Choosing Graduate Programs


Explore to find a good match for yourself. Consider the qualities of particular training programs. University and college programs vary in accreditation status, theoretical orientation, training goals, and atmosphere. For example, a theoretical perspective (like family-systems, cognitive-behavioral or humanistic) might be highlighted in one program more than another. Programs will also vary on how much they emphasize issues like self-awareness or integrating research into practice. In addition, specific populations may be highlighted at particular programs such as children or the disadvantaged. Also the nature of the students and the types of relationships between students and faculty will differ from program to program.

To help you decide, explore at the career center on our campus, visit the websites of graduate programs, attend open houses, talk to graduate program advisers, talk to current graduate students, and ask a lot of questions. Consider applying to more than one program if you are interested in more than one to increase your odds of being accepted and also to allow you to have some choices later. Being active in seeking graduate programs makes sense, and you’ve already started by exploring here! We wish you the best of luck in your graduate school application process.


Consider Graduate Program Costs and Financial Aid options

Graduate program costs may also be important in your decision making. Typically, public schools are less expensive than private universities, (for example, at the time we created this website, UCLA annual fees were estimated at $8,265.50, while USC fees were estimated at $37,764 for social work programs). However, it is important to remember that many schools have scholarships and loans available. For example, some programs offer substantial amounts of money for social work students who agree to work for the county for several years after graduation. Schools also often recommend that students apply for financial aid in advance through the Free Application for Federal Student AidOpens in new window  (FAFSA) before applying for admission. Information about fees and financial aid is available at each school's website. Additionally, you may obtain more information on resources for financial aidOpens in new window  from the Career Center.

These links provide more information to help you explore graduate programs, including a list of programs with links that our students commonly attended. However, we strongly recommend going to the Career Center office in person to use Eureka to comprehensively search for graduate programs that may interest you. This program is only available in the Career Center office, so be sure to visit them.

Advice on choosing a graduate programOpens in new window and specific information on search engines to find graduate programs

Here are some additional links that may provide useful information in your search:


Local programs Our Students Often Attend

(note: This is NOT a complete list, but just an alphabetical sample of local universities and programs that some of our students have attended. We recommend that you visit the Career Center and do a careful search for additional programs of interest.)

Social Work

Counseling & Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy

Education / School Settings Counselors/psychologist


(Listed below are stand alone gerontology departments. Often other departments offer gerontology tracks…for example at UCLA the school of Public Health and the Social Work Department offer gerontology and aging as specializations. You may want to do a broad search if you are interested in gerontology as a specialization within the context of another field)