An online graduate school is accredited and qualified to provide students pursuing a master’s or doctorate (Ph. D) with the respective degree in one of many educational programs. Students need to have either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree before they are eligible to enroll in a graduate school program, in addition to at least a 3.0 grade point average. Moreover, having a master’s degree is necessary before continuing in a doctorate program that culminates with awarding the student a Ph.D. diploma.
Information Regarding Online Graduate School Programs
The most popular graduate school programs offered by online schools are Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Education, Master of Arts in Engineering and Doctorates in Computer Science or Law. Length of time to complete a graduate program ranges from two to six years, depending on relevant requirements, amount of internship experience needed and how long it takes the student to finish his or her dissertation.
Completing one of two standardized tests called the Graduate Record Examination or the Graduate Management Admission Tests is usually part of most graduate school programs admission procedures. The tests consists of three sections designed to measure a student’s ability with quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and analytical writing
Scores provided by the GRE are employed by online graduate school admissions representatives as a supplement to letters of recommendation by teachers and undergraduate course grades in order to determine whether the student is a viable candidate for their program. For more information regarding testing dates and cost of taking the test, visit the GRE Examination. Business and management graduate programs will ask that students take the GMAT prior to applying for a program. The Graduate Management Admission Test is taken on a computer and is comprised of four sections–Verbal Skills, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative/Mathematical and Analytical Writing. One advantage the GMAT has over the GRE is its ability to adjust to an individual’s knowledge level. Initially, a student is given questions that are considered to be of medium difficulty
The program then automatically scores each answer as the student enters them, which influences the level of the following questions. So if you answer questions correctly on the GMAT, the ensuing questions given to you will be more difficult than if you had answered with incorrect answers. Find out more about the GMAT at the examination’s official website: Graduate Management Admission Test.
Admission into An Online Graduate School Program
Gaining admission into a graduate program is different than simply enrolling in undergraduate classes. Representatives overseeing the graduate program examine various documents that the potential grad student provides to them before deciding if the student possesses the exceptional qualities needed to succeed in a graduate program.
What is needed to apply to a graduate program:
- Scores from your GRE or GMAT examination
- Transcripts covering all undergraduate courses
- A statement of interest/letter of intent–this is an original, creative statement composed by the student that states why he or she wants a career in this particular field, what goals they wish to accomplish and any relevant skills or talents they have which would contribute to their success in this graduate program. A letter of intent is essentially a resume written in essay form but resembling a body of prose that reflects the student’s own voice and ability to grab the interest of the program’s commissioners
- Letter of recommendation–these are letters (having two or three is advisable) written by any of the student’s former undergraduate instructors who worked closely with the student and can vouch for his or her academic talents. Letters of recommendation can also come from employers with whom the student worked as an intern while taking undergraduate classes
It may take several weeks before receiving an answer concerning your application for admittance to an online graduate school program. Acceptance rates differ according to program type, with some programs being more competitive than others. Psychology, medicine, philosophy and physics are some of the most difficult graduate programs to enter due to intensity of the material and amount of research required to develop an exceptional dissertation.
What is a Dissertation?
A dissertation is frequently a required part of an online graduate school program, especially with programs involving research, laboratory studies or analysis of new and/or existing ideas regarding current trends within that field of study. Graduate students initially propose an original idea for the dissertation to program directors, who either accept or deny the proposal. If accepted, the grad student then proceeds to gather information necessary to defend his or her ideas in the dissertation which is presented orally at the end of the program
If program directors do not think the graduate student adequately defended the dissertation’s thesis, he or she will have to rewrite the thesis until it is considered acceptable. Until then, the grad student will not be given a a Ph. D. degree or earn the title of “Doctor”.
Paying for Online Graduate School
Graduate students may find assistance in paying for their education through:
Private loans (variable or fixed rate interest)
Unlike Pell Grants that are available to income-eligible undergraduate students and do not need repaid, Private Loans do need to be repaid when the student has completed his or her graduate program. More information regarding graduate loans can be found at Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Accredited Online Graduate School Programs
Before applying to an online graduate school, students should make sure the school is fully accredited by regional and national accrediting organizations. Regional organizations that are recognized as leaders in determining the quality and standards practiced by online and traditional higher educational institutions are:
- New England Association of Schools & Colleges
- North Central Association Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Northwest Association Of Schools And Colleges
Additional accrediting agencies to look for when searching for an excellent online graduate school program include:
- Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation
- American Psychological Association
- Distance Education And Training Council
- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Things to Consider Before Applying to Graduate School
Many students who begin a graduate program but fail to complete its requirements simply failed to realize how intense graduate courses can be. A graduate student needs to devote 90 percent of his or her life to graduate studies, internships, research and writing papers as well as the all-important dissertation. If you do not think you will be able to commit the majority of your time to an online graduate school program, you may consider waiting until your life is less occupied with other things
Additionally, graduate school is quite expensive, regardless if you take online classes or attend a traditional college or university. Make sure that the master’s or Ph. D degree you eventually earn in a certain career field will pay for the loans you take out as a grad student. High-paying jobs such as doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, engineers and business administration positions are careers that can guarantee an above-average annual salary. However, earning a master’s or Ph. D. in academic fields such as philosophy, the arts or the humanities provide minimal job opportunities that are extremely competitive and mostly involving teaching at universities or colleges
Best Graduate Degrees
To learn more about the best graduate degrees by category or degree type.