Choosing a graduate program is a big decision. Maybe you have a particular discipline you want to pursue, such as robotics or machine learning. Maybe you want to complete your program as quickly as possible, or part-time while working. Or you want the ability to take all or part of it online.
There’s a lot to consider, so it’s helpful to know what your goals are and how you want to achieve them before you start looking at programs, especially since there’s a lot of them out there. Here are a few things to think about:
1. Look at where you want to be and the people who work there.
Say you want to work in a particular area, or for a specific company. Hop on LinkedIn and see where the folks you want to join earned their degrees. Talk to friends of friends or other business connections and find out how they got to where they are.
Take a look at what the company is investing in, whether its mobile development, the internet of things or cybersecurity. Then find the programs are strongest in these areas.
Mines’ MS in computer science can be tailored to suit your interests or current professional focus.
2. Does a particular program offer pathways to success?
Internships are a great entry to full-time positions. Is a program you’re considering well connected to industry? Do companies come to campus and recruit students before they even graduate? Do alumni in high-profile positions return regularly to reconnect with their professors?
If your goal is an increase in pay, schools are required to provide information on career outcomes. In 2018-19, for example, graduates who earned master’s degrees in computer science from Mines received an average salary offer of $81,056. And Mines is consistently ranked at the top of national lists for return on investment.
3. Seek out a program that aligns with your resources
Maybe you’re coming from a non-CS background—find a program that accommodates that. If you need to tackle a master’s part time, look for a program that offers that, perhaps with the possibility of switching to full-time when you can.
Consider whether online classes are right for you. Mines, for example, offers a combination of on-campus and virtual classes. Maybe your company offers tuition assistance for particular institutions—put those at the top of your list.
Once you’ve made a decision, it’s time to prepare and maximize your chances of acceptance.