Steps to exploring programs
- Visit the Career Center to explore career goals and preparation for graduate and professional school
- Research and develop a list of potential graduate program. Consider the following:
- Curriculum and degree requirements
- Faculty and staff advising and support
- Research, teaching, and experiential opportunities
- Funding opportunities and financial support
- Geographic location and size
- Programs, resources and facilities within the program but also at the university in general
- Research appropriate resources (LSAC, AAMC, ADA, AACP, MBA.com, nursingworld.org, etc.)
- Meet with professors and other professionals in the field(s) that interests you to learn more about the field and possible recommendations for programs
Tools for finding programs
- U.S. News rankings
- Associations for each specific academic field (i.e. American Chemical Society, American Anthropological Society, Modern Language Association, etc.)
- Associations for each specific profession (i.e. National Association of Social Workers, National Education Association, American Nurses Association, etc.)
- Associations for programs and schools (i.e. LSAC, AAMC, SOPHAS, PPIA Program, etc.)
Depending on your interests, there may be graduate programs abroad that offer specializations not available in the US. There may also be better funding opportunities. Use the resources below to search for programs and read about the funding opportunities through the specific programs. In many countries, there are also government fellowships and funding available for international students.
Link Here to our International Student Page
Not sure how programs compare? Various organizations have created ranked lists and other tools to help differentiate between schools and programs in the same field. These rankings may suggest schools and programs that you have not yet considered; however, using any ranking as the sole basis for selecting a graduate or professional program is unwise.
Many factors are important to consider in choosing a graduate or professional program, and many of those factors are specific to your personal situation. This wide range of factors cannot be taken into account by any one published ranking scheme. Learn the factors considered and the methodology used to create the ranking systems you review. Seek advice from faculty members or professionals in your field to help you select programs that best meet your needs and goals.
Use the resources below to help you rate programs based on factors important to you.
The National Research Council (NRC) Rankings assess PhD programs in multiple fields every ten years. The NRC’s methodology has earned the confidence of the academic community. The report is also available in Geisel Library. PhDs.org used the NRC data to create a Grad School Rankings tool that allows you to customize the rankings based on your personal priorities.
Graduate & Professional Programs:
U.S. News and World Report publishes annual rankings based on data collected every one to three years. Their methodology, heavily dependent on reputation, has been criticized as an inherently flawed, easily manipulated approach. Note: the ranking of a school may not apply equally to all departments within that school – e.g., Vermont Law School overall has a low US News ranking, but the Environmental Law program at VLS is one of the top in the nation. While U.S. News and World Report is predominantly used in the U.S., the Academic Ranking of World Universities (established by Shanghai Jiao Tong University) and Times Higher Education World University Rankings are commonly used internationally.
Get experience: Students interested in pursuing graduate and professional school should aim to obtain the core foundation requirements necessary for their intended degree program. They do not necessarily need to have the same undergraduate major as the intended graduate program as long as they have the necessary pre-requisites if there are any. Students should check the admissions website for the specific program to determine if there are any pre-requisites.
To promote diversity in education and the work force, professional and graduate schools actively seek qualified students from all communities. To find resources (scholarships, experiential opportunities, information and guidance) especially for under-represented minority, first-generation college, and economically or educationally disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, women, LGBT students, and others ask the graduate school representatives for guidance on resources that best fit your needs.