An indentured servant in an academic institution. Also, according to Matt Groening, one who is trying to avoid life and getting a job by remaining a student as long as possible.

A graduate student is a student who enrols in an academic program following successful completion of an undergraduate degree. The programs, generally speaking, may be either purely academic or professional in nature. Given that the nature of graduate programs differs from one institution to another (slightly) and from one country to another (greatly), it is difficult to exactly define the responsabilities and requirements of graduate students.

Professional programs

Generally speaking, professional graduate students enrol in programs that are intended to provide them with knowledge and qualifications for later work in industry. Examples of such programs are the Master's of business administration (MBA), a Master's of architecture, and various graduate programs in technical writing, natural resources management, international business relations, etc. These programs generally require one to three years of scholarity, and are heavily focussed on course work. Students are often required to register for a full complement of courses during all three semesters (12 months a year), have exams and do not have to submit a large report at the end of their studies.

Academic programs

Most graduate students are enrolled in such a program. While there are national differences, these graduate students are either enrolled in a master's or a doctoral program. Examples of such programs are as numerous as the departments in any institution: biology, physics, mathematics, english literature, comparative literature, philosophy etc. The intent of such programs is training for further academic work. The required scholarity is normally two (master's) or four (doctorate) years. While different fields and departments have different requirements, the majority of the work accomplished during these programs is pure research and thus relatively limited course work is involved. Master's students normally take one or two semesters of courses, and then spend a year or more creating a thesis, which must be defended prior to completion of the degree. This thesis will normally result, later, in one or two academic publications. A doctoral student normally takes one year of courses, and then spends one year preparing for comprehensive exams, which are essentially a watershed event determining whether or not the student can and/or should continue with the program. Following successful completion, two more years are spent involved in pure research, and a thesis is produce which again must be defended. Normally, this thesis will result in four or more academic publications.

I know some of this might be better suited in a graduate studies node, but given the dearth of information in the family of graduate student nodes (see also grad student, grad students, graduate students), I thought this might be welcome/needed.

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