What is Grad school application: Definition and 51 Discussions

A graduate school (sometimes shortened to grad school) is a school that awards advanced academic degrees (e.g., master's and doctoral 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 vary in the degree to which they provide training for a particular profession) and professional schools, which offer specialized advanced degrees in professional fields such as medicine, nursing, business, engineering, speech–language pathology, or law. The distinction between graduate schools and professional schools is not absolute since various professional schools offer graduate degrees and vice versa.
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., Canada), "postgraduate education" is also used in English-speaking countries (Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, 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 a significant component of graduate studies in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. This research typically leads to the writing and defense of a thesis or dissertation. In graduate programs that are oriented toward professional training (e.g., MPA, MBA, MHA), the degrees may consist solely of coursework, without an original research or thesis component. 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; these are often collectively termed professional schools. Graduate students in the humanities, sciences and social sciences often receive funding from the school (e.g., fellowships or scholarships) or a teaching assistant position or other job; in the profession-oriented grad programs, students are less likely to get funding, and the fees are typically much higher.
Although graduate school programs are distinct from undergraduate degree programs, graduate instruction (in the US, Australia, and other countries) is often offered by some of the same senior academic staff and departments who teach undergraduate courses. Unlike in undergraduate programs, however, it is less common 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.

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  1. F

    Admissions Curious about my grad school prospects

    I'm currently in the process of applying to grad schools and I'm having second thoughts (and honestly even second guessing) on my odds of admission and opportunities in grad school. I'm a senior at a liberal arts college. Physics-Astronomy combined major and a Math minor. I'm an international...
  2. Hassan Raza

    Low CGPA for Grad School

    Hi! I want to apply in Grad schools in USA as an international Student. But my cgpa is around 2.69. Most of the graduate school require at least 3.0. But there are some that do not have any minimum cgpa requirement on their website. But people say it's very difficult to get admission. I've not...
  3. Fabes124

    Admissions Need advice regarding my admissions prospects for graduate school

    Hello everyone, This is my first time posting here. I'm currently a rising senior double majoring in physics and math at a top 10 (maybe top 15) research institution. I'm quite worried about my admissions prospects and I'm wondering whether my application is competitive or not. More exactly, I...
  4. abdulhayee

    Admissions How to prove Physics competency to grad school admission committees?

    Greetings, This is a slightly longer post but it's coming from someone who's humbly and sincerely passionate+motivated about pursuing Physics and hence I'd be immensely grateful to everyone who can help me clear my confusions and see a ray of light and hope! You'd be doing me a solid :) My...
  5. vilshyk6

    Admissions Need advice on how realistic my graduate school prospects are

    This is my first time posting here, but not my first time viewing this website over many years. Right now, I am an undergraduate senior in physics (with a minor in math: includes real analysis, linear algebra, complex analysis, abstract algebra), and like many other students, worrying about...
  6. J

    Admissions Applying to PhD programs after a few years out of academia

    So I graduated in 2019 from a smaller state university with 2 honors BAs in physics and applied math. 3.83 GPA, all A's in my 400 level classes, few years of computational research and some independent honors projects, and I was involved with tutoring, TA'ing, led the SPS chapter, etc. Didn't do...
  7. I

    Admissions Research experience for physics grad school application

    Hi my name is Idan. I plan to study for a physics Bachelor at Israel, my homeland. although is way too early I'd like to proceed towards higher education as well, particularly in the US. The problem is that in Israel there is no physics internships and research projects offered for students at...
  8. C

    Is Spending an Extra Semester in Undergraduate Research Worth It?

    I am at a bit of a fork in the road. I know after I am done with my undergraduate degree, at least at some point, I would like to either go to graduate school or be an independent researcher -- either way, I really want to do research. The way I see it, conducting research could help me on...
  9. S

    Masters in physics with a bachelors in liberal arts

    I am a liberal arts student who is interested in pursuing physics after graduating. I've taken some physics courses over the last 2 years. They are waves and oscillations, classical electrodynamics, Qm1 and Qm2, statistical physics, and one course in experimental physics. I have learned topics...
  10. R

    Programs How to pursue a physics grad program with a math degree?

