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Four reasons to get a graduate degree

Four reasons to get a graduate degree

1. Gain in-depth knowledge and answer unanswered questions.

A graduate education is unlike any other journey. It is the pursuit of an intellectual passion while acquiring in-depth professional expertise and greater career opportunities. The benefits of a graduate degree also improve your research, writing and analyzing skills. This all contributes to you becoming a more skillful problem solver and to tackling complex projects. By earning a graduate degree, you will continue to expand upon your expertise and knowledge, preparing you for lifelong learning.

2. Set yourself apart from the rest of the workforce.

In today’s increasingly competitive job market, the benefits of a master’s degree or Ph.D. in science can differentiate you in the market. You will learn to use critical thinking and innovation to solve problems. These skills are much sought after and really make a Ph.D. graduate, and even a master’s graduate, stand out from other potential employees.

3. Advance more quickly in your career.

Earning a master’s degree helps you gain specialized knowledge to advance in your field. A graduate degree shows you are committed to enhancing your expertise and credibility. Focus on a special field of study within science helps you become more competitive in the job market.

A graduate degree can make it easier to transition into more senior positions, such as management and leadership. Many organizations are seeking more educated employees. When asked why they are hiring more employees with college degrees for positions previously held by those with high school degrees, 61% of employers said the skills required for their positions have evolved, requiring a higher base level of education. In recent years, with many companies looking to hire people with graduate degrees.

4. Enhance your earning potential.

By earning a graduate degree, you can significantly increase your income. A recent report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce details how much more you can earn with an advanced degree: Across all occupations, those with a master’s degree typically earn about $2.7 million over their lifetime (about $66,800 a year or $32 per hour). Lifetime earnings increase substantially again for those with doctoral and professional degrees: Doctoral degree holders have lifetime earnings of $3.3 million ($81,300 per year; $39 per hour) while those with professional degrees (like doctors and lawyers) have the highest earnings, making over $3.6 million over the course of a lifetime ($91,200 per year; $44 per hour). That makes for a 61% earnings increase (nearly $1.4 million) when compared to bachelor’s degree holders.

While earning a bachelor’s degree is an excellent start to establish your career, advanced degrees make you a more competitive job candidate. That's why more people have been going back to school to earn a master's or Ph.D. of their own: The U.S. Census Bureau reports that from 2011 to 2021, the number of people age 25 and over with a master’s degree rose to 24.1 million, while doctoral degree holders rose to 4.7 million. Those are increases of 50.2% and 54.5%, respectively.

Why get a master's degree in science?

As an undergraduate, you acquired knowledge from established sources and your ability to retain and understand that information was tested by answering questions on exams or from coursework.

Getting a master's degree in science is your chance to gain in-depth knowledge and expertise in your chosen field, transforming you into a subject matter expert. This advanced education equips you with critical thinking, problem-solving, and research skills. These are, of course, highly valued skills in scientific industries and academia.

A master's degree often leads to increased earning potential and career advancement opportunities. Plus, many scientific careers — such as those in research, engineering and healthcare — require advanced degrees for entry or to move up the career ladder.

Remember: Pursuing a master's degree will also foster personal growth and intellectual fulfillment, enabling you to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in your field and make a meaningful impact on society through their research and discoveries.

Why get a Ph.D. in science?

A Ph.D. can give you ultra-specialized experience in a particular area of science research and lead to an academic track position. In addition, a doctoral program also prepares you to approach problems when they aren't clearly defined or posed in an expected way that you faced as an undergraduate.

As a Ph.D. student, the goal is to advance knowledge in a particular field by finding out something that has yet to be discovered. This means you can’t find the answers in a textbook, because the answer doesn’t exist yet. You want to make sure you are comfortable with this approach. For example, to answer a research question, you need to figure out how to create a new piece of knowledge that is thoroughly verified – the thesis. You build on existing knowledge and literature and design experiments to provide the most accurate answer possible.

Overall, a Ph.D. instills a sense of caring more about the approach to the problem, how it relates to the questions you are examining, and how you can adapt other people’s approaches to the problem you are trying to solve. These skillsets are highly valued and in-demand by employers across academia, industry, government, nonprofit organizations and others.