How to Prepare for Graduate School


Graduate school is an increasingly important component of fisheries education. A Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree is now the norm for agency biologist positions, making graduate school critical for attaining fisheries employment. Unlike undergraduate education, the focus of graduate school is research. Master’s students address one or more research questions under the supervision of their faculty advisor(s). In contrast, doctoral students typically pursue more research questions at a greater depth, and do so with more independence in the design and execution of studies. During graduate school students also gain teaching experience, particularly when pursuing a Ph.D. It’s important to remember that graduate school is a job, and so the application process is quite different than applying for college. Here we outline important steps students can follow to prepare and apply for graduate school.

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Andrew Carlson, M.S. Candidate, South Dakota State University
Shannon White, Ph.D. Student, Pennsylvania State University
Tracy Wendt, M.S. Student, University of Montana