Graduate School

At Career Services, we can help you make sure you’re on track for graduate school, find the right grad school program, and put together your personal statement and application.

Types of Degrees

  • Master's Degree: Usually takes one or two years to complete. Often, internships or fieldwork is part of the requirements.
  • Research Master's Degree: May involve writing a thesis or taking a comprehensive examination in addition to coursework.
  • Professional and Doctoral Degrees: At the doctoral level there are professional degrees and research degrees. The most common professional degrees are MD for medical or the JD for law. The research doctoral degree (PhD) involves coursework and research training while the final component usually involves original research and reporting on the research through a dissertation.

How to Choose the Right School

  • Research graduate programs carefully to choose the one that will best suit your needs and talents.
  • Consider a variety of factors such as accreditation, admission standards, career assistance, cost/financial aid, culture, degrees offered, faculty, location, diversity, facilities, reputation, research/academic focus, resources, size, residency requirements, and surrounding community.
  • Talk with your professors, career counselors, advisers and alumni to help identify the graduate program and university/college that best suits you.

When to Start Planning

Planning ahead is key in the graduate/professional school application process.

Use this checklist below to help guide you through the application process:

Junior Year

  • Start investigating available programs (visit school websites, talk with faculty, alumni, and students currently in the program).
  • Start exploring financial aid resources.
  • Sign up for required standardized test and take a practice test through the UB testing center.
  • Set up appointment with Career Services to discuss a plan.
  • Identify potential letter of recommendation writers.
  • Develop your personal timeline for applying.

Senior Year (Fall Semester)

  • Write the first draft of your personal statement/statement of purpose.
  • Request your letters of recommendations from faculty.
  • Order transcripts from all post-secondary institutions. If fall grades are expected, check with the Registrar's Office to see if a transcript including fall grades can be sent in time to meet your deadlines.
  • Write final draft of personal statement/statement of purpose.
  • Investigate funding sources.
  • Apply for aid available through program assistantships, fellowships, scholarships.
  • Complete your applications.

Senior Year (Spring Semester)

  • Complete and submit financial aid applications.
  • Visit prospective campuses if possible.
  • Follow-up with schools to make sure your applicant file is complete.
  • After receiving acceptance from the school of your choice, send in the required deposit, and contact other schools to decline acceptances.
  • Start planning for admission interviews.
  • Write thank you notes to the people who helped you.
Additional planning may be required

There is an additional planning process for those entering medical schools (allopathic – MD), osteopathic medical schools (DO), dental schools, podiatry schools, veterinary schools, optometry schools, and physician assistant graduate programs.

How to Apply

Creating a winning graduate school application? Possible.

A complete graduate school program application will consist of…

  • Personal statement
  • The application form and application fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Test scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Many graduate school programs will not review your application until all components are complete and submitted.  It is important to start working on all parts of the application as soon as possible.

Writing Your Personal Statement

A personal statement presents details about you that a GPA or testing scores can’t convey. It tells who you are, what you value and how well you will be able to handle graduate school.

  • Tell your story. Was there an event in your life where you felt confident, independent or learned humility?
  • Capture your story in two pages, double space, free of grammatical errors.
  • Schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor to review your personal statement.
Tips for Writing Your Personal Statement

Have a strong theme, discuss your achievements, and describe any research conducted by the faculty at the program you are applying to.

Don't worry, an expert Career Counselor is right around the corner. Schedule a new appointment in Bullseye powered by Handshake to talk grad school prep.

On this page:

Meet the Career Counselors

Lauren Johnson

Manager of Counseling

Ed Brodka

Career Counselor

Holly Justice

Career Counselor

Wayne Porterfield

Career Counselor