Is graduate school right for you? Tips from JMU SCOM Faculty members.

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Students were encouraged to come to Graduate School Info Sessions hosted by Dr. Bsumeck, the SCOM graduate school, and the  JMU PRSSA chapter this past week. Students and faculty were able to openly discuss some questions and concerns about graduate school. The JMU SCOM professors also advised students on how to apply and gave different tips for an easier transition into grad school.


(Left to Right – Dr. Britt, Dr. Carmack, Dr. Woo, Dr. Bsumeck and students during the session)

Some questions that were covered included:

Why choose graduate school and how do you decide which school to choose?

  • There are several advantages that you will gain with a master’s degree compared to a bachelor’s degree including job advantages, salary differences, and alternate career paths.
  • When deciding on a school, explore which programs the school offers and how this tailors to one’s career aspirations.
  • Dr. Britt: “Some people also look at the professors at the school, which ones would you want to work with.”


How does a degree from graduate school give you an advantage in the job market?

  • Dr. Bsumeck: “There is definitely an advantage with a master’s degree in the job market compared to a bachelor’s degree.”
  • Dr. Carmack: “you also have an advantage on different fields/positions that you can apply to which you wouldn’t have been able to with a bachelor’s degree.”
  • The obvious – salary differences.

What are some methods to help fund tuition for graduate school?

  • Graduate assistantship is a helpful option. Through graduate assistant positions, schools waive tuition and provide some stipends as well.
  • On-campus jobs are also an option. Schools offer positions exclusively for graduate students.
  • Grants, loans, and scholarships are also an option – there are different loans offered for graduate students compared to undergraduate students.

And some general tips to help the application process.

  • Make sure to do research about the different schools offered for graduate students. There may specific programs offered at some schools tailored to a specific field.
  • Remember application fees can be costly so make sure to wisely choose which ones to apply.
  • The nature of the school is an extremely important factor to consider: The location, the school culture and size of the school.

In response to the question of “How successful was the event today?” Dr. Bsumeck responded : “It was great. It seemed several students were able to get a lot from these sessions. Not many students seem to know about the options of graduate school and it seemed these sessions were helpful. We will probably have these sessions annually from now on.”

The session was informative and an overall great opportunity for the students and faculty as well.

Click here for more information about the SCOM graduate school.

Please let us know if you have any news to share with us. You can contact Dr. Isaac Woo ( or Karen Kim ( for a news story idea.