Grad School 101

Requirements & Prerequisites

Graduate programs can help students build on the knowledge they gained in undergraduate school and/or further specialize in their field of study. Many students also attend graduate school to change careers. Graduate students will earn an advanced degree, typically either a master’s or a doctoral degree, which can take anywhere from 1-8 years to complete.

Students who are interested in graduate school should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Other requirements may vary depending on your college or university and program of study, but will typically include submitting an application with required materials and taking the appropriate entrance exam.

Some graduate programs require admission testing, while others do not. The most common graduate admission exams are:

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE is the most widely used examination for master’s level programs. Most graduate programs require at least the GRE to gauge an applicant’s strength in academic areas needed to move into a master’s or professional degree program.

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

The GMAT is typically required for admission to graduate business programs. The GMAT tests applicants to see if their analytical, quantitative, and literary skills are strong enough to be successful in graduate business programs.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is a challenging test is geared primarily towards law school applicants. The LSAT exam is designed to test the critical reading and analytical thinking skills that are crucial for success in law school.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The longest of the admission tests, the MCAT is required for admission into medical schools. It is a full day exam that tests applicants’ strengths in all areas of science, critical thinking, and reasoning skills. This test is very challenging, as successful applicants need to have the necessary skills to endure the rigorous demands of medical school.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The TOEFL is primarily required for non-native English speaking students. This exam will help determine if the applicant has enough fluency in the English language to be successful to attend a graduate program in the U.S. and a subsequent career, where English is the primary language.

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