From OUR WRITING we have proposed to explain in a simple way a question that everyone thinks is clear about the concept, but in reality it is not always the case.
The question, how would you define what a graduate student is? It has several edges that we will see below, and as a methodology we will continue to ask ourselves questions, which surely our readers will be the ones who would face this issue, and we will give our version after reviewing a lot of information from universities, business schools, opinion articles and reach these conclusions.
Faced with the first question that we ask ourselves today in the title of our contribution, how would you define what a graduate student is? We are going to insist from another angle, for which it requires another question. And this is in the sense of meaning, that is, what does graduate student mean?
For which the general answer is that a graduate student is someone who is studying any form of postgraduate education and someone who is currently pursuing a program that they undertake after completing a bachelor’s degree and who will also award a degree or a diploma that certifies that he has finished said postgraduate course.
Therefore, we are also going to differentiate a basic concept: graduate from undergraduate.
The term ‘undergraduate’ refers to a bachelor’s degree, while ‘postgraduate’ is used to describe graduate students studying for a second qualification, usually a master’s degree, a postgraduate certificate (PGCert), or a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) .
Therefore, when faced with the question of who is called a graduate student, in simple terms, is anyone who is studying a graduate course, including a masters course, an MPhil and a PhD, which requires a bachelor’s degree such as part of the entry requirements.
For those who are not clear about what an MPhil means, it can mean a Master of Philosophy or MPhil and Master of Research or MRes, which are research degrees awarded for the completion of a thesis. They are more advanced postgraduate degrees than professional career master’s degrees.
It is a pre-doctoral degree within the same doctoral program, which some universities grant as an intermediate degree and as a way to encourage the entry of potential doctoral students into the program. These degrees allow them to upgrade the entire one-year or two-year doctoral program.
The MRes is a more structured and organized degree than the MPhil version, generally designed to prepare a student for a career in research. For example, an MRes may combine individual research with internships in research establishments.
If they ask you what is a postgraduate example? the definition it can give is that it is a student who is studying a subject beyond the university level, that is, who already has his university degree completed.
How old do you have to be to complete a postgraduate degree? Generally, a mature student is one who begins his graduate course with an age gap between 21 and 23 years.
Can it be said that a master is the hallmark of postgraduate studies?
Well, yes it is, with different specializations or in its classic generalist version of MBA, a master is like the DNA of presentation of a graduate who is applying for a job or who is already in a certain position in the company he works for, he intends to grow more in his professional development.
When asked about which is better undergraduate or graduate?
We are going to clarify something that is essential: the undergraduate is of a general nature and the one that gives training in a certain field of knowledge to a student, for example, if he studies law, or chose business, or leaned towards sociology. Obviously he is a generalist because throughout his career he will have specific and more general subjects, which constitute the usual university education, which must be broad and deep.
As for the postgraduate courses, these courses are very focused on the acquisition of knowledge and very specific skills, for example, who is studying an MBA with a financial specialty, will focus the entire program on the financial analysis of organizations, from strategic approaches to knowledge deep analysis of financial statements, in its aspects of financial economic pre-feasibility studies for projects, strategic analysis of the implementation of a specific financial policy, prospective analysis, etc.
Undergraduate classes tend to be much larger and less individualized. In graduate programs, students work closely with professors, often on an individual basis. Due to the very nature of the master in terms of the methodology of the classes, be they face-to-face or in online format, the course is much more similar to a usual teamwork that is carried out in any organization, when at the university it is not in this way, for the simple reason that the subject studied itself is of a high level of specialization. This requires deep theoretical analysis but especially, acquiring the skills of applying knowledge in daily practice.
Can you do a graduate degree without an undergraduate degree?
Most universities expect applicants for master’s studies to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field. However, you may be able to apply without a bachelor’s degree if you can demonstrate relevant experience and your overall graduate application is very strong.
Regarding the duration of a postgraduate degree, common questions are how long does a postgraduate last? or seen from another angle (that of the student), how long does it take to study a postgraduate degree?
Most master’s degrees last one year if you study them full-time or two years part-time. Other postgraduate diplomas and certificates typically last between nine months and a year full-time, or longer if you study them part-time.
Studies compatible with part-time or full-time work
There are a few different ways that graduate students can study and various study strategies they can choose to employ, and it doesn’t matter if they work full-time, part-time, or even online, whatever their schedule, they’re all graduate students.
Full-time graduate student
Studying full-time is a popular option for students who have just completed their bachelor’s degree and already know that a postgraduate qualification is required for their career plans.
It can be a difficult transition for students who have quit a full-time job to return to college as full-time students.
Most full-time graduate students study for a master’s degree for one to three years, and if they are taking a postgraduate course that does not require a thesis, they are working toward a postgraduate diploma.
A smaller number of graduate students go on to study for an MPhil or PhD, and the vast majority of students working towards a PhD are full-time working students, often teaching in the department in which they are researching.
It is common for international students from outside the EU to dedicate themselves to studying full time due to visa restrictions.
Full-time graduate students often have fairly intensive study programs and generally have less free time than those studying at the bachelor’s level, making part-time employment difficult.
Part-time graduate student
Studying a part-time graduate program is a popular option for students who are slightly older or have more responsibilities, such as caring for others or working full-time.
Many professionals will have long-term career plans in mind and may have the endorsement or sponsorship of their employer for a part-time course, especially professional courses that lead to a professional qualification.
Working and studying part-time is a responsibility as well as an important goal, as most part-time master’s courses last at least two years and, unless the university or business school organizes special conferences for part-time students, most classes will be during the day.
There are some PhD students who study part-time, and this is usually because they don’t have the necessary funding ready or not available for their subject.
Distance learning and online graduate student
There are a large number of universities and institutions who attend graduate students who need or want to study remotely or online, and most universities have some form of online learning.
Distance learning is usually a combination of textbooks and reading materials that are sent to the student, as well as the possibility of attending a couple of weeks in person to lectures that are given at certain times of the year.
Online students tend to work entirely online and it may not be necessary to attend the campus where the course takes place. Graduate students who work this way tend to be full-time working professionals, as course work can be completed in the afternoons. This makes the courses task intensive and the graduate student will need to be highly motivated to continue working without other students around them.
Some graduate students find this way of working isolated and difficult compared to a full-time course on campus.
Striking the right balance
All graduate students are experienced in the forms of academic work and research necessary for their subject and spend a great deal of time completing independent study projects.
This means that the little time they spend socializing and relaxing outside of their courses is important as many graduate students are very focused on their future careers. It is vital that graduate students take the time to see the long-term picture by networking with people in the industry or area they would like to enter after completing the course.