What is Graduate application: Definition and 31 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. davidbenari

    A Which condensed matter experiment PhD group is the most fun?

    This is going to be controversial and might even be taken down, but I think what I will say is absolutely true, and I'm sorry if it offends people. I'm applying for the second time to condensed matter PhDs. I was in a group that did a lot of device fabrication as part of their experiments and...
  2. Y

    Going into astronomy/astrophysics after EE

    Hello, I am graduating with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering next July. I have been considering a move to astronomy/astrophysics. I read this thread by @ZapperZ and yes with a bit of revision, I can clear the Physics GRE. I also read a few testimonials of people who have made the...
  3. G

    How can I strengthen my submitted graduate application?

    I am applying for a master degree in Germany. I have submitted my application but wish to strengthen it as I want to be accepted. What can I do to enhance my application? Can I contact any of the professors or maybe the student advisor? Will it look artificial? If so, what must I say? (I am...
  4. U

    Admissions COVID-19 and Physics Graduate Admissions

    Several universities say that taking courses pass/no-pass or credit/no-credit during terms disrupted by COVID-19 will not necessarily harm those applying to their graduate program. There are also more open-ended invitations for applicants to discuss how the pandemic has impacted their lives. In...
  5. J

    Preparing for Graduate School: Tips for Freshman Physics Majors

    What are some things a freshman physics major can/should be doing to get a head start on becoming a competitive applicant for graduate schools?
  6. B

    Schools Teaching vs. Research in Graduate School: Personal Statements

    I'm currently compiling materials for my graduate school applications this fall, and I'm having a bit of trouble deciding what to emphasize in terms of my experiences as an undergraduate, as well as my future career goals. I have a couple years of research experience (in computational...
  7. TJGilb

    Graduate Programs Advice (Particularly for Plasma Physics)

    Greetings everybody, Right now I'm applying to graduate physics programs, but since it's an expensive process I'm trying to be at least a little selective in my approach. Since my research interests are in plasma physics, I've limited myself to schools with a program in such. So far I've...
  8. S

    Schools Suitable list of schools for an MS to apply for a PhD program in Optics

    Fifth Year BS-MS Student from one of the premier institutes in India CGPA: 8.1/10 GRE : 310/340 168Q 142V 4AWA TOEFL: 104/120 22R 27L 26S 29W I am applying for graduate schools in the following universities. Is the list sufficient? Any suggestion is most welcome. The list is not priority-wise...
  9. cmyers152

    Schools Graduate School resume/guidance please

    HI everyone, I am currently a senior at a big university who will be finishing up my BS in physics in either Fall of 2018 or Spring of 2019. I would like to go to graduate school after undergrad, but as of this moment there is no way I would get accepted to any school at all. To give you some...
  10. F

    Schools Where should I apply for my graduate studies?

    If everything goes right I am in my last year of my physics program in my university. I want to do research, I did a short internship at CERN and I would like to work there, and I know that for that I need to get a masters or a phd. The thing is that I am not sure to which university should I...
  11. M

    Admissions Gradschool App: Cover Letter Needed for CV?

    I am applying to PhD programs and CV is required (of course) but do I also need a covering letter?
  12. Naytile

    Programs Materials PhD help: Low GRE score spooks physics major

    Hi. So, I took the general GRE the other day and did crappy on the Quant. This worries me. I'm applying to Materials Engineering PhD programs soon. I'd like to get some opinions of how deep of a ditch I've dug for grad school, or how much this retracts from the rest of my credentials. Do I stand...
  13. N

    Schools Graduate School Admissions for Astronomy Program

    Hi Everyone! I am a senior student going at a liberal arts college currently majoring in Physics. I am applying to graduate schools in Astronomy this fall semester. I would like to ask what are the odds of getting into the best astronomy programs with the following background: Major GPA: 4.00...
  14. M

    Admissions PhD Application: Personal Statement in Story-Telling Style?

    I am not sure if I can write the ps in the form of a story-telling of how I became interested in the graduate field of study, which naturally talks about my research/other experience in the chronological order, or directly jump straight into chunks of paragraphs (of course with transitioning...
  15. M

    Admissions PhD Application -- Is Publication to Smaller Journals necessary?

