The language of graduate school can be highly confusing. Here’s a primer on the lingo:
Recognition of an educational institution by an independent private organization. Over one hundred accrediting agencies exist. Some are recognized by the Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation. Note that some are phony or fraudulent. Find a graduate program with a credible accrediting association; without this, your degree isn’t recognized by many employers. Particularly important in the sciences, business, social sciences, and education.
Some graduate programs offer assistantships as a form of financial support for full time graduate students. Assistantships usually will pay tuition (full or a steep discount), fees and also provide you with small stipend in exchange for you to work (18-25 hours per week is standard) as a research assistant for a faculty member; other assistantships may be for teaching, administrative, or counseling, depending on the academic program. They are competitive.
The Personal essay includes information on you, the applicant as an individual, your academic and career goals, and your experiences and activities that shaped your interests. The personal statement is very important and can determine your acceptance to a graduate program. Your writing ability is assessed by this essay. (Also Known As: Admissions Essay, Application Essay, Graduate School Essay, Statement of Intent, Statements of Purpose, Statement of Interests, Statement of Goals).
A written work containing the results of research on a specific topic prepared by a candidate for a bachelor's or master's degree; a work of research culminating the master’s degree. The thesis is based on an individual research conducted by you and supervised by your advisor.
A significant body of original empirical research designed to make a substantial contribution to a discipline or field of study. This work is associated with doctoral study, and often takes years to complete.
Graduate Record Exam. This exam is required for admission to many graduate programs around the country. There are two elements: general and subject matter. Similar in purpose to the SAT’s for undergraduate study, the GRE is an assessment of your knowledge, cognitive abilities and reasoning skills.
Law School Admissions Test. This entrance exam is required for admission to graduate program to earn a degree in law. Usually, the LSAT replaces other graduate school entrance exams for admission to a law program.
Graduate Management Admissions Test. This is an exam required for most MBA and business school graduate programs. As with the LSAT, it replaces other entrance exams for programs in business.
Millers Analogy Test. This exam is used by many liberal arts, fine arts and social science graduate-level programs. It emphasizes qualitative and verbal reasoning skills more than the GRE does.
Medical College Admissions Test. To gain acceptance into medical school, this is the exam.