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The Intellectual Bronco

Quick Guide: Boise State Graduate Degree Options

M.S., M.A., M.B.A., Ph.D. – what are these degrees and what do they even mean? What am I qualified for and how do I earn it? At the Graduate College, we frequently get questions like this so we put together a quick guide for you! Get the inside scoop on various types of graduate degree programs we offer here at Boise State.

Graduate Certificate

Graduate certificates are professionally oriented programs of study. Students who have completed their baccalaureate degree are eligible for graduate certificates. Graduate certificates allow students to specialize in certain professional areas such as College Teaching or Secondary/K-12 Teaching. Graduate certificates may be completed in combination with a master’s degree or as a stand-alone certificate. Boise State offers 22 graduate certificates.

Master's Degree

Master’s degrees are advanced degrees pursed after earning a bachelor’s degree. Students can generally earn a master’s degree after two years of study. The most common master’s degrees are Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.), but at Boise State we also offer a large variety of additional master’s degrees spanning most industry fields. Some master’s degrees like a M.A. and M.S. are designed to lead to an eventual doctoral degree. The culminating project for most master’s degrees is a thesis, which represents an original contribution to your field of study. Explore Boise State master’s degrees.

Professional Master's Degree

Professional master’s degrees are non-thesis advanced degrees pursued after earning a bachelor’s degree. Professional programs vary in completion time. These types of degrees help students support their professional development and practical application of knowledge in an industry specific area of expertise. The culminating project for most professional master’s degrees is a project or portfolio. Examples of some professional programs are Boise State are: Master of Public Administration (M.P.A), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) or Master of Engineering (M. Engr).

Specialist Degree

A specialist degree is designed for students looking to develop advanced knowledge and theory beyond a master’s degree, but may not wish to pursue a degree at the doctoral level. Boise State offers an education specialist degree in Executive Education Leadership, designed to develop effective leaders in education settings. Students who hold a master’s degree and have some professional experience in the field are eligible for this degree. Learn more about the education specialist degree in Executive Educational Leadership.

Doctoral Degree

A doctoral degree is the highest degree you can earn for graduate study. Within a doctoral program, students are focused on advancing knowledge through original research typically in the form of a dissertation. Boise State offers two types of doctoral programs: Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) and Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D). Specifically, we offer the following nine doctoral programs:

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3 Ways Choosing A Graduate School Program is like Working Out

As the first week of classes begin and New Year’s day still close in our rearview mirrors, I began thinking of classical New Year’s Resolutions. A common New Year’s Resolution is to start “hitting the gym.” Often, people find the idea of beginning or even continuing a workout regiment to be a cringe-worthy and stressful process. The perception is often worse than reality and if handled correctly, it will give you the satisfaction and results you desire. As these thoughts collided with the first week of spring semester, I realized that the same can be said for selecting a graduate program.

Choosing the right graduate program is no more than a dedicated commitment to the process. In my mind, it is a lot like working out. Similarly to working out, to be happy with your end result you must put in the time, effort and make informed decisions about a plan that is best for you. Everyone has a different approach and various trainers will specialize in specific areas. Knowing yourself and your personal goals will help you in choosing the workout (or graduate program) best suited for you.

Selecting a Graduate Program is Not Like Cardio

cardio noSome people may consider choosing a graduate program to be like the cardio of academic decisions. Let’s be honest, cardio is not really fun. At all. It might even cause you stress, constantly looming in the back of your mind. However, it’s pretty standard in a workout plan. Selecting the right graduate program doesn’t have to be cardio. Yeah, there are a lot of things to consider. Is this the right program? How are the professors? Can I be successful here? What if I make the wrong decision? …Don’t worry.

There are always resources available to you and steps to take when considering your options. First, go to the prospective graduate program’s webpage. Check it out. Look at the list of faculty and see if anyone’s research matches your own interests. For instance, if you were interested in Boise State’s MFA in Creative Writing, I would encourage you to visit here. Second, get in contact with the Graduate College or college of graduate studies at the prospective college you’re looking at. People in these departments will be able to answer recruitment questions and will usually have general knowledge about your program of interest. And third, go visit the campus (if possible)!

Find A Trainer You Like

research (1)Finding and narrowing down a graduate program you love will take time. Just like with choosing a trainer, putting in the research behind choosing the right program will pay off in the end. A huge part of this process is simply talking to people – prospective professors, current students, or staff at a Graduate College. Once you have weighed your options, researched your prospective programs and talked to all the right people… choose a program!

Working Out Is Fun

The whole prospect of going to graduate school is a fun and exciting process. Don’t get caught up in the stress of making the right selection – you got this. Similar to working out, graduate school is not torture and neither are the steps leading up to it. The process can be fun and exciting so get out there and enjoy it!

Spring, Boise State Recreation Center, Yoga on the Blue, April 27, 2013, Brian Angers Photos

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Welcome to the Intellectual Bronco

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Hello! Welcome to the first installment of the Boise State Graduate College’s blogging adventures. We at the Graduate College deal in all things you… the graduate student or future graduate student, so we figured it was high time we shared our personal insights, experiences and occasional observations concerning Boise State grad students. As you know or will come to know, life as a graduate student can be crazy busy, crazy fun or just plain crazy. I am here to help navigate the ever churning waters of graduate student life and share information that is hopefully interesting, helpful and maybe even a little funny. Whether you are currently a Boise State graduate student now or you are new to the idea of Boise State, one simple fact remains – Boise State University is one special place. In honor of my maiden voyage into bloggerland, I thought I’d share 6 easy reasons to love Boise State.

1. The Blue

Our notorious blue turf has gained as much recognition as our notable football team. The Blue was ranked #1 in the 10 Best Fields in College Football in 2014 and let’s face it, its just pretty neat to look at. It is commonly known as the “Smurf Turf” to those outside Boise State, but for all the cool kids in the know, it is simply referred to as “The Blue.”

NCAA Football: San Diego State at Boise State

2. Let’s Get Weird

At Boise State University we are a little weird. And we love it. We like to march to the beat of our own blue drums and sometimes that results in peculiar happenings. Check out these 6 Boise State Secrets that unveil little-known happenings throughout campus.

3. We Love Our Holidays

We have an annual tree lighting ceremony every year in December that is overflowing with blue and orange stocking caps, hot cocoa and tons of Bronco spirit. This year we have a 55-foot tree adorned with 17,000 blue and orange light bulbs. There was even a visit from a real life reindeer… does it get any better than that?
Mens Basketball, vs Concordia, Albertsons Stadium, Brian Angers Photos

4. Our Unique-isity

See what I did there? I made up a word to describe the awesome uniqueness of Boise State University. At what other school are you going to find a Raptor Biology program? Oh wait, you won’t because Boise State is home to the only Raptor Biology graduate program in the country! Boise State is for the birds, literally. Click to learn more about Masters in Raptor BiologyRaptor Research Center or even For The Birds.

5. The Blue and Orange

Has blue and orange ever looked more flawless? I don’t think so.



6. Our Lingo

We literally have our own lingo. Think the Greenbelt is a trendy club where everyone wears belts? Think again. Check out this fun article that highlights the language of Boise State students.