    This summer I did some research and had positive results but my part contributed to a small portion of the big grant. My PI told me we could submit to some "side" journals to get publications but I am not sure if this is necessary because the admission committees will see my poster I created...
  16. B

    Programs Physics Graduate Programs with No Official Background

    Dear Physics Forums friends, I am a college senior at US pursuing the mathematics and microbiology majors. Getting to the core of my question, I am curious if the graduate programs in physics (at least in US) also consider applicants from no official background in physics. I started out as an...
  17. DeathbyGreen

    Admissions Optimizing Your Graduate Application: Importance of Early Submission

    Hi! I have a question related to graduate (PhD admission). I am about to finish my MS in Europe and am applying to a university in Canada for my PhD. The university requires 2 reference letters. Two people have said that they will write me letters, and I can see on my application account when...
  18. I

    Admissions Email professor 10 days after admissions interview?

    I had a skype interview with a professor in Canada for M.Sc. admissions. This was 10 days ago on April 20. The interview went okay. He said he would talk to the graduate coordinator, check my application and get back to me by the end of April. Monday, May 2nd would be the first working day after...
  19. DrFooster

    Will a Grad. certificate help me stand out in MS/PhD apps?

    Hi Everyone, I've scoured the internet to find answers to this question and I haven't had much luck. I graduated in 2014 with a 2.86 GPA in physics. To counteract this lower gpa in my applications; I have a lot of research experience and I'm currently working in industry doing some...
  20. Dishsoap

    Sources for opinions on graduate application essays?

    Greetings all, Are there resources around to help with writing essays for graduate applications? I have asked a few professors around my department, but as we don't have a graduate program and most of them are young professors who have only recently left grad school themselves, most of them...
  21. M

    Options in higher education in physics (no math/science bkg)

    Hello! I've been reading this forum for a while now, and while I see many threads asking about similar questions as I am, I still cannot get answers to some of my questions. So I hope to get some advice here on PF. I am very interested in pursuing a career in Physics, but I don't have any...
  22. J0ules

    Schools How Can I Change How Universities Perceive My Application?

    I made Dean's List my senior year of undergrad, I double majored and double minored, I volunteered often and I communicate in both the social and scientific realms well. So why am I still getting turned down or "wait listed" from graduate programs? One theory; three semester near the middle of...
  23. chimath35

    Other financial aid box graduate app

    I am applying for a PhD program in statistics and I want a full assistantship. Should I check the box to apply for additional financial aid or will that affect an assistantship chance? Thanks.
  24. R

    Prepare for HEP-th graduate application

    http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/195538/prepare-for-hep-th-graduate-application-books-research-opportunities-etc I want to specialise in high-energy physics theory. I feel quiet unconfident because the I just knew that the field is insanely competitive, so I really need your advice to...
  25. B

    Undergraduate Research and Mathematics Graduate Programs

    Dear Physics Forum advisers, I am a rising college junior (five-years tract) with a major in mathematics and an aspiring mathematician in the fields of theoretical computing and cryptography. I apologize for this sudden interruption but I wrote this email to seek your advice on the impact of...
  26. pdm0118

    I wish to pursue PhD in Medical Physics. But Masters first?

    Hello, I will be getting a bachelor's degree in Radiation Health Physics in near future, and my ultimate goal is to study PhD in medical physics. However, I think it would be unlikely that I will get admitted right after undergraduate graduation, due to my mediocre GPA and limited experiences...
  27. pdm0118

    Schools About Medical Physics grad schools, some advice please

    Hello forum, I'm a current undergrad student in radiation health physics planning to apply for medical physics grad schools in the US. There are a few things that make me worry: my GPA (3.24 cumulative) isn't superb because my first two year of undergrad was troublesome (my recent performances...
  28. O

    Schools Graduate School Personal Statement

    Hello everyone, I am trying to write a personal statement for graduate school, and I am not sure what to say. I started off by saying that I would like to eventually become a professor in order to give students research opportunities that I wasn't given as an undergraduate student (because I...
  29. B

    Theory -->Experiment for Graduate application.

    I want to apologize if this topics already exists somewhere on the forum. Most google/forum searches usually have people asking about experiment to theory , or switching fields after PhD. I recently submitted a grad application and I still have a lot more to do. My research background in...
  30. S

    Schools Graduate school asking for a list of universities I apply to

    Hi, I am filling up graduate school applications, but I am asked to list the universities I am applying for. Any ideas about the reasons they ask us? Should I tell them? I am afraid this information will affect the admission in a bad way.
  31. M

    Differences in majors in regards to graduate application.

    Hello, my name is Mark Murphy. I've kept tabs on this forum for a while, and was hoping I might garner some advice regarding my curriculum. I am currently a third year at my university, majoring in Engineering Physics. Our Engineering Physics program differs from our Physics graduate school...