There are many reasons to consider pursuing a graduate degree. Some may want the pay boost afforded by having more than a bachelor’s degree. Others need an advanced degree to move into higher-level positions at work. Still others might seek the satisfaction of increased knowledge and a widened skill set. Whatever the underlying motivations, attending graduate school can be a tempting choice – but is it the right one?

On a purely economic level, the answer would seem to be “yes.” Aaron T. Christensen, manager of the Graduate Student Services Center at OSU-Tulsa, points out that the earning potential for those with advanced degrees far outpaces that of workers with just a bachelor’s degree. Christensen cites a study from the U.S. Department of Labor, which finds that those with master’s degrees earn 17 percent more – and those with doctorates 32 percent more – than their counterparts who only completed an undergraduate education.

Master’s degrees generally take between two and three years to complete, while a doctoral program can take six years and beyond. That is why, according to Christensen, family support is important.

“While many of OSU-Tulsa’s graduate students successfully balance family and school, it is important for spouses, significant others, children and other relatives to be aware of the time commitment graduate school will have on not only the student but also those in his or her life,” he says. “Time will need to be allocated differently and priorities clarified among the family support network.”

Ultimately, the decision to pursue a graduate degree involves a number of factors that must be weighed by each student.

“…It is not uncommon for a person to begin graduate school after being out of college for quite some time,” he says. “Returning to school and adapting to modern learning environments can be daunting, but we at OSU-Tulsa want all students to be successful. Several support services exist for students who may need extra help with writing, math or library research.”

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