Posted January 27, 2015 by

7 Steps to Choosing the Right Master’s Program for You

3d image of mortar board with degree against white background

3d image of mortar board with degree against white background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Going to graduate school to work on a master’s degree is an exciting way to expand career options for the future. The first challenge is to find the best master’s program for you. Here are a few considerations that may help.

Requirements.

It is usually a good idea to compare graduate programs to find the one that best suits your learning style. Some require a thesis or thesis essays to be written. Others include an internship or practicum. The courses required and delivery style will also be worth noting.

Location.

Many graduate students choose a program close to home so they won’t have far to commute. Although they are willing to drive across town, many don’t necessarily want to travel across the country if they have established a family and have a job in the current location. However, distance learning provides the opportunity to study at a local campus while the program content is streamed via the Internet.

Cost.

Some schools are more expensive than others. You should determine how much you are willing to pay, and if the cost of the program is worth it. Checking with the financial aid office on campus can provide information about grants, scholarships, and loans, along with campus or local employment, if needed.

Onsite or online.

More college programs are being offered online, although some are available onsite. A mixture of the two systems is called a hybrid course. Online education works very well for someone who cannot attend classes on campus, for example, to work toward a master’s in public administration online.

Academic support.

If you have been out of school for a while or have concerns about some of the classes, you should inquire about support services like tutoring, advising, and research resources. These programs can help to bring a student up to date with current knowledge in a specific discipline and support the development of skills needed for academic success.

Timeline.

Many graduate programs can be completed within one to three years. Find out before you register how long the program will take, and how many credit hours per semester will be required or recommended.

Employment outlook.

Upon graduation with a master’s degree, is the employment rate high or low? Before investing thousands of dollars and years of your life, inquire about the employment rate following graduation.

Exploring issues like these can help you choose the best master’s program for your needs. Then get the ball rolling!

Karleia is a freelance blogger. Away from the office she enjoys spending time with her two daughters.

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