4 Factors To Consider While Thinking Of Graduate School

4 Factors To Consider While Thinking Of Graduate School
Graduate School graduate school 4 Factors To Consider While Thinking Of Graduate School uk trip july 2013 068 w640

Graduate School

Here are a few scenarios: you have been working for a while and are now thinking of going to graduate school; or you just graduated with a bachelor’s degree and are thinking of what to do next. Is graduate school right for you? The following are a few factors to consider:

1. Masters or Phd?

If you are thinking of a career in academics or research, you can try for a Phd. If you are unsure, you should go for a Masters. If you would like to upgrade yourself but still continue working at the same company, you should consider a Masters.

2. Funding

Funding support for PhDs is usually easier to obtain for research-intensive PhDs in comparison to a Masters. If you are doing a thesis-based Masters, you might have a chance for getting funding from universities but if you are doing a Professional Master’s’ program, chances are you will have to support yourself. Research-based Masters’ or PhD programs often receive funding support through a teaching or a research assistantship under an advisor and universities in the United States usually pay tuition plus a stipend for research-type graduate students. In addition, you can consider scholarships such as those provided by the Fulbright Program.

3. Interest/ Passion

Interest and passion is a requirement if you would like to pursue graduate school, especially for PhD programs. Doing a PhD can be frustrating, the research road in graduate school is tiring, and you might not always get the results that you want. You also end up spending long hours with your research. If you are not interested or not passionate about your area of research, it will be difficult to survive in graduate school.

4. Where should I go for graduate school?

Choosing a graduate school is different from choosing your university as an undergraduate. Typically if you would like to pursue a research-type Masters or PhD program, you would choose an advisor within your area of research interest, and determine whether they are able to support you as a graduate student for your period of study. Other considerations include the fact that you might have to be away from your family – choose a place where you can find a mosque, halal food, Muslims etc.

These are just basic considerations in the first steps of thinking of or looking for a graduate school. Is graduate school right for you? Do your research, and don’t forget to pray istikharah!


Khairunnisa Yahya

The author is currently a graduate student from Singapore studying Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University, U.S. She previously graduated with a Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering and worked in the National Environment Agency, Singapore. She also recently interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She is passionate about Islam and the natural environment.

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