Is Grad School Worth It? The ROI of a Graduate Degree

Is Grad School Worth It
September 17, 2023 6 min read Liaison

Are you asking yourself, “Is going to grad school worth it?” Dive into the benefits and ROI of grad school and discover whether the investment aligns with your career aspirations.

Key Takeaways

Evaluating Worth: The decision to pursue a graduate-level education prompts many to ask, "Is grad school worth it?" Weighing the tangible and intangible benefits can help you make an informed choice.

Driving Motivations: Understanding your reason to go to graduate school is paramount. What’s your motivation? It could be a deep passion for a specific field, the desire for career advancement, or a quest to acquire more knowledge during your professional journey.

Potential Benefits: Graduate degrees often open doors to specialized knowledge and expertise, expanded career opportunities, and valuable networking, making many feel that the investment is worth it.

Financial Implications: While there's potential for higher earnings, it's essential to consider the cost of education and plan ahead for how to pay for grad school.


The decision to attend graduate school is not one to be taken lightly. With the rising costs of education and the potential accumulation of debt, students are often left pondering, "Is grad school worth it?" This article delves into the tangible and intangible benefits of pursuing a graduate degree, allowing you to make an informed decision for your future. According to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average grad school’s tuition and fees in 2020/21 amounted to $19,749. Keep in mind that this is only the average and does not include other costs, such as housing and living expenses.

Reason to go to Graduate School

Is going to grad school worth it? Before diving deeper and spending money and time to prepare for graduate school, you must understand your reason for going to graduate school in the first place. There are numerous valid reasons, such as:

  • Passion for a Field - You are passionate about a particular field and want to get started in that career.
  • Career Advancement - You may choose to go to grad school in order to advance further and make more money in your chosen field, such as business or journalism.
  • Seeking Direction - You may not know what you want to do and feel that graduate school will give you direction.

Whatever your reason may be, you need to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Why Grad School is Worth it

a hand climbing books to get the apple

Is a graduate degree worth the debt? Here are some factors that make going to grad school worth it:

The Potential Salary Boost

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the median weekly pay for full-time workers holding bachelor's degrees was $1,334 in 2021, compared to $1,574 for those with a master's degree and $1,909 for those with a doctoral degree. The difference in lifetime earnings can be substantial, potentially offsetting the initial investment in further education.

Expanded Career Opportunities

Certain career paths, especially those in academia, research, and higher-level managerial roles, require candidates with a graduate degree. Pursuing grad school can open doors to these opportunities.

Specialized Knowledge and Expertise

One undeniable reason to go to graduate school is the chance to dive deeper into a chosen field. You can become an expert, contributing valuable research and insights that can shape the industry.

Networking and Establishing Connections

Graduate schools offer a unique platform to connect with like-minded individuals, professors, and industry professionals. The relationships you build there could benefit you throughout your career.

Intellectual Growth

Apart from career and financial benefits, graduate school challenges and pushes you intellectually. This not only enriches your knowledge but also helps in personal development.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that you should weigh all the pros and cons of going to graduate school and make the decision yourself. Use websites like to get a better understanding of which jobs are currently in high demand and which are expected to be in the future.

Consider the career path you aim to pursue and calculate the average salary for a starting position in the chosen field. Find out how much tuition costs and add on that the living expenses, and try to calculate what your debt is going to be once you graduate. This will help you better understand the upfront costs and potential ROI of going to graduate school.


Graduate school is a significant investment both in terms of time and money. While there are clear advantages, the decision should be rooted in your personal and professional goals. Evaluating the potential ROI can help in understanding whether grad school aligns with your aspirations.


Grad school allows individuals to gain specialized knowledge, potentially earn a higher salary, and access expanded career opportunities. Plus, it offers personal growth and the chance to build a valuable network.

Online grad school can offer flexibility and potentially lower costs. Its worth depends on the course's accreditation, the individual's learning style, and career goals.

The primary purpose of graduate school is to provide advanced knowledge and skills in a specific field. It allows students to conduct research, contribute to their field, and enhance their career prospects.

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