Master's and Doctorate Programs
One of the most important steps concerning graduate school is deciding what you expect from a graduate program. What type of degree do you want and how long are you willing to devote to it? M.A. or M.S. programs usually last from 1 to 2 years. These vary due to the types of training provided and the research expectations of the students, i.e. whether a formal thesis is required.
A thesis is usually an initial research project that is proposed, the data is collected, the final paper is written, and then the paper is defended in front of a group of faculty. The thesis must be completed before the degree is awarded in most schools, although some schools do not require a master's thesis, replacing it with some other type of project. A dissertation is much like a thesis, i.e. research is proposed, conducted, written and defended, with the dissertation usually required before a doctorate. is granted.
A doctorate will require four or five years of education beyond the B.A. or an additional 2 to 3 years beyond the M.A.. Counseling and clinical students must also complete a one-year training internship after completing your coursework and research.