Earn Grad Degrees from Different Schools


Doug writes:
I have a strong desire to teach in college. I will be moving from where
I live in the next couple of years but have time to get my graduate
degree from my alma mater. Would it be better to get my graduate
and master’s degree from the same school now or wait and get my
master’s and Ph.D. from the same school?


The Career Doctor responds:
Most experts agree — and I am one of them — that if you can get your
degrees from different schools you’re the better for it. By attending
different schools you interact with different professors face new
challenges are exposed to different philosophies etc. That said there
are quite a number of college professors I know who attended the same
school for all of their degrees.
There are a number of considerations you need to contemplate. If
your alma mater has an undergraduate faculty and a graduate faculty
or if you are getting your master’s degree in a different subject — in either
case being exposed to different faculty — then your alma mater may be a
good choice. But even if these situations are not the case the convenience
factor has to play a role. One other issue to consider: some doctoral programs
accept students into an accelerated master’s program leading to a doctorate
for students who only have a bachelor’s degree; several of my colleagues
have gone that route. Prestige (and ranking) of the schools you attend also
play a role in your future job-hunting plans.
I suggest that your best resource for finding an answer is to schedule
some time to talk to faculty members from your alma mater in the
discipline you want to teach. Conduct some informational interviews
with them — pick their brains and solicit their advice and opinions.
Don’t forget that you can find links to several great articles about attending
graduate school as well as links to great graduate school resources by going
to the Graduate
School Resources
section of Quintessential Careers.
And be sure to go to the Quintessential Careers
Informational
Interviewing Tutorial
if you need to learn more about how to conduct informational interviews.