When looking into graduate school, there are certain degree programs that provide students with a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend. Here is the general breakdown to help guide you as you look into graduate school and which degree program best meets your needs.
Professional master’s degree: A professional master’s degree is a non-thesis, non-research degree. Students who complete this degree will typically complete a certain number of graduate-level courses and may need to complete a capstone project. A professional master’s is considered a terminal degree that usually takes one year to complete and is not a degree that leads into the doctoral (Ph.D.) degree. Most professional master’s degrees are self-funded, which means the student needs to pay for their own tuition and fees.
Master’s with thesis degree: A master’s with thesis degree is a research-based master’s degree that requires students to complete graduate-level coursework, research, and write/deposit a thesis. A master’s with thesis can lead into the doctoral (Ph.D.) degree and usually takes about two years to complete. Students enrolled in this type of degree are usually eligible for assistantships, which usually will provide a partial to full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend.
Doctoral (Ph.D.) degree: A Ph.D. degree is a research-based degree that requires students to complete graduate-level coursework, extensive research, oral/written exams (Qualifying, Prelim and Final Exam), and write/deposit a thesis. The Ph.D. degree will usually take students five to six years to complete. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. degree usually are provided funding to complete this degree either through an research assistantship, a teaching assistantship, a graduate assistantship or a fellowship. Usually, the assistantship will provide the student with a partial to full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend.
Search for Fellowships Opportunities
- Stem Graduate Programs and Fellowships
- External Fellowship Opportunities
- External Fellowships Opportunities for Underrepresented Groups
- External Fellowships for Female Students
Choose the Right School Based on Offer Letter
Students who apply to multiple schools may receive multiple offer letters and it is important to keep the following points in mind when reviewing the different offers.
- Is it the right program for you and will you be excited about the research or courses you will be completing?
- If offered financial assistance, look at the cost of living for each location to compare the different financial offers. Some universities’ offers may seem higher but may not be after considering the cost of living.
- How did you feel when you visited the university? Is it a place you can see yourself for the amount of time you will need to complete the degree?