    Hello, I hold a BS in mathematics and want to pursue a career in physics. Is there any way where I can directly join a physics grad program from my current background? What are the options available? And would it be better to pursue an MS in applied math and then switch to physics? Would a good...
  11. F

    Help with Gradschool Application in Physics

    I am an undergraduate physics student from Indonesia, entering the fourth year this September. I am very excited about physics, about studying the behavior of a phenomena through math. I would like to apply for PhD in physics after graduating next year. I know PhD is research oriented, and...
  12. E

    How to explain serious extenuating circumstances in PhD apps

    Hello! I am planning on applying to physics PhD programs in the fall. My first two years of undergrad I averaged Bs in my lower division classes. Last two years I got a majority of As and A-s in my upper division courses. Those first two years I had some extremely personal extenuating...
  13. P

    Admissions Grad schools acceptance with a low GPA

    Hello everyone, I currently have a 2.8 GPA after my sophomore year. I am working towards getting my BS in Physics with two minors, Computer Science and Mathematics. I know that my GPA is low to get into Grad school at this moment but I believe that I will be able to pull the GPA up to a 3.3 by...
  14. J

    Math/Statistics PHD Application

    I Know this is prob the wrong site to post this but... Hello, I am a student at a low-ranked college in New York State actively pursuing a bachelors (BA) in Math in my junior year. I have a 3.7 GPA overall and a 3.73 in Math. I am looking to apply to PHD programs next year in Statistics or in...
  15. F

    Admissions Grad Application: GPA low due to disability

    Hi everyone. I am looking for some advice on how to go about writing grad school applications next year. My freshman year (Fall 2011) I developed a brain disorder that, while untreated, dramatically reduced my cognitive ability. I took two years off of school starting in 2013 came back in 2015...
  16. O

    Admissions Help evaluating my physics grad application scores & GPA

    I'm doing my best to be realistic, but can't see the forest for the trees right now. Thoughts? Opinions? I'd appreciate it if anyone tried to answer my questions – many thanks in advance! Background Double major Physics & EE (with a couple minors) at nowhere special Physics GPA = 3.3 / EE...
  17. M

    Other Include In Progress Paper/Thesis on CV?

    I am currently writing emails to potential grad school advisers. I have no past publications, however I am about to write a paper (1st or 2nd author) as well as an honors thesis. Should I list these on my CV?
  18. sailorpluto

    Schools Bio/applied math undergrad wanting to do physics grad school

    Hey everyone, I'm new to this community, and I came here hoping to find some advice on applying to graduate schools. A bit of educational background about me: Biology BS & Applied Mathematics BS Double Major Neuroscience & Chemistry Minor (declared neuroscience officially, but earned the...
  19. C

    Schools Grad School Statement of Purpose for non-major

    I'm here to get advice on my personal statement/statement of purpose for grad schools. However, my major is biology and I have a low overall GPA (but not physics GPA). In fact, I was academically dismissed earlier in college because of grades. However my previous two years were very good and...
  20. N

    Schools Need Help: Calc, GPA, and Grad School.

    Hello everyone. I'm currently a sophomore working toward a BS in physics (and a minor in astronomy) at a top private engineering school. With the semester finishing up, I'm a little worried about where I am now and where I will be after graduation and I have a few questions. A little...
  21. J

    Schools Grad school application advice

    My questions are regarding admissions at top universities in Europe. Many of them are of a rather general nature, I hope that is okay. I am from Austria (EU) and I currently studying for a BSc in Physics from the University of Vienna. I will graduate in July 2017 after three years of full time...
  22. neosoul

    Programs Black physics major - grad admissions

    Hi, everyone. I really, really want to go to graduate school. My focus will be AMO and I'm aiming for a PhD. However, I've looked through a lot of forums to see how others fared when offers rolled around. I also use this as a way to set goals. The problem is: I can't find a lot of people like me...
  23. P

    Other Will building a telescope help my resume?

