Full-time vs part-time graduate school study
Whether you choose to attend graduate school part-time, full-time, or online will be a decision based on your personal goals and circumstances.
Full-time graduate school
A full-time graduate program allows you to immerse yourself in your studies for a year or more. You’ll also finish your degree faster than if you had studied part-time. One thing to consider: Full-time graduate degree programs delay or disrupt your progress in your field, meaning you may lose at least some potential income while you’re in graduate school. But you may make up for that loss quickly after graduation because your degree could enable you to earn a higher salary.
Part-time graduate school
If you’re fresh out of school, a part-time graduate degree program gives you the opportunity to gain work experience, either in your field or in a professional setting. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced professional, a part-time graduate program lets you continue working at your current job while furthering your education. Your company may also offer tuition reimbursement for any courses you take that relate to your work. In either case, you may be able to spread out the cost of graduate school over several years as opposed to one or two. However, you may find yourself working hard to strike the balance between a 40-hour work week and your classwork.
Online graduate school
Many schools now offer online graduate degree programs, in which students can enroll part-time or full-time. These programs offer busy students more flexibility to fit in their studies because students don’t have to worry about commuting to a class after work. However, these online graduate classes often offer fewer opportunities for face-to-face learning and networking with your peers and professors.
You may have personal factors that impact the type of graduate program you choose. If you have a family, that may affect your plan. If you want to work before you start graduate school, you may want to save part of your salary to help pay for school. If you live near colleges that offer in-state tuition or if you went to an undergraduate college that offers a discount for graduate degrees, you may want to consider these options before you decide where to apply.