Graduate school enrollment rising

By Megan Jicha

More students are attending graduate school than at any point in the last 18 years, according to a study conducted by the Council for Graduate Schools.

Northeastern is no exception to this growing trend.

“Graduate enrollment has definitely gone up this year versus last year,” said Lynne Sarikas, director of Graduate Business Administration and Professional Accounting Career Services. “More students are enrolling in graduate school for more reasons nowadays. They see more opportunities with a higher degree; hot jobs need an MBA. These higher degrees also give students more responsibility and visibility in their field.”

Some students, like senior chemistry and physics major Garrett Ainslie, hope to press on further with their educational careers in order to advance opportunities available to them in a field by attending graduate school.

“In the field of chemistry, your career level is very limited with only a bachelor’s degree. A masters degree is becoming the standard, but a Ph.D. is preferred,” Ainslie said.

Graduate school not only furthers one’s knowledge in their field but also allows students to specialize in their field.

“I felt as if a finance degree would complement my engineering background well,” said Monojit Maskeri, a graduate student working toward a master’s in finance. “This way I could market myself to more companies and add greater value to any company.”

Some have even more specific reasons for enrolling in Northeastern’s graduate school.

“Northeastern’s widely publicized co-op program was a big reason I choose to come here,” Maskeri said.

For others, attending Northeastern’s graduate school is the only way to go: pharmacy students, for instance, go through six years of school, with the final year reserved for graduate work, as they prepare to leave the university having earned a doctorate.

Joanne Crooker, a graduate student working toward a master of science in accounting, is looking to qualify for the opportunity to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam, which requires students to have 150 hours in order to complete.

Undergraduates have approximately 132 credit hours by the time of commencement.

“I decided if I needed to take more classes I might as well just get another degree,” Crooker said.

Others may not enroll in graduate school directly following college, instead choosing to take time off from schooling and begin a career before enrolling.

Lindsey Auclair, a senior entrepreneurship and small business management major, plans to begin her career but eventually continue her education by attending graduate school.

“Returning to graduate school won’t necessarily help me attain a better job in my field, but it will help me to learn more about it,” Auclair said.

With graduate student numbers increasing, the job market is sure to become more competitive, Sarikas said.

However, potential employees with higher educations mean employers will have to pay higher wages, which may or may not be in the best interest of certain companies.

Maskeri said attending graduate school seems to be the most beneficial route to take after graduating college. But Owen Brenna Isaacson will not be swayed.

“I don’t know what I would do at graduate school,” said Isaacson, a senior theatre and modern languages major. “I would rather take my chances at getting a job in my field of interest.”

Leave a Reply