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If you're headed to a career in academia, business, law or medicine, attending graduate school may be a requirement, but for many other students, the decision to attend graduate school comes after deep consideration of the options.
You should consider whether an advanced degree would really benefit you in your chosen field. Will it offer you an extra boost in the labor market or potentially increase your salary? Should you go directly to graduate school or gain work experience first? Be sure to conduct research in the library at Arts & Sciences Career Development, talk with teaching assistants and faculty and check out the Graduate and Professional School Application Guide if you decide to apply.
If your goal is a career in research or teaching, most universities require you to have a Ph.D., which can take from four to 12 years to obtain, usually averaging around six to eight years in the humanities. The decision to undertake a Ph.D. program should not be taken lightly given the intense commitment required and the fact that the number of Ph.D.s produced annually in this country now far exceeds the number of academic jobs available in all fields.
Cornell's graduate school offers excellent programs in diverse fields and is based on a belief and tradition grounded in academic freedom that continues to attract outstanding students. Our system encourages students to work across departments, disciplines, and colleges. Find out more about graduate study at Cornell.