Graduate education encompasses research, study, and teaching beyond the bachelor’s degree. While undergraduate education leads to a bachelor’s degree, graduate education leads to a master’s degree and/or a doctorate, also called a doctoral degree.
Often, graduate degrees help people advance further in their careers and earn more over a lifetime. Some fields require graduate degrees, while others encourage them. Students may pursue a graduate degree immediately upon completing a bachelor’s or return to graduate school later.
Undergraduate coursework typically includes classes in general education subjects, such as math, science, and humanities, as well as classes in your chosen major. Undergraduate coursework is designed to provide students with a broad-based education and a foundation of knowledge in their chosen field.
Graduate coursework, on the other hand, refers to the level of study a student completes after earning a bachelor's degree. This includes masters and doctoral programs. Graduate coursework is usually more specialized and focused on a specific study area. It is designed to help students build advanced knowledge and skills in their field and prepare them for careers in research, academia, or other professional roles. Additionally, graduate courses often involve more rigorous assessments, such as comprehensive exams, research papers, and dissertations, as opposed to exams, essays, and group projects common in undergraduate courses.
Graduate students are expected to be more self-directed and able to work independently, while undergraduate students often have more structured coursework and instructor guidance. Typically graduate courses have higher expectations for students in their level of independent thinking, research, and analysis.
As a part of your graduate school experience often, students are provided opportunities to develop professional skills and gain practical experience through internships, research projects, and networking events.