What is Graduate: Definition and 1000 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. I

    Admissions How can I get admitted into CalTech?

    Hi all. I am a part of the class of 2023 at a very excellent university (University of Michigan) and my dream is to become a doctoral student at the California Institute of Technology. My B.Sc. is in physics and I would like to either pursue physics or biophysics for graduate school. Can I get...
  2. phi_skr

    What are the latest developments in nanotech device experiments?

    Hi, I am a physics graduate student focusing on experiment related to nanotech devices.
  3. P

    I got my first graduate interview invite

    Not looking for advice I just can't believe I'm actually getting an interview. I've been psyching myself up to prepare to be ghosted by every program and apply a 2nd or 3rd time because I've been so confident that I'm not good enough yet on paper and didn't want to be delusional. Yet somehow an...
  4. N

    Who is Nappolean, the New Mechanical Engineer Graduate?

    Hello everyone am Nappolean a New Mechanical Engineer Graduate here, nice to meet you all.
  5. scribkibs

    Other Can't take physics my first year

    As an undergraduate highly considering graduate school, what are some ways I can still remain engaged with physics and with my institution's physics department despite my delayed start (I cannot take intro physics until my second year)? I was thinking of regularly attending department colloquia...
  6. nohtha

    I am a Physics professor for graduate level students

    to discuss the basic physics and review the law of physics from different angle.
  7. martymotown

    Is a CS Graduate Ready for Physics Research? A Journey with Marty

    I'm Marty and want to get into physics and research. I'm currently at the time of writing a software engineer after finishing my bachelor's in CS June 2022. Currently reading the Feynman Lectures and doing mathematics in my spare time to get prepared.
  8. D

    Other Extra Year of Study for Graduate Physics Research: A Possibility?

    I am interested in pursuing graduate reserch in physics. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering with a research in classical mechanics. However, PhD programs require a background in modern physics in order to be accepted and I would prefer to strengthen my preparation in...
  9. A

    Programs My Story: Physics Undergraduate Struggling to Graduate on Time

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  10. tetrahed

    Other Do I need a physics degree to get into a physics graduate program?

    I know this might be a stupid question, but I am serious. Some of my friends are in graduate programs not much related to their major (a number of my friends majored in math but are in computer science grad programs, and vice versa), so I am curious whether the same holds for physics. In my...
  11. Wrichik Basu

    Other Updating Resume for Graduate School Admissions in India: Adding Online Courses

    I am about to start applying to different graduate schools in my country (India) for pursuing a Masters in Physics. Unfortunately, very few Indian universities actually want a resume, and offer admission based on competitive exams only. Nevertheless, I am updating my resume and keeping it ready...
  12. KCook3824

    Other Recommendation: Graduate level thermo/Stat mech text

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  13. LCSphysicist

    Courses Quantum optics for graduate students

    I have just finished my course on electromagnetism. Due to my performance, the professor has contact me for congratulations and asking, if i want, to join his quantum optics course for graduate students. Even so i think it is interesting to follow the advice, i am a little afraid if this...
  14. G

    Engineering Career advice for a nuclear engineering graduate

    Hi everyone, I'm from an Asian country, and graduated with M.Sc. degree in nuclear power engineering last year from a university in Russia. Since then, I have been looking for jobs related to nuclear engineering but no luck up till now. Seeing that nuclear energy is getting trendy now in...
  15. T

    Engineering Aerodynamics textbook at the graduate physics level

    Hello, Can someone recommend me a good textbook to (self-)study aerodynamics, optimally with focus on aircrafts. I am a graduated student in physics and therefore familiar with all the basic concepts of fluiddynamics and calculus. But, apart from that, I have no further knowledge in the field...
  16. X

    Admissions Failed Freshman Year: Will It Affect My Graduate Admission?

    I failed all classes in my freshman year first semester. I am going to retake them.Does that affect my graduate admission?
  17. AryaKimiaghalam

    Programs What are some good graduate programs in the Physics of Complex Systems?

