Class of 2020 Looks to Graduate Study as an Option

Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center South Porch
Photographed: south porch at Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center on the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville.

Rarely, if ever, has a group of Arkansas Tech University graduates received its bachelor’s degrees and entered a more uncertain world than the one that awaits the class of 2020.

The circumstances created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have created the highest unemployment rates seen in the United States since the Great Depression.

As result, some ATU graduates may find continuing education to be the best investment of their time until the economy recovers.

“During this time, the job search for seniors needs to be reimagined,” said Amanda Johnson, director of Norman Career Services at ATU. “Graduates must focus on gaining new skills during this pandemic. One option that many have not considered until now is graduate school. Obtaining a master’s degree is a great way to spend this time and to upgrade existing skill sets. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18 percent of all jobs will require a master’s degree by 2022.

“In today’s competitive job market, having a master’s degree can help set oneself apart and differentiate oneself within this competitive field,” continued Johnson. “The return on investment would be substantial. Not only is the pay 25 percent higher on the average, but there are more positions which require a master’s degree that go unfilled. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that, on average, 58.7 percent of undergrad completers are employed within six months of graduation, compared to 89 percent of graduates at the master’s degree level.”

Below is a list of graduate degrees, certificates and licensures offered at ATU.

Doctor of Education
School Leadership

Education Specialist
Educational Leadership

Master of Arts
English-Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)
Liberal Arts (Communications Concentration)
Liberal Arts (Fine Arts Concentration)
Liberal Arts (Social Sciences Concentration)
Multimedia Journalism
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Master of Business Administration
Business Administration (General Business Track)
Business Administration (Data Analytics Concentration)
Business Administration (Digital Marketing Concentration)

Master of Education
Educational Leadership
Instructional Technology (Library Media Specialist, K-12 Concentration)
Instructional Technology (Instructional Design and Technology Concentration)
K-12 Literacy
K-12 Literacy (Dyslexia Therapist K-12 Licensure Endorsement)
School Counseling and Leadership
School Leadership
Special Education B-K
Special Education K-12
Teaching, Learning and Leadership (Curriculum Administrator/Master Teacher Leader)
Teaching, Learning and Leadership (Non-Traditional Teacher Licensure)

Master of Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering

Master of Science
Applied Sociology (Criminal Justice Concentration)
Applied Sociology (Gerontology Concentration)
Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Health Informatics
Information Technology
Information Technology (Computer-Based Instructional Technology)
Strength and Conditioning Studies
Student Affairs Administration

Master of Science in Nursing
Nursing Administration and Emergency Management

Online Teaching
Student Affairs Administration (Advising)

Special Education K-12
Special Education Resources K-6, 7-12
Teaching, Learning and Leadership (Curriculum Administrator)
Teaching, Learning and Leadership (Instructional Facilitator)

ATU offers graduate assistantships and scholarships to help make the pursuit of advanced study attainable.

Learn more at

Learn more about Norman Career Services at