Research Beyond the Rankings
Degree programs in the humanities, arts, and sciences become very specialized on the graduate level. While a certain history department may have a great reputation for its faculty in modern European cultural history, it may not be strong in 20th century U.S. intellectual history. Discuss your research interests in-depth in with your DUS and professors to identify programs geared to your academic focus. Read scholarly journals and make note of the credentials and educational experience of those scholars you admire.
The Master’s vs. the PhD
Many students prefer to enroll directly in a PhD program upon completing their undergraduate degree. Some PhD programs will award a Master’s degree upon completion of coursework, exams and other requirements for the M.A. or M.S. with the option to leave the program at that point. Some institutions offer terminal Master’s degree programs, such as an M.A. in English or an M.S. in Math. If you plan to pursue teaching or research at the university level, you will most likely need to complete a PhD.
Points to Consider
Composition of Program:
Students should consider the academic requirements for degree completion; thesis and/or dissertation requirements; foreign language competency requirements; opportunities to take electives or courses outside of the department or school; whether advisers are assigned or chosen; the availability of fellowships, assistantships, or other types of financial aid; and the quality of lab and research facilities.
Students should consider whether faculty members represent specific academic or research interests; the faculty/student ratio; and the variety of viewpoints represented among the discipline.
Students should consider the composition and diversity of students in the program; attrition rate; availability of on-campus housing; presence of student clubs and organizations; and the quality of student health and support services.
Students should consider where and in what type of positions program graduates are working and at what salary level.