Why do I need an area of specialization before I apply?

A specialization is critical in helping you create a fit with a graduate program. If you know your focus before you apply, you can be sure the program will have the necessary resources to support your studies, you will have colleagues to collaborate with, and you will have at least one expert to oversee your work. If you choose a focus after being accepted, you may not be able to study  your primary interest or you may have problems finishing your degree.

How can I find an area of specialization?

If you do not have a focus, ask yourself:

  • What were your favorite courses and assignments, and why?
  • What aspects or issues got you interested in your major?
  • What research and readings do you find most interesting?

If these questions do not lead you to a focus, you may not know your field well enough and may want to discuss your plans with a professor.