What are the Levels of Graduate School?

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Updated: November 13, 2023, Reading time: 5 minutes

grad school levels

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Graduate school is for students who have acquired a bachelor's degree and wish to pursue advanced and specialized study in a given subject. In order to apply for graduate school, students must usually have already obtained an undergraduate degree. Although only around 13% of the U.S. population have obtained an advanced degree, it is becoming increasingly necessary and also much more common.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of people with Master's and Doctoral Degrees has doubled since the turn of the century. When considering the possibility of attending graduate school, students may need to make a choice between their various options as well as exactly how specialized they would like to be.

Master's Degrees

Most people who attend graduate school are pursuing a master's degree. As the next academic step following a bachelor's degree, a master's degree usually requires around two additional years of study. The type of master's degree that a student obtains is usually related to which subject or discipline they are studying.

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Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral degrees are considered the highest degree that one can obtain in a course of study. There are two basic types of doctoral degrees. The first is the academic doctorate or Ph.D. which prepares students to teach and/or research within a university system. The second is the professional doctorate. The professional doctorate gives graduates the ability to work professionally in fields such as medicine, law, or business.

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