Graduate and Professional School

Three students in white lab coats surrounding a fourth student on an exercise bike.

How is graduate school different from undergraduate education?

Compared to undergraduate studies, graduate school is a more concentrated course of study and expectations regarding the quality and quantity of your academic work are greater. Graduate programs also entail:

  • Focused studies in a specific discipline with fewer elective possibilities
  • Rigorous evaluation of your work by professors and peers
  • Smaller classes with much student interaction
  • Work experience via internships, teaching, or research
  • Production of original research is often required

What gradute degrees are available?

  • Specialist degrees are usually earned in addition to a master's degree and will require additional coursework, training, or internship experience. This type of degree usually prepares students for professional certification or licensing requirements (e.g., Ed.S. for school principal or credential for becoming a teacher).
  • Master's degrees are offered in many fields of study. Some are designed to lead to a doctoral degree while others are the "terminal" degree for a profession (e.g., Master of Library Science; Master of Business Administration). For full-time students, completing a master's degree usually takes 2 years.
  • Doctoral degrees are the highest degrees possible. They usually require the creation of new knowledge via independent research - be it basic or applied. Including the time it takes to write and defend a dissertation, this degree may take anywhere from 5-7 years to complete.

Why go to graduate school?

  • Lets you pursue more indepth study
  • You get to study with experts in the field
  • Expand your critical thinking skills
  • Can help you be more competitive in the work force
  • May lead to higher pay

Choosing a school

Applying to graduate school

Graduate School Abroad

Graduate Degree Funding Resources

Graduate School Assistance

  • Schedule an appt. with a Career Adviser to discuss graduate school options – Call 707-826-3341, email, visit our Live Chat at, or stop by Library 27 to schedule an appointment. 
  • Our office highly recommends the book: Graduate Admissions Essays by Donald Asher. It is available in our ACAC Library and at the reserve desk in the Humboldt Library
  • Testing Center - Test application materials such as: GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, MAT
  • Office of Graduate Studies - Provides information on Humboldt Graduate Programs and potential research opportunities.
  • Learning Center - Offers workshops on test taking strategies, particularly GRE preparation.
  • Humboldt Library - Offers directories of graduate programs by discipline areas (ask for help at the reference desk to find these) Links on the Library’s Web page to graduate school information (includes catalogs on line).
  • Humboldt Bookstore - You can purchase a booklet “Guide for Prospective Graduate Students,” published by the Council of Graduate Schools.

Below are some additional questions to ask yourself regarding other factors:

  • Academic requirements: What is the GPA requirement? What is the program’s average GPA? Does my GPA meet the requirement or is it close to their average? Have I completed all of the prerequisites required for the program? Do you need to take the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, or any other entrance exam?
  • Experience requirements: What are the experience requirements for the program? Have I completed and documented those experiences? If your academic history doesn’t qualify you as a strong candidate, taking some time to gain experience in the field could boost your application.
  • Ally communities: Does this university have resources for undocumented students? How easy is it to find support on campus through a form of an Undocumented Student Services office? What student organizations are available to find support? Some examples include Pre-Health Dreamers, Dream Bar Association, and Graduates Reaching a Dream Deferred.
  • Cost: What types of financial aid are available to me? Does this program or university offer scholarships and/or assistantships to offset the cost of graduate school? Do they provide a full-ride offer for undocumented students?
  • Licensure: Many fields require certification or licensure at the completion of an advanced program, i.e. Teacher Credential, Law School. Check with the schools you are considering to see how you status could impact the licensure process for your chosen field.