    Title says it all. I am interested in studying the physics complex systems and nonlinear physics, however i find it very hard to find a good program as it seems this area of study is not the most mainstream of them. I found out about Max Planck but still want to know if there are other strong...
  18. Y

    Other Should I Upgrade Graduate Certificate Into Second Masters Degree?

    I have two Electrical Engineering Degrees, Bachelor of Science and a Master of Engineering. I'm almost done with a Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering. Which is 4 classes. I can upgrade the Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering to a full blown masters (10 classes). Should I? My...
  19. G

    Physics What kind of graduate schools should I apply to given my stats?

    Hello, I am a senior physics student who is interested in applying to graduate school for physics. I am having a hard time figuring out where to apply, what my safe, match and reach schools are, and in general deciding where I can even get into if I apply so I don't waste hundreds of dollars on...
  20. G

    Job Skills Recent BS in Comp Sci graduate looking to get into fusion

    Hi all, per the title I'm looking for career advice on getting into fusion. Whether that is working at a fusion company or doing research in the field. The university I graduated from was the best I could get into at the time, due to the poor grades I left there with (~2.5 GPA) from 06-08. I...
  21. K

    Enrolling in a Graduate Physics Program with an Architecture Degree

    Hello, Is it possible to enroll in a graduate program in physics if I have an an undergraduate degree in architecture? Or is an undergraduate degree in physics- or in a related field- required to qualify? (Assuming that I have studied extensively physics (alone) while obtaining my degree in...
  22. Yukatto

    Engineering Recommended book for Optical Engineering graduate

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  23. J

    Other Graduate student in need of a mentor

    Summary:: I have an advisor, but the working relationship is short of being productive. I am searching for a place to go for general help, my field is experimental HEP physics. The things I need help span from random physics questions that I think about at night to pointing me in the right...
  24. Lecture 1 - Data Driven Methods in Dynamical Systems

    Lecture 1 - Data Driven Methods in Dynamical Systems

    This is an introductory video for my class on data driven methods in dynamical systems theory. We will cover topics including SVDs, FFTs, DMD, PCA, and many other acronyms.
  25. J

    Programming Languages used in Graduate School? (quantum, high energy, and nuclear physics)

    Hello, I have 1 undergrad year left and was wondering what the most used programming languages in grad school are. I still don't know which grad school will accept me so I haven't bothered to ask them directly as my application will be in November when I get my GRE scores. I am Interested in...
  26. F

    Programs Electrical Engineering vs. Robotics in Graduate School

    Hello everyone, I am looking at two master's degree programs (graduate school) : electrical engineering and robotics. Taking decisions is hard, and I would gladly like some advice making up my mind. I have a bachelor's degree (undergrad) in electronics and electrical engineering, which grants...
  27. AryaKimiaghalam

    Admissions Being Competitive for Top US Graduate Schools

    Hi All!, Hope you are doing well. (Grad admissions related) I recently talked to a Professor of mine about my course work in 4th year of undergrad (Physics). My aim is to try my luck and apply to the 15 top programs in North America (Ivy's etc.). With this in mind, my prof strongly suggested...
  28. H

    How dangerous is the radiation exposure in graduate school?

    I want to do a master's in medical physics. Students do lab work in this graduate program. How dangerous is this radiation to my health? Medical physics prepares you for a career in radiation therapy, medical imaging, and nuclear medicine.
  29. J

    Programs Help on Majors and Graduate Degrees as an Engineering Student

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  30. vassalloef

    Physics graduate school advice

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  31. B

    Studying Advice for succeeding in graduate school?

    I am a first year graduate student in physics, a subject I am quite passionate in, but I am struggling to succeed this term. There is a few issues I've been dealing with. First, I haven't been able to get as good as grasp on the content as I was able to in the past. I'm taking three core courses...
  32. R

    Programs What graduate major deals the most with radiometry?

