Where do I start?

How can I position myself well for graduate school?

How do I research schools?

When should I take the GRE if I need it?

How can I pay for graduate school?




Getting In: An Applicant’s Guide to Graduate School Admissions by Dave Burrell

Peterson’s Guide (hard copies located in Hiatt)

Get What You Came For (hard copy located in Hiatt)

Council of Undergraduate Research: The Council matches undergraduate student research, from sciences and humanities, with graduate school research opportunities, at no cost to students.

Letters of Recommendation

Graduate School

Getting Started

With over 2,000 graduate programs in the U.S. and hundreds more internationally, it is challenging to make broad statements about applying to graduate school.  Assuming you have carefully considered your decision to apply, the question becomes: Where to start?

  • Know what you are looking for in a program. What are your criteria?
  • Faculty members are a terrific resource. Many are experts in their fields and are familiar with types of work taking place and graduate programs that might be a fit for you.
  • Professional organizations have a wealth of information about trends in your field of interest and who are the key players.

While conducting research on programs, it is wise to be organized. Whether you prefer a spreadsheet or handwritten notes, keep track of your research, deadlines and activities.

Positioning Yourself for Graduate School

  • Get to know faculty members well. They are your best resource for graduate school information and they need to know you well in order to write a strong letter of recommendation
  • Conduct research, write papers or develop a portfolio, depending upon your field. Graduate programs want to see a commitment to your interests.
  • Watch your debt. Chances are you will need some loans to finance your graduate school education. Section VIII of the Graduate School Guide has more information.

Researching Schools

In addition to faculty and Peterson’s Guide, Section VI of the Graduate School Guide discusses PhD and Master’s program selection.

After you have found out all the information you can from program websites, faculty and other sources, it is completely acceptable to contact programs directly over the phone or by email.

When researching schools, pay attention to where graduates go after they finish the program.  Do their paths appeal to you? While many applicants look for a new environment from Waltham, consider the many fine graduate programs here at Brandeis. You may be eligible for a generous scholarship.

Graduate Records Examination (GRE)

You should take the GRE only when you are ready. Make sure you need to take it at all, because not all programs require it. The test is administered frequently and results (except the written portion) are immediate. Section VII of the Graduate School Guide offers suggestions on test preparation.

The Education Testing Service (ETS) is your main source for test registration and information. The weight given your test scores varies from program to program, and you can contact the programs in which you are interested directly to inquire.

Financing Graduate School

Detailed information on loan and grant programs are in the Graduate School Guide. You need to research each program for opportunities for research or teaching assistant positions and other resources such as work-study.