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GPS 470: Senior Seminar (2020): Graduate Schools

This is a guide for Professor Schumm's senior seminar class.

Searching for a Graduate School

US News & World Report regularly ranks graduate schools. You can search by field, then filter by specialty. Once you've found a program that looks interested, go to the departmental page to find our more information.

List of accredited theology schools. 

US medical schools accepting international students.

Think you've found a program that looks good? Talk to your professors about that program - chances are they know someone or have heard of it. You can also contact faculty members at that school for more information. Also, ask if there any alums you can talk to about the program. Be prepared to ask for the good, the bad, and the ugly:

  • Why did you attend the program?
  • What funding opportunities are there? 
  • How many years does funding last?
  • What did you like least about the program?
  • What is life like at __________ University (or insert city)?
  • What opportunities are there for research/graduate assistanceships?

Just like searching for employment, the cost of living where you attend graduate school is very important. 

Use a Cost of living calculator to compare it to Roanoke and/or your hometown.

Evaluating a Grad Program

  • Reputation of the Faculty - What are their academic degrees/credentials and research specialties? What is the student/faculty ratio? Look at faculty websites if available.
  • Quality of the Program - This is measured by many different factors, many of which are mentioned below. You may choose to look at graduate school rankings to help you assess a program's quality; however, the rankings may be based on criteria that are different from your own. What's more, many scholars, deans, and advisors question the validity of such rankings.
  • Financial Costs - What are the opportunities for fellowships, assistantships, or scholarships? What other sources of financial aid are available?
  • Admission Requirements - GPA test scores, undergraduate coursework, specific entrance examinations, etc.
  • Available Course Offerings - Are courses you need to fulfill degree requirements frequently offered? Will the course offerings help you meet your professional or educational goals?
  • Employment - Where are graduates of the program working, and how much are they earning?
  • Facilities - Consider the quality of on-site facilities such as libraries, computer labs, and research facilities.
  • Geographic Location - Will studying in a particular location help you meet personal or professional goals?
  • Student Life - Consider the diversity of students, student organizations, housing, and campus support services.

List from UC Berkley's Career Center