Selecting a graduate program can be daunting. Start the process early to give yourself enough time to decide.

1. Identify programs in your chosen career field

  • Explore print resources in the UVA Career Center Library 
  • Speak with your academic advisor or faculty in your area of interest
  • Review online resources for graduate programs (

2. Gather information on programs of interest

  • Visit program websites and review online materials
  • Speak with faculty and current students in the program
  • Attend the Professional and Graduate School Fair in the fall to speak with school representatives
  • Consult professionals in the field

3. Select programs

  • After researching several programs, select the ones you want to seriously consider.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Program:

Are you a competitive applicant for the program? 

How do your qualifications stack up against the profile of accepted students? Does your previous experience reflect your interest in the career field? 

What is the culture of the program? 

Is the culture friendly/inviting or competitive/driven? Do the faculty members have good reputations as mentors? What is the graduate student/faculty ratio?

What is the quality of the program? 

Is the program accredited? Are faculty published? Are faculty recognized in the field? What kind of placement assistance does the program/department offer? Where are recent graduates of the program employed?

How will you finance your degree? 

What does the program cost and what forms of assistance are available? Is there affordable health insurance for graduate students?

What additional features of the program are important? 

What is the length of the program? What is the typical degree completion time frame? Does the program require a comprehensive exam or a thesis/dissertation? What do students say about the geographical location? How can I balance my studies with my personal life?