What types of questions are asked during grad school interviews?

Questions You Should Ask the Interviewer

Just as important as your answers to the questions asked by the interviewer are the questions that you ask. Intelligently inquiring about a particular graduate program helps to reinforce your interest and your commitment to succeeding in your field. Here are a few ideas to help you make a mental list:

  • What is the greatest strength of this program?
  • What sets your program apart from others in the field?
  • How long do students usually take to finish the program?
  • What makes a student successful?
  • What do most graduates do after graduation?
  • What types of research projects are current students doing?

[source: Boise State University Career Center]

After you've gotten ready for the interview questions, prepare yourself to make a good first impression during and after the interview. Dress neatly and professionally. In many fields, that means dressing like a professional in the field: a candidate for a master's in business administration would wear a suit, but business casual might be more appropriate for someone going into academia or psychology.

In addition, as common sense as these tips are they're worth reiterating. First, arrive early or precisely on time. Second, show respect for your interviewers. They spent years plugging away at their dissertation to earn that "Dr." Address them with respect using their proper title, not as casually as you would a relative or friend. Third, send a thank-you note to the program director and anyone with whom you spoke during the interview. Third, call to follow up to check on your status.

Finally, relax and be yourself. Whether you're pursuing an advanced degree in law, environmental engineering or classical music, don't be afraid to show your passion for the subject and to express your desire to be accepted into the graduate program of your dreams.

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  • Alexander, Linda, M.D. "Medical School Interviews: How to Prepare and Do Well." MomMD. (Jan. 13, 2010)www.mommd.com/interview.shtml
  • Farlow, Kristin. "Graduate School Interview Tips." University of California. May 22, 2009. (Jan. 12, 2010) http://bunny.ucdavis.edu/advising/grad/handouts/graduate_school_interview_tips.html
  • "Interviewing: Professional & Graduate School." University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. (Jan. 12, 2010)www.uwgb.edu/careers/interview_questions_grad.htm.
  • "Law School Interviews." Ivy League Admissions.com (Jan. 13, 2010) http://www.ivyleagueadmission.com/lawinterview.html
  • Oudekerk, Barbara and Bottoms, Bette. "Applying to Graduate School: The Interview Process." Association for Psychological Science. June/July 2007. (Jan. 12, 2010)http://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/getArticle.cfm?id=2184.
  • "Sample questions asked during academic programs & graduate/professional programs interviews." Boise State University Career Center. (Jan. 12, 2010) http://career.boisestate.edu/PracticeInterview - GraduateSchoolQuestions.htm.