© 2002
Eric Hastie

Reasons for Graduate School:

There are two main reasons people go to graduate school.
First, grad school is for students to continue education, or second, for students to earn a professional degree required for a certain job.

Graduate school offers smaller classes than undergraduate where you can talk one on one with your professors. Even in a larger program you will be a member of a small group of students.

Another reason for the degree is that most people with advanced degrees earn more money. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1998 the average salary for someone with a bachelor's was $40,478, while someone with a master's earned $51,183, and someone with a doctorate earned $77,445.

Another plus is the mobility in jobs. A graduate degree can often make sense for different jobs and not limit you to a particular career path.

Why do you want a graduate degree?

It is important to have a clear view of your future career path. Determine how a master's will help you on the path. If you want to become a college professor, the journalism degree is a must.

The main purpose of determining your goals is to discover if this is the right time for you to be attending grad school. If you have any thoughts that you might want to wait, you should consider working for a while before hitting the books. The clearer your goals when you apply, the more you will gain from the experience.

Journalism is not one of those professions that require a master's. Although in the future the field is going to be much more competitive and the degree could prove beneficial. The main purpose for a journalism master's is for college teaching positions. It is also better to get experience working at a publication because your chances of getting a job at a top-notch publication are slim if you have no real world skills. Look to see if there are internship or work opportunities in the town you are considering for graduate school.

How much time does it take?

Graduate school means hard work. Most programs set much higher standards for their graduates than undergraduates. Your life will be consumed by late study hours in empty libraries. Whereas the undergraduate emphasis was on tests and grades, the graduate experience requires knowledge of the entire field. The master's programs at most schools last one to one and a half years.

So now you want to go, but when?