Identifying and Researching Programs

Once you have clarified your educational goals and the type of graduate degree you wish to pursue, identify where programs are offered. Your research might include using the following:

Faculty, Alumni, and Other Professionals in Your Field

Identify faculty members and professionals whose interests match yours and ask for their advice along with program recommendations.

LinkedIn is an excellent resource for identifying individuals, including Buffalo State alumni, who may be able to provide you with insight to aid in your decision making.

Attend Events/Fairs

Each fall semester the Career and Professional Education Center sponsors a Graduate School Fair and The Greater Western New York Law School Fair. There are many advantages to meeting representatives from graduate and law schools in person including:

  • Educate yourself: Meeting with representatives from graduate and professional schools can help you identify programs that are the right match for you.
  • Get Prepared: Ask specific questions about application procedures and find out what schools/programs look for in prospective candidates.
  • Connect Personally: Make face-to-face connections with school representatives and get the personal attention you can't get online.

Online Resources

Read the information each school has available online to gain a solid understanding of the programs you are interested in and the requirements.

Graduate Programs at Buffalo State

Websites to research a variety of programs by location, program, and other factors:

  • Peterson's
  • Graduate Guide - Searchable directory of graduate school programs in the US and Canada.
  • - Searchable database of online master's and doctoral programs.
  • U.S. NEWS - Grad school rankings and other items.

  • Field specific websites:

    What Factors Should I Consider as I Compare Programs?

    Use information provided on individual graduate admissions offices and department websites to make a realistic assessment of your candidacy.

    Admission Requirements: There will likely be some admissions criteria, such as minimum GPAs or admission test scores. Keep in mind that these scores are just one part of your application, and that most schools interested in well-rounded candidates. It is unlikely that one component of your application is going to make or break you.

    Curriculum/Program: Does it have the depth and breadth you want? Does the primary emphasis address your career goals? Do the courses look interesting? Are specializations of interest offered? Is the program properly accredited? Is a thesis, comprehensive exam, or internship required for graduation? Can the program be completed on both a full or part-time basis?

    Internships or Practical/Clinical Experiences: Does the program include any practical experience in its requirements? Is there help in securing it? Is there adequate supervision and guidance?

    Faculty: What is the student/faculty ratio? Are there faculty members with specialties that interest you? Do faculty research interests match yours? Is the faculty diverse?

    Facilities: How extensive are their resources? Ex. library, labs and computer facilities? Are there specialized research facilities?

    Students: What are the demographics of the student body (geographical representation, ethnic diversity, average entering age, male/female ratio)? How many are in the entering class? What is the graduation rate?

    Location: Is the school located in or near an area where you would be happy to live throughout the course of the program or even after graduation? What will housing cost and is there housing on campus? Don't rule out an unfamiliar city or state prematurely; focus on where the programs are that best meet your needs.

    Employment: What types of positions have recent graduates obtained? Are there services available to assist graduate students with the job search, like an alumni network?

    Cost: In addition to tuition and fees, what expenses will you incur such as books, transportation, housing. Does the school or program have opportunities to receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, assistantships, or fellowships? What is the cost of living in the area where the program is located?

    A Word About Graduate School Rankings...

    Faculty and professionals in your intended field may be the best resource in assessing which are considered the better programs - ask several their opinion and see if there is consistency in responses. Use published rankings as guides rather than the definitive word.

Career & Professional Education

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