Graduate School Overview

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THE GRADUATE SCHOOL EXPERIENCE From Day One, you are a colleague. Your ideas are vital to the discussion and your research matters. The intimate scale of our programs and the support of our professors emphasize personal attention and foster a unique camaraderie.

A master’s degree can be an incredible asset. It can give you an edge over the competition when you’re applying for a job. Having a master’s degree can also help you earn that coveted promotion, prepare for a doctoral program or even help prepare you for a career change. Being a graduate student is exciting. Professors continuously challenge you to think critically. They guide you through theoretical discussions, and encourage you to question the known world, explore new and different solutions to problems, and think about ways in which you might help shape the future.

Regardless of the discipline you choose, you will be required to conduct research, and often you will form long-lasting, collegial friendships with the students and faculty with whom you collaborate. Sometimes you’ll present your work at professional conferences. You’ll attend business meetings and local seminars at which you’ll become conversant with industry trends and learn how they shape the future of your field. And, finally, you will make invaluable professional connections that will hold you in good stead throughout your career. Pick a University of Charleston, S.C. program that suits your needs and you’ll acquire the intellectual capital necessary to excel in your career. You’ll also get the preparation needed to pursue a Ph.D.

Why Choose the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.? Wherever you work, you will always be solving problems. The most workable solutions come as the result of solid research. Therefore, learning how to conduct good and valuable research is a vital part of a graduate school education. Charleston is a unique setting in which to conduct research. Diverse ecosystems, a wealth of historic data, an entrepreneurial business community and a thriving arts scene – all that and more is available in the Lowcountry. The coastal marshes are living laboratories for our marine biology and environmental studies programs. Historic houses, archaeological sites and local museums and archives offer unique opportunities for graduate students who specialize in history, historic preservation and African American studies. Public administration and arts management students study with experts who work in local nonprofits and the thriving Charleston arts community. Of course, no matter which program you choose, you will get the individualized attention you deserve.

“Charleston is a unique setting in which to conduct research.”

At the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C., you’ll be able to design your own research project or take part in one that is ongoing. Sometimes your ideas will grow out of your personal experiences. Or you’ll be working on a project that a local business has brought to the graduate school. In the end, our students find that their research has important consequences for, and makes an impact on, their community. It informs policy, influences behavior, magnifies the body of public knowledge and ultimately contributes to progress in addressing society’s problems.

TEACHER EDUCATION | Azikiwe Chandler

Welcome to the “New Charleston” – one of the fastest growing knowledge-based hubs in the U.S. Fast Company magazine dubbed it “Silicon Harbor,” in reference to the growing number of Internet and technology companies here, including Google and TwitPic. And that’s just one accolade. Outside magazine called Charleston “a Southern Belle with big city charm.” Forbes magazine ranked it the “No. 4 Best Place to Look for a Job” in the U.S. And Condé Nast Traveler’s readers ranked it the No. 1 tourist destination in the world. Charleston is a nextgeneration city combining unique historic elements with a burgeoning arts community, boutique-style tourism, a thriving import/ export industry, a dynamic university and medical community and unmatched recreational outlets. No wonder young professionals continue to be drawn here.

Choosing the Right Program For You. Some graduate programs prepare you for a career in a specific field. Others will give you a foundation to continue research and pursue a doctoral degree. And, professional degree programs prepare you to enter fields such as law, medicine and physical therapy. The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C. at the College of Charleston has more than 24 master’s degree and graduate certificate programs for you to consider. As the world has become more complex and interdependent, universities have responded by creating new and exciting interdisciplinary graduate programs. The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C., for example, has developed a dualdegree program in environmental studies and public administration. Successful candidates will earn both a Master of Science in Environmental Studies degree and a Master of Public Administration degree. Graduates will be prepared for professional level positions in public organizations that address environmental issues. Another example is the Arts Management Graduate Certificate Program. It is geared toward

professionals who are already working in arts management or related fields who might not be able to enroll in a full graduatedegree program. Students take courses ranging from contemporary perspectives on arts management to fundraising and marketing for nonprofits. A further example is our new Master of Science in Child Life program, which trains professionals to work with children and families with chronic healthcare needs.When they complete our programs, working professionals will be prepared to meet the new and different challenges that continually arise in any professional field. As you begin your research on graduate schools, you will certainly


want to talk with professors who teach in the fields that interest you. Professionals who either work in the industry, or have embarked on a career that interests you, can also be important resources. They can help you understand industry trends, and can steer you toward the types of programs that their industry considers to be valuable. Once you’ve decided which type of program will suit your needs, you should focus your research on the ways in which different institutions offer the program. For example, many universities have structured their graduate programs to meet the needs of students who may already be working full time, have families, etc. Courses are generally offered in the evening, and even online. These programs allow you to take one or two courses at a time instead of carrying a full load, and you can expect to complete your degree in approximately five years. Other programs are set up in such a way that students must attend on a full-time basis (three courses a semester) and graduate in one or two years.

Program Comparisons As you begin researching programs, you’ll want to ask questions of admissions officers in the graduate school office, the department office, graduate students who are enrolled in the programs you are researching, faculty who will serve as mentors and alumni. You might also find information about the program on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even through the graduate school blogs. Finally, it is also important to learn as much as you can about the city in which the university is located, because many graduate programs work hand in glove with local communities. 

