UCCS Graduate School offers students chance to enhance undergraduate studies

February 6, 2018

Rachel Librach

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    After college, students have to consider their next steps in life. A couple options are to search the job markets for a career in their chosen field, or continue their education in a graduate school.

    On Feb. 5, the UCCS Graduate School hosted their annual Graduate Programs Open House in the Upper Lodge. This event gave students the opportunity to learn more about different graduate programs offered at UCCS.

    Two sessions informed students about what they need to know before taking the MCAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT exams. If students missed the event, they can still learn about the school’s programs and benefits.

    The graduate school 55 graduate programs, from accounting to mechanical engineering. The Office of Institutional Research for 2017 states that there were 1,832 graduate students by the end of the fall term and 164 non-degree graduates.  Sarah Elsey, program manager for the graduate school, said that since 2013, this number has increased by 18 percent.

    According to Elsey the program has been a part of UCCS since the college opened in 1965. The Graduate School was established in 2000 after a report recommendation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    “Programs may have operated through Boulder at the start. And for many years, students needed to drive to Boulder to submit thesis and paperwork,” Elsey said in an email.

     UCCS graduate students already have an advantage as far as choice of salaries in the workforce, said Elsey.

    “In 2014, the median salary of master’s degree recipients was more than $11,700 greater than the median for those with only a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” she said.

    “The growth leads to fantastic opportunity for UCCS students, most of whom are employed in their fields of study within a year of graduation.”

    Students can enhance their undergraduate education with an advanced degree, according to Elsey.

    “A graduate program allows you to develop depth of knowledge and skills in a specific area. While an undergraduate program allows you to have breadth in knowledge, a graduate program will allow you dig deeper into a subject area,” said Elsey.

    Rachel Menkhus, a graduate student studying communication, decided to go to grad school because she thought she could benefit with the advantage of pursuing higher education.

    “I assumed I wouldn’t get a job in communications without it. People seemed to be very impressed when they hear I’m a communication major and decided to get a master’s as well,” she said.

    Menkhus believes that attending a graduate school is important if a student wishes to excel in their career. She also remarks that she has learned more in her first semester of grad school that she did in her first three years of undergrad.

    “I don’t think a lot of people think communication majors value their education. I think it’s a stigma that follows us comm majors around.”

    When selecting a graduate school to apply to, not only was UCCS convenient for her, but Menkhus also was able to take advantage of the program’s unique accelerated master’s degree program.

    “I was able to take three classes for graduate credit during my undergrad years and only have to pay the undergrad price. This was great for me since I decided very early on that I wanted to go to grad school,” she said.  

     “I don’t feel like I learned anything until my senior year in undergrad. But even then, I have learned so much in my post graduate degree so far. I am mainly taking media classes, so I’ve been having to write a lot of papers,” she said.

    For more information on the UCCS Graduate School, visit uccs.edu/graduateschool/.