    The Physics group at my university is building an optical telescope (it will have a dome the size of an 8mX4m room and the mirror will have a diameter of about 65cm.) and we might also build a radio telescope or an array of telescopes which will work as one giant telescope. Also, I heard that we...
  24. J

    Schools Apply Grad School: Nominated for JYA Programme at Cambridge

    Hi, I'm currently a final undergrad student and trying to apply for grad school. The thing is that on the application forms there is a section about "scholarships, prizes and distinctions" and last year I was nominated for the JYA programme at Cambridge by our university with a conditional...
  25. Quantum_Gorilla

    Admissions Applying to Medical Physics School

    Hello everyone, I am posting here in this forum in order to get some insight on what my chances are on getting into a Medical Physics program. Here is a small summary of my academic background, I graduate from Arizona State University with a 3.4 GPA and have two Bachelors of Science one in...
  26. I

    Admissions Asking for time to decide on an offer of acceptance

    I just received an offer of acceptance from a graduate program yesterday (May 17th). I think the offer letter is a little generic. It says that I should get back to them "ideally between April 15th and April 30th" - which is way past. I have another school which got back to me 10 days ago...
  27. D

    Going into theoretical physics with a screw-up undergrad deg

    Hello every one I am from Hong Kong. I am in my mid-twenties and I have a very bad result in my undergraduate degree in physics and it hinders me a lot in applying for a graduate degree. Theoretical physics (gravitation, quantum field, strings) is the field that I want to do research in for my...
  28. C

    Schools Old Recommendations for Grad School?

    I'm currently in my third year of undergraduate Physics, and plan to graduate at the end of my fifth year (since I'm doing CO-OP). I'm starting to think about grad schools, one element of which is my faculty recommendations. I worked in a well known scientist's lab in my first year, first...
  29. C

    Schools Is Complex Analysis a must for grad school applications?

    Is taking complex analysis before graduate school apps a "make-or-break" deal if one is looking to apply for theory? I am currently deciding whether to take it junior spring or defer it to senior spring. As it has come up in my research, I have studied some of it, but I'm wondering if it must be...
  30. Rick Bosley

    Schools Graduate school admission timeline question....

    I have been asked to interview for a job that entails no access to internet for a few months. I am also currently in the application process for engineering graduate school phD programs. I have applied to the schools I am interested in, but have not began the interview process yet for those...
  31. D

    Schools Resume or CV for Graduate School Applications

    I have a bit of a dilemma with graduate school applications that I feel many people here would have encountered. Part of the applications requires either a CV or a resume, and I find that the list of my expierences, educations, presentations and awards is a little to short to be considered a CV...
  32. EJC

    Schools Chances of Getting Into Graduate School Ph.D Programs

    I am a rising senior at a small liberal arts college, with an incredibly small (and therefore unrecognized) physics program. I am seeking advice regarding which Ph.D programs are within my reach. I plan on applying to AMO (Atomic, Molecular, and Optics) Ph.D programs with the intention of...
  33. A

    Does the school I graduate from matter?

    OK so I currently attend The University of North Texas, which is by no means a prestigious school for physics. I am a physics major with 72 hours of coursework under my belt. I plan to attend graduate school and would like to get into a good school for something in the realm of theoretical...
  34. G

    Grades with an upgoing trend

    Hi, I'm from an arguably near top Canadian uni, most schools look at 3rd or 4th year grades. I have an average around 80 which is about an A-. But I did really well in my first 4th year term, full course load, four 400 level courses including something like 98 in Electrodynamics(or E&M3) and...
  35. Jadenee

    Should I retake freshmen math classes?

    I know that there are multiple threads regarding retaking classes but everyone's situation is different and I wasn't sure if those posts were going to apply to my situation. I suffered medical problems, both mental and physical, before even entering university and had them all through freshmen...
  36. G

    Schools Grad School Application: Assessing My Chances

    I'm applying for grad school in the fall and I need some opinions about my chances, where I should good, etc. I am majoring in math, with a minor in physics. I went to a community college then a UC. At my community college, I had a 4.0 major GPA, 3.8 overall GPA. At the UC I'm at now, I have a...
  37. X

    Schools A- in Quantum 1 for GRAD school application.

