A graduate school is a school that awards advanced academic degrees (i.e. master's degrees and Ph.D. degrees) with the general requirement that students must have earned a previous undergraduate (bachelor's) degree. A distinction is typically made between graduate schools (where courses of study do not provide training for a particular profession) and professional schools, which offer specialized advanced degrees in professional fields such as medicine, business, engineering, ministry or law.
Many universities award graduate degrees; a graduate school is not necessarily a separate institution. While the term "graduate school" is typical in the United States and often used elsewhere (e.g., the UK and Canada), "postgraduate education" is also used in some English-speaking countries (Australia, Canada, Ireland, India, New Zealand, and the UK) to refer to the spectrum of education beyond a bachelor's degree. Those attending graduate schools are called "graduate students" (in both American and British English), or often in British English as "postgraduate students" and, colloquially, "postgraduates" and "postgrads". Degrees awarded to graduate students include master's degrees, doctoral degrees, and other postgraduate qualifications such as graduate certificates and professional degrees.
Producing original research is often a significant component of graduate studies, including the writing and defense of a thesis or dissertation. The term "graduate school" is primarily North American. Additionally, in North America, the term does not usually refer to medical school (whose students are called "medical students"), and only occasionally refers to law school or business school. (The latter types of programs are often collectively termed professional schools).
Although graduate school programs are distinct experiences from undergraduate degree programs, graduate instruction (in Australia, the United States, and other countries) is often offered by some of the same senior academic staff and departments that teach undergraduate courses. Unlike in undergraduate programs, however, it is rare for graduate students to take coursework outside their specific field of study at graduate or graduate entry level. At the Ph.D. level, though, it is quite common to take courses from a wider range of study, for which some fixed portion of coursework, sometimes known as a residency, is typically required to be taken from outside the department and college of the degree-seeking candidate, to broaden the research abilities of the student. Some institutions designate separate graduate versus undergraduate staff and denote other divisions (often called School of X, e.g., diplomacy)
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Famous quotes related to graduate school:
“1946: I go to graduate school at Tulane in order to get distance from a possessive mother. I see a lot of a red-haired girl named Maude-Ellen. My mother asks one day: Does Maude-Ellen have warts? Every girl Ive known named Maude-Ellen has had warts. Right: Maude-Ellen had warts.”
—Bill Bouke (20th century)