Taking it a step further

Grad Cap Graphic.jpg

Graphic: Jedidiah Roberson

As May arrives, the question of what to do upon graduation continually becomes a topic of interest. Many jobs now accept an undergrad degree as standard; however, even though debt swarms most graduates, a master’s or doctoral degree may be the next step to getting into that dream job.

Azusa Pacific is now offering 133 graduate programs for continuing higher education. There are nine different schools at APU that offer postgraduate education leading to degrees or certificates.

Experts say a graduate degree generally increases the appeal of the resume of any holder. According the the United States Census Bureau, workers who hold a master’s degree earn an average salary is $55,242, while those with a bachelor degree earn an average of $42,877.

APU offers master’s programs in teaching, leadership, nursing and psychology. There are a wide range of doctoral programs as well, ranging from education, ministry and nursing to physical therapy and psychology.

The GPA requirement to be considered for the graduate program at APU is a 3.0 or higher, with provisional admission considered for students with 2.5-2.99 GPA. Each program has individual requirements for the applicant to meet as well.

Different programs offer varying time requirements to earn a degree. In order to earn an entry-level master’s in nursing, it takes 3-4 years to complete, taking 107-122 units. A master’s in business administration takes 12-36 months to finish and only 38 units needed. A doctorate in psychology takes 5-6 years, a total of 133 units. A Ph.D. in higher education will take four years and 60 units.

These graduate programs run a little differently than the traditional undergraduate school year, with 9- or 15-week courses instead of 16-week ones like a bachelor’s student.

The pace of school work is intensified in these short spurts, with higher expectations in a shorter amount of time.

“They don’t hold your hand,” said Luke Gutierrez, a graduate student working towards his master’s in education and teaching credentials. “You’re in school for yourself. … You’re really paving a way for yourself.”

Most classes are conveniently offered at night so that graduate students can work and go to school simultaneously. As a result, there is a lot of diversity in who enrolls in these programs.

Gutierrez has found that graduate school is full of people with “all different stances in life,” he said.

“There can be a lady who has been teaching for 20 years sitting next to someone just like me,” he said.

For more information and a complete list of graduate programs, look online at http://www.apu.edu/graduateprofessionalcenter/admissions/programs/.