What are the different types of graduate programs available to undergraduate students?

What are the different types of graduate programs available to undergraduate students?

What Next? A Basic Guide to Graduate Studies for Canadian Undergraduate Students

What comes after graduation? What opportunities are available to me? And how do I enter the world of academia? These are all questions that many science undergraduate students wonder about throughout their undergraduate years. This blog post will be a short overview to introduce you to the wide variety of options available for you.

Upon completing their bachelor’s degrees, many students pursue professional programs such as pharmacy, medicine, or dentistry. However, many others choose to enter the world of academia, which is done by pursuing a master’s degree or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in a specific field. A master’s degree can be course-based or thesis-based and is usually completed prior to pursuing a Ph.D. A course-based master’s degree is very similar to many undergraduate programs, whereas thesis-based master’s degrees entail more independence and are student-lead. However, there are a few master’s programs that are not focused on research, but rather focus on preparing students for direct employment upon completion. An example of this is the Master of Pathologists’ Assistant offered at the University of Calgary.

While master’s programs usually last anywhere between one to two years, a Ph.D. is much more complicated and may require several years to complete. A Ph.D. is similar to traditional master’s degrees in that it requires the student to submit an original thesis, but it also requires students to undergo candidacy exams. A candidacy exam determines whether the Ph.D. candidate has the required knowledge in the field of interest and related fields to complete a thesis successfully. The exam may be written and/or oral, and only after a student passes the exam may they begin their project.

Attaining a graduate degree in any field of interest provides individuals with many additional opportunities in the world of academia or industry. Many may pursue careers as professors, whereas others choose to work with pharmaceutical companies or begin their research group. The right choice for you may be different, but we hope that you are now a little more informed regarding options available for you!  

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