    So I took quantum I using Griffith's and I only got an A- 3.7 out of 4. Will that look bad on my grad school application considering I'm competing with people who got A in quantum. I plan on getting into a PHD program and getting a Stipend. My overall GPA is like a 3.78.
  38. G

    Schools Grad School Application help

    Hi everyone. Just for a bit of background info, I earned my B.S. in Physics in May. I'm applying for grad school (for next year), but I'm kinda stuck on part of the application. It's kind of silly, but I'm a worrier. There's a spot on the application for you to select what degree you are...
  39. lonewolf219

    Schools Grad school application and sending more than they ask for

    I would like to apply to grad schools next Fall. If the school requires 3 recommendations, is it ever a good idea to include more? Also, what do you guys think about including a CV?
  40. J

    Schools Help translating grad school application form gobbledegook

    I need to write a statement of objectives for a grad school application. Here are the instructions online: So where to start: Does this mean: write a sensibly structured statement in coherent English? What is that even supposed to mean? I'm applying to a very broad program...
  41. F

    Schools Deferring graduation- hurt my grad school application?

    I attend university in Hong Kong, where (prior to this year's change to a 4-year program) a typical bachelor degree consists of 3 years of study. I am currently in my 3rd year. However, I am strongly considering deferring my graduation and extending my university studies another year, ie...
  42. L

    Schools Which REU program/ grad school application

    Hello, I am a sophomore physics and mathematics double major, and I plan to attend graduate school for physics with a concentration in biophysics, or just biophysics. However, this is subject to change, as I find a lot of areas of physics interesting. I was recently accepted to two REU...
  43. B

    Schools How Important is summer research to a grad school application?

    I'm a third year physics student interested in grad school. My marks are ok (85% average), and I should be able to get a letter of reference for grad school based on a 4th year Honours project. How important is a summer research position to a grad school application? I can probably get a...
  44. A

    Schools Grad school application process (math)

    hi, so I'm just finishing up my junior year and would like to try to go to grad school for math. I got into an REU program this summer that ends around the beginning of August and plan to start studying for the GRE sometime during the summer. Right now though, I'm a little confused as to how I...
  45. D

    Schools Mensa Membership: Help Grad School Application?

    Assuming I'm capable of passing the test to become a member of Mensa, do you think that it would be a sufficiently impressive addition to a physics graduate school application to be worth the cost (about $40, I think) and effort (a test in a nearby city) of becoming a member?
  46. fluidistic

    Schools Worried about a future grad school application

    I'm almost mid-way through a "licenciatura" degree in Argentina which is 5 years long. My current GPA would exclude me from any grad school (5.83/10), I believe. I plan on to get it up as much as I can, maybe I'll reach a 7/10 but sincerely I'm not that optimistic and I guess I'll end with a...
  47. U

    Schools Grad School Application Essay

    Hey all, I'm applying to grad school this fall, and I'm starting to think about my application essay. I'm going for biomedical engineering (specifically imaging), and most of the essay topics are similar (Why is this program right for you? Why do you want to study it? etc.) I just bought...
  48. D

    Schools Grad School Application Deadlines?

    Would someone be so kind as to enlighten me here? My wife and I were discussing grad school application deadlines (which are still a way off, but it's fun to daydream) and she commented on how early they were at most of the schools we were just glancing at. January 31st was a common date, or...
  49. E

    Schools How to Prepare for Grad School Application

    I'm starting my undergrad in electrical engineering at McGill University this fall, and while I know that it's still years ahead of me, I want to know how I can best secure my chances into whatever grad school I want down the road. I plan on doing their honours EE course, as well as a minor...
  50. S

    Schools Grad School Application Advice

    Hi, this being my first post and all I guess I should explain who I am. I'm Dave, I study physics at the University of Bristol in England and will graduate in the summer of 09 with a Bsc. I want to apply to Southern Californian graduate schools for admission in the Fall of 09 and I am...