settings, giving students more interaction with each other and with faculty. Additionally, students are pushed to produce world-class work that is evaluated more rigorously. Some programs also give students real-world experience through internships, part-time jobs, consulting projects, and study abroad programs.

What types of graduate school degrees are available?

Typically, graduate-level degrees fall into two different buckets: master and doctorate

  • Master’s degrees are offered in a variety of studies and offer a deeper dive into coursework taught at the undergraduate level. Some master’s degrees lead to a doctorate program and prepare you for academia while others prepare students to enter the workplace. These programs are usually two years in length. Some include a summer internship in-between the two years.
  • Doctorate degrees are the highest attainable degree. Typically, doctorate degrees require students to create new research in their given field of study, in addition to taking many courses which can be both within the school and in other schools on campus. It's not for the faint of heart! Students who pursue a doctorate degree typically enter academia as professors and researchers, but some go on to work elsewhere. Doctorate degrees take five to seven years to complete, including the time it takes to complete a dissertation.

Not sure which graduate program is right for you? Take this short quiz to see your options.

Topics: Graduate school, what is graduate school

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