The How To’s of Looking into a Graduate Program

Graduate Program

Get your first impression

Visit the website of the university that offers the graduate program you want.  Look into the following information:

  • The details of the program
  • The pertinent information about the available courses in the university and the teachers/professors/instructors who handle the courses
  • The established partnerships of the universities with foreign universities
  • The popular or well-respected alumni roster of the university in the different programs offered

Check out the rankings

Rankings actually say a great deal about the performance of a university in publications, but reviews about them from students are not included, so they are still not the best qualifier.  International rankings give a slate on the number of scientific publications of a university or one of its departments.  Rankings also include citations about the number of times a publication was cited in professional journals.

The TIMES Higher Education World University Rankings, in contrast to other international rankings, interviews both professors and students.  Ranking is done according to the individual program offerings and not holistic.  Therefore, it is worthwhile to look at the ranking of the corresponding Bachelor courses because many evaluation criteria about the facilities at libraries or laboratories are identical for the Bachelor and Master programs.

Importance of Accreditation

Accreditation may speak out the loudest when choosing a graduate school program.  Accreditation is carried out by special agencies which evaluate and ensure that the programs of a university meet given standards.  In an ideal world, all degree programs of a university must be accredited, but accreditation takes a long time that could even take an entire generation of student bodies.  As a result, only slightly more than half of all the study programs in the world have been accredited.  If an accreditation is missing, ask why the degree program has not been given such, or why was the authorization denied?

Is a non-accredited degree worth less?

Definitely not!  Degrees, which are awarded at state or state-recognized universities and meet a minimum level of quality, perform well internationally.  They are just as competent as any accredited degree program.  However, when pursuing a doctorate degree in foreign universities, accreditation plays a significant role because it serves as credible evidence of the qualifications of an institution.

Being in good hands

The quality of a degree program can also be determined by your academic adviser and the quality of student councils.  Visit referenced websites and brochures. Look for details like the number of block seminars, tutorial offerings, etc.  Even trivial details like seats in the cafeteria, the student center, etc. should be checked.  After all, it’ll be like your “second home” for quite some time.

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