Understanding Grad School Terminology

If you've ever been in a situation where a teacher or student talked about an assistantship and you weren't quite sure what that was, then you may need to brush up on your grad school terminology. The following definitions for grad school terms are provided by Peterson's:

Assistantships are available at many schools with graduate programs, and can be teaching or research centered. In exchange for completing some work or research for the school, you���re offered free or reduced tuition as well as other possible benefits, such as health insurance and a monthly stipend.

Fellowships are essentially scholarships or grants that are awarded to doctoral students. Awards vary but could include enough money to cover the cost of everything, including tuition, housing, and food. Sometimes, they have strings attached, such as working on a very specific type of research, or publishing a set amount of articles in a specific field.

A work experience or hands-on portion of a class. For instance, Clinical Psychology students may spend eight hours a week seeing clients to fulfill requirements for some classes. A practicum is smaller in scope than an internship and usually only lasts as long as the length of the course which requires it.

In a nutshell, a thesis is one huge gigantic research paper! A thesis is almost always required if you're pursuing a Ph.D., but some master's programs require them as well. Your thesis is your shining academic achievement, an original and significant contribution to research in your field.

Students should also know the abbreviations for degrees and grad school exams. For example, GMAT is the general test for persons going into an MBA program, GRE is the general test for general areas of graduate study, and LSAT is the test required of students going into law programs. In addition, PhD is the abbreviation for a doctorate of philosophy degree, MBA is the abbreviation for a master of business administration degree, and M.Ed. is the abbreviation for a master of education degree.

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