Many students are now pursuing their bachelor's degrees online. Online bachelor's degrees are offered by both private and public colleges and universities, and students who graduate from these degree programs are employed in a variety of economic sectors, including private industry, government, real estate, education and finance. Some students who receive their online bachelor's degrees choose to continue their education in graduate school and pursue advanced degrees like master's or doctorates.
Universities offer students interested in graduate school many degree options, including Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Fine Arts, Medical Doctor and Doctor of Philosophy. All of these programs are available at many different universities, and the types of program in which students enroll in graduate school depend entirely on their individual interests and career prospects. For example, students interested in managerial positions in investment banking often pursue a Master of Business Administration degrees; students interested in writing novels and teaching creative writing often pursue a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing; and students who are interested in doing independent research in biological laboratories often pursue doctorates in biology.
Prospective graduate students who have completed their bachelor's degrees online have to fulfill certain prerequisites prior to submitting their applications. Requirements vary greatly across programs and universities, but many require students to take specific courses at the undergraduate level to show the application committee that they are adequately prepared to do graduate work in a particular field. For example, medical schools typically require students to complete one year of general biology, general and organic chemistry, and general physics; one semester of biochemistry or microbiology; and one semester of calculus. Students who receive their bachelor's degrees online have to complete the same prerequisites prior to submitting their graduate school applications as students who received their bachelor's degrees in traditional programs.
Many graduate programs require students to take graduate exams and submit their scores along with their applications. The types of exams that students are required to take vary, but many graduate programs require students to submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam, Medical College Admissions Test or the Graduate Management Admission Test. Prospective graduate students who complete their bachelor's degrees online and want to apply to medical school have to take the MCAT; those who want to apply to MBA programs have to take the GMAT; and those who are interested in master’s and doctoral programs in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities or languages have to take the GRE.
All prospective graduate students, both in traditional and online bachelor’s programs, have to submit an application. Graduate school applications typically require students to include an essay explaining why they're applying to graduate school. In addition, applicants must submit transcripts from all undergraduate institutions where they took classes, and two to three references from their professors. Graduate school applications and all the supporting materials have to be submitted by a certain deadline, indicated on the graduate school's website.
Kate Prudchenko has been a writer and editor for five years, publishing peer-reviewed articles, essays, and book chapters in a variety of publications including Immersive Environments: Future Trends in Education and Contemporary Literary Review India. She has a BA and MS in Mathematics, MA in English/Writing, and is completing a PhD in Education.