    I'm currently a sophomore physics major in undergraduate. I'm doing physics because I want my undergrad education to be really general. I want a goof foundation. What I'm really interested in is radiometry, which I believe is like optics but for all wavelengths, not just visible ones. I want to...
  33. F

    A First Course in Graduate Quantum Mechanics Resources

    What are some resources that you would suggest for a first course in graduate quantum mechanics? This includes textbooks, online courses such as MIT OCW(includes homework/exams), and online lecture notes?
  34. Y

    Programs Difference Between Postbaccalaureate and a Graduate Certificate?

    What'd the difference between a Postbaccalaureate and a Graduate Certificate? Is it possible to get a Postbaccalaureate in engineering? I can't find a university that offer a Postbaccalaureate in engineering, but plenty of schools that offer a Graduate Certificate in engineering.
  35. Shelflife

    Other What "research" are graduate schools looking for?

    I know graduate schools look for applicants with research experience. I know what research work entails, but I don't know what they want to see on applications. I've heard of the following : -working in a professor's lab -being a research assistant -doing an internship -doing individual...
  36. P

    Courses Struggling in my First Year of Graduate School

    Hey everyone! I started Astronomy Ph.D at a very good (as good as any top university) university this fall but I'm struggling a lot and it's only been 3 weeks! The problem isn't the amount of stuff that I have to do (I am taking two undergrad classes, one grad class and am being a TA), it's...
  37. V

    Good graduate programs (but not top universities) for physics?

    Hello... new here. Can anyone give me advice or some information on what universities they think are good for a graduate program in physics?
  38. 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...
  39. W

    Physics Fusion research potential for a HEP graduate?

    Hi all, I got my Ph.D. a couple of years back (HEP physics) but for various reasons I never applied for any postdoc positions. I ended up working as a software engineer. It's been alright, it pays the bills, but I really don't give a damn about the work and feel quite unfulfilled and...
  40. 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...
  41. Haorong Wu

    Courses I am a graduate student in quantum optics. Should I learn QFT?

    I am particularly interesting in QFT, and I am going to be a graduate student in quantum optics and quantum information this autumn. Strangely, I find that there is no courses for QFT. After all, I though QFT are about quantum and field, and quantum optics are about quantum and field, too...
  42. crimeanwarcrimes

    Rigorously covering mathematical prerequisites for Graduate courses

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  43. ohwilleke

    A Record Setting Thirteen Hour Graduate Level Physics Lecture

    The Amplitudes 2020 Conference (on the physics of calculating probability amplitudes in quantum mechanics) was to be held in Michigan this year. But, this year, the conference was cancelled, for obvious reasons, and held via Zoom for Zoomplitudes 2020 instead. Physics blogger 4gravitons explains...
  44. jamalkoiyess

    Programs Graduate Programs with late application deadlines

    Hello all, I did the classic mistake of overestimating my application and submitting only to some high profile universities (all above 150 on the QS physics [i know no the best indicator but I used it]). I got rejected from nearly all and I can't be hopeful that the rest won't follow similarly...
  45. Jamister

    Solid State Book for a graduate condensed matter course

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  46. Mondayman

    Schools Comparing Small & Large University Physics Programs for Graduate School Readiness

    Hi folks, I am considering two universities. My goal is to do well enough that I could get into graduate school for physics, most likely here in Canada. I have been unable to speak to an adviser, as my school's science adviser does not meet with students until they finish their second year. So...
  47. AryaKimiaghalam

    Admissions Research Experience for Graduate School

    Hi, I am a physics major in my second year . So far, i did not do any research and with the current Coronavirus situation, getting into a research program in my university is unlikely (since most of them are experimental). I had some questions about the research experience of graduate school...
  48. Mondayman

    Classical Supplement to Griffiths E&M/Prep for Graduate E&M

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  49. D

    Other Contacting a possible graduate adviser with this email

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  50. S

    A Unraveling the Mystery of Coherent States: A Guide for Graduate Students

    Hello, I would like to understand as well as possible what (quantum) coherent states are. Can anyone advise on what books (or other materials) I should read? Please assume I have an introductory level in Quantum Physics (where by "introductory" I mean the material introduced in books like, for...