Here are some questions you might want to ask:

• Are the institution and the program accredited? • How much will the program cost? What financial aid is available? • Does the department’s specialization match your goals? • Are faculty strengths and research qualities obvious through their graduate advisees, published works and funded research? • Are the libraries, laboratories, computers and other research facilities adequate for your educational needs? • Is the curriculum large and varied enough to give you options? • How are advisors assigned/ selected?

• How accomplished are the professors in your area? What are their interests and how available will they be? • What are the degree requirements? How many credit hours are required? • Will you have the opportunity to write a thesis or complete an internship? • Are support services adequate to make campus life conducive to any special needs (handicap, hearing impairment, etc.)? • How long will it take you to complete the program? • Are study space/office carrels available for graduate students? • Are the current students happy? Do they appear to be good colleagues?

• Are the graduates of the school or program sought by recruiters? • What are your opportunities for employment after graduation? • What size is the program? How many applicants are accepted? • Are the faculty and student body diverse? (Diversity in a program can make it stronger, since diversity leads to a broader world view.) • What is the community like, and does the institution work closely with it? (These factors can impact your research and employment opportunities after graduation.)

Programs and Certificates The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C. offers master’s degree programs and graduate certificate programs.  Degree


• accountancy • business administration • child life • communication • computer and information sciences* • dual degree in environmental studies and public administration† • early childhood education • elementary education • English* • environmental studies • historic preservation**

 Certificate

• history* • languages • marine biology • mathematics • middle grades education* • Peace Corps master’s international† • teaching the performing arts • public administration • science and mathematics for teachers • special education • teaching, learning and advocacy * These are joint programs offered with The Citadel. ** This is a joint program offered with Clemson University. † These are special programs.


• arts management • cybersecurity • English to speakers of other languages (I) • English to speakers of other languages (II) • gifted and talented education

• operations research • special education • statistics • urban and regional planning

Part Time or Full Time? For some individuals who are planning to attend graduate school, the decision about whether to be a full-time or part-time student is out of their hands – money, time and lifestyles sometimes make the decision for them. While there are advantages to either choice, the ultimate decision has to be yours. If you are a working professional, you should probably take only one or two graduate courses each semester. You will not be on the fast track to degree completion, but there are some advantages to doing it this way. • Earning a regular paycheck will make going back to school more comfortable financially. • You could easily absorb course content quickly since what you learn on Monday night could apply directly to your day job on Tuesday. A good example: One of our students took a fundraising class that helped her create a fundraising campaign for her company in six weeks. • Remaining in the workforce will make you more competitive when you go up against job applicants who have a master’s degree but little to no work experience. • When and if you do change careers (and a master’s degree can help you do that), the fact that you’ve continued to work full time, coupled with your master’s degree, will position you well vis-a-vis other job candidates. If you decide to attend graduate school full time, you will earn your degree in half the time it will take if you were to work a full-time job. Usually you can earn PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION | Kevin Ryan

a master’s degree in two years; sometimes it will take only one (see our Master of Science in Accountancy and our MBA programs, for example). Financial aid packages for full-time students are more generous than they are for part-time graduate students. On the other hand, total income is less than that of working professionals. Full-time students should think of their financial situation as being somewhat similar to their undergraduate experience. There are additional benefits to attending school full time: • You are focused entirely on your courses and completing the program requirements. • You will have more time to conduct research on a variety of topics. This approach can give you a broader perspective on your field. • It is easier to build a strong connection with other graduate students. • There is more time for you to become involved in extracurricular activities. It might be important for you to join the Graduate Student Association, for instance.

Prepare For Graduate School. Here’s a recommended timeline to get you ready to apply. 

twelve months prior

• Your fall courses and grades are crucial, so make thoughtful course selections and try to make all As. • Research graduate programs and request catalogs. • Start thinking like a graduate student. Early exposure to graduate-level work will make for a smoother transition to graduate school. • Take courses advancing your knowledge of your discipline. • Set money aside for application fees, admission exams, transcripts, etc.

 ten months prior • Test yourself on a practice version of the standardized test to determine what areas to focus on while studying. • Attend scholarly lectures and discussions. • Reinforce relationships with your professors. Be sure to visit them often during your undergraduate years. Keep them informed of your activities. When you know you are going to graduate school, make appointments with them to discuss your plans.

Ask them for recommendations, and discuss your motivations. Usually, the professors will bring up the matter of a letter of recommendation themselves.

• Undertake an honors thesis or a senior research project. • Read applications carefully.

 nine months prior • Register for a GRE or a GMAT course. • Speak with graduate students and postdocs in your department. • Draft a general statement of purpose outlining the reasons why you wish to attend graduate school. You will use some version of this in most applications.

 seven months prior • Narrow your choices. • Begin talking with your advisor and other professors about your graduate school goals. • Make a master checklist of all deadlines, documents and other supporting material you are required to provide. • Begin investigating sources of funding.


• Complete the FAFSA. • Begin writing your statement of purpose. If the essay isn’t working, start over. You’ll be better able to organize your thoughts.

 six months prior • Take the entrance exam. The earlier you take it, the more time you’ll have to improve your score. • Identify and contact potential graduate supervisors at a variety of schools.

 five months prior • Solicit letters of recommendation. • Request transcripts. Prior to ordering your official transcripts, make sure all the information on file with the registrar’s office is accurate, and that all degrees have been posted to the transcript.

• Refine your personal statement.

 three months prior • Visit graduate schools. • Prepare for your interview. • Submit your applications.



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