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Melissa Bennett
Graduate and Pre-Professional School Advisor

Melissa Bennett

Graduate & Pre-Professional School Advisor

Researching Graduate Programs and Considerations

Find the right graduate school for you.

Consider taking the following steps to research degree programs and schools:

  • Meet with current faculty and advisors to identify programs of interest.
  • See if there are professional associations and use them to learn more about degree programs in your field of interest.
  • Contact graduate schools' admissions offices to learn about both academic programs and student life. For example, Graduate Admissions at Drexel offers weekly live chat sessions for prospective graduate students to learn more. 
  • Tour as many schools as possible.
  • Attend graduate school fairs, such as the one Drexel holds each year. You can find out about more local and virtual fairs on If you are not already a member, you can find out more about Handshake.
  • Network with alumni who've pursued graduate degrees of interest or attended schools you would like to know more about.
  • After searching broadly for graduate schools that interest you, visit each university's homepage, which typically has links for graduate admissions and information on their application process. Also, be sure to visit the website of the specific department or program you are interested in.
  • Contact departments or programs to get more detailed program information. Many schools offer information sessions for prospective students where you can ask questions about the school, specific programs, and the application process.
  • Conduct informational interviews with current graduate students, professionals, and faculty in the graduate programs you are considering.
  • Using any of the following resources to determine schools or programs that are right for you:
  • Meet with the graduate school advisor at the Steinbright Career Development Center to talk about your goals and to review your next steps. You can schedule an appointment by using the link in the sidebar.

Things to Consider When Researching Programs

  • Accreditation: There are two main types of accreditation, institutional and program specific. It is important to note that accreditation is not necessarily the key indicator of quality; however, you could face negative consequences if the program that confers your degree is not accredited.
  • Admission Standards: Many advanced degree programs publish this kind of information on their website, so look for the number of applicants compared with the number of acceptances and the minimum requirements for admission (this includes undergraduate grade point average and scores on standardized tests).
  • Reputation/Ranking: Lots of different organizations rank graduate programs, so while rankings can indicate quality, be sure you also look at the rankings' grade source. Regarding reputation, you can do this research online through professional organizations or by asking faculty in your area.
  • Faculty: Does the program's faculty members publish regularly? Where do their articles appear — is it in highly-regarded peer reviewed journals? What are the faculty you are interested in learning from currently researching? Does this match your interests?
  • Facilities: Consider the quality of on-site facilities such as libraries, computer labs, and research facilities and the geographic location of the school (consider quality of life, whether you would relocate after you finish and your "fit" with the rest of the student population).
  • Finances: What is the tuition for the program? Does that include fees? What fees are associated with the program? What kind of financial assistance is available? Do they have assistantships? If so, what do these entail — research or teaching are the most common. Are there fellowships and grants? Make sure you examine all associated costs, including books and supplies, housing, and other expenses.
  • Graduation Requirements: Does the program require a final project, such as a thesis, dissertation, and/or comprehensive test?
  • After graduation: What opportunities are there for internships, research, and jobs while you are in the program? Will these provide skills, resources, or a network that will help you advance your career? Are there career center services designed for graduate students?

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