Tarleton adds more grad programs
By Morghan Nicholes—
Many students anticipate graduation, but often they don’t know what they will be doing after walking the stage.
After four years—more or less—of long nights of studying, typing essays, completing projects and cooking a dinner of Ramen noodles, many graduates are ready to face the work world and begin their careers.
Others, however, may not be ready to work, don’t know where to find jobs or feel like they could get more out of their education by going to graduate school.
Tarleton State University offers a growing list of graduate programs. With six colleges—Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Liberal and Fine Arts, Science and Technology and Online Programs—in graduate studies, Tarleton has 36 programs to choose from.
This year, Tarleton’s Fort Worth campus added two graduate programs—a master’s in communication studies and a master’s of public administration.
A new report issued by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) on Tarleton’s graduates found that a master’s degree can pay off in the long run.
“A typical Tarleton graduate with a bachelor’s degree is expected at mid-career to make almost $32,000 more a year—or $1.2 million during a career—than a similar high school graduate also working in North Central Texas,” according to the report.
The report concluded that “a Tarleton graduate degree would add another $15,000 a year” in income.
The EMSI report also provided a chart that illustrated the expected income in the TSU service region at the midpoint of an individual’s working career by education level. The report said that those who had completed a bachelor’s degree could expect a salary up to $69,400, and those who completed a master’s degree earned up to $84,600.
Graduate school offers two options, thesis and non-thesis. Going the thesis route requires a student to pick a committee of three professors (who have obtained their master’s degrees as well) and decide on an “experiment” or something that needs to be tested, studied and proved.
Because of the amount of time spent on a thesis, it usually takes more than the average two years for a student to complete their master’s. At the end of their thesis, the student must present the research to their committee and be approved to get their degree.
Then there is non-thesis, in which a student can take a variety of upper-level classes that are more specific, in-depth and after completion of their hours, graduate with a master’s degree.
Tarleton graduate student Chelsea Matlock, who has chosen the thesis route, has been in the program for a year-and-a-half.
“When you get your undergrad, you are force-fed generic information that you may never use again,” she said. “My graduate classes are far more informative and much more applicable. I am on the thesis track. I wanted to do research to make my master’s degree more valuable.”
Another Tarleton graduate, Alyssa Lahmon, described why she chose to go through the non-thesis program.
“I feel that non-thesis is a more tailored experience for my interest… the flexibility of receiving information from classes and being able to apply it to my major, as well as to a career that interests me,” she said. “I feel a thesis project has its benefits, but it is too specific, and I wanted a wider variety of information that I can use in the future.”
Matlock advised students interested in continuing their education in graduate school to “do your research on your intended work field and see what would benefit you the most as far as an education goes. Also, make sure you know what is expected of you as a graduate student prior to beginning your first semester. If you plan to go the thesis route, choose your committee and start discussing research options early.”
Lahmon said prospective grad students should ask questions as soon as possible to be prepared.
“Make sure your adviser knows you are interested in pursuing your master’s,” she said. “Network with faculty members that are associated with your major and interest.”
Whatever graduate program a student may choose to follow, Barry Lambert, Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice President of Research at Tarleton, said that choosing to pursue a graduate degree should be more than about chasing a piece of paper.
“The path to attaining your graduate degree is about more than the diploma at the end,” he said. “It’s the journey of learning about yourself and your character along the way.”
For more information, see the Graduate Studies homepage on the Tarleton website or call (254) 968-9104.