Have you made the decision to go to graduate school but don’t know how to choose the right one? Grad school is a significant time investment, which is why it is critical to find the right school and program for you. As you look to find a graduate school that is of interest, it is important to consider more than just what program to study.
If you’ve only thought about the program – business, education, healthcare, or something else—you’re not alone. That’s where most people begin researching.
Types of Programs
What you may not have thought about is the type of program. There are different types of programs – they’re all good. It’s just that some may better fit your personality or preferred learning style better. If you like working on projects and interacting with people, a theory-based program where you spend a significant amount of time reading may not be the right fit for you.
The following are types of graduate programs:
In these programs, you learn about the theory in your discipline. These typically involve significant reading and writing to understand the nuances of the specific theories in the field and how individuals and groups relate and react to those theories. The Arkansas Tech University Master of Liberal Arts program is an example of this type of program.
In these programs, you will learn about the theory that is relevant to the field, but you will also advance your field by constructing new knowledge. For example, ATU has several engineering and science programs that are research-based.
Practical or Applied Programs
In these programs, you will have both aspects of learning. You may learn about theory, but the focus is more on how to apply and use that theoretical knowledge to make the world and your field a better place. For example, Arkansas Tech offers a Student Affairs program and an MBA with a data analytics concentration that is both practical and theoretical in nature.
Find the Right Program For You
While it is important to think about the interest area, it is also critical to spend time researching programs that will match your preferred learning style. Most master’s programs are a couple of years, and that is a significant amount of time to spend in a program that you do not enjoy.