Graduate School Planning

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Room 102
180 Riverway
Boston, MA

Current Students, use MyWheelock to make an appointment. (click on Appointments to search the Career Services calendar for an open appointment.)

Alumni, ask questions or make appointments via email to

Exploring the Possibilities

Should I Attend?

Whether or not to attend graduate school or enter the workforce after completing your undergraduate degree is a big decision. Graduate school is a great option for students/alumni looking to: specialize in a professional or academic area, advance career options, change careers or conduct research that adds to a professional body of knowledge. Graduate school should not be used as an option to delay entering the workforce—there should be a true professional purpose and plan for your post-graduate school career.

Graduate school is about specializing in an area. For this reason, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to study and why, so that you choose a degree and focus that meet your career and/or personal goals.

It is also important to consider financial, family and person responsibilities that may affect your ability to successfully attend graduate school.

Types of Degrees - Masters vs. Doctoral Degrees

  • Takes 1-3 Years to Complete
  • Professional/Career Focused
  • May require thesis paper or final project
  • Degrees: M.A., M.S., M.S.W., M.B.A., M.Ed., M.F.A., etc.
  • Takes 5-7 years to complete
  • Research Focused
  • Dissertation required - creating knowledge
  • Degrees: Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D., D.S.W., etc.

To learn more about both options, read this article on Master's vs. Ph.D. written by

Finding the Right School

Once you know the degree and programs you are seeking, it is time to locate schools with those options. Search for schools based on programs, degrees, location, etc. using the following websites:

Also be sure to talk to faculty about schools and programs that would fit your interests.

Evaluating Graduate Programs

Just like any big decision, you want to spend time researching graduate programs so that you can make an educated, informed choice on where to apply and attend. Learn about graduate programs through:

  • College/University websites
  • Open House events
  • Talking to faculty, alumni, friends, etc. who know about or were or are enrolled in the program


  • The institution – including its reputation, its mission, and the types of expertise and research interests of the faculty.
  • The program – does the focus of the program, the course requirements, and experiential learning opportunities match your needs and interests? What is the design of the cohort? Do you want a small or large cohort? Do you want a fixed schedule or flexibility? Do you want full-time or part-time? Do you want in-person or online classes?
  • The location – are you willing to move or do you want a program close to home?
  • The application requirements – is your GPA high enough for admission? What type of exams are required (GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT, etc.). Are there course or experience pre-requisites?
  • Funding opportunities – does the school offer scholarships, graduate assistantships, fellowships or research assistantships to help with or fully cover the cost of tuition, living expenses, etc.?


Know Application Requirements and Deadlines

Schools will have different application due dates that range from October through June for fall enrollment. Know the application deadline for each school to which you plan to apply and make sure all application materials are received on time.

Application requirements will vary by school, but here are some common ones:

  • Application and fee
  • College transcript: Order official Wheelock transcripts online through the National Student Clearinghouse on Wheelock's Office of Academic Records and Registration web page.
  • Test Scores from GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc.: Learn more about tests and testing agencies.
  • References: Make sure your references are aware of your applications well in advanced and have at least two weeks (preferably a month) to complete reference forms or letters. Find references that can speak to your most recent academic and professional experiences including professors and practicum/field experience/internship supervisors.
  • Statement of Purpose/Essays: Read more about writing your statement of purpose at or
  • Portfolio: Generally required for graduate programs in the arts.
  • Interview: When a school requires or offers the opportunity for an interview, take advantage of the process to promote your qualifications as well as learn more about the institution, faculty and program.

Financing Graduate School

Here are some options to help with funding graduate school attendance:

  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Student Loans
  • Graduate and Research Assistantships/Fellowships
  • Year of Service (AmeriCorps/VISTA, City Year, Peace Corps)
  • Your Employer

Learn more about these options by reading "How to Pay for Grad School" by the College Affordability Guide.

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