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Graduate School Interview Questions And Best Answers

As part of the application process, many graduate institutions demand an interview. Graduate school interviews enable university faculty to assess your ability to succeed in their program.

These interviews will likely involve a combination of specialist questions about your topic area and broad questions about your objectives and experience. They will be conducted by a single interviewer or a panel of university employees. Researching the subjects that come up frequently in graduate school interviews will help you prepare answers that best reflect your qualifications.

In this article, we’ll go over some common graduate school interview questions and how to respond to them successfully.

Graduate School Interview Questions And Best Answers

Although not all graduate programs need an interview, it is becoming more popular. If you’re applying to a graduate program, especially (but not primarily) a PhD program, you should expect to be interviewed and prepared to answer questions.

Your ability to answer questions with utmost interest and genuine expressions makes you a better candidate for a position or opportunity. For potential raduate students, you need to better understanding o the type of question to expect in a graduate school interview and how best to answer those questions.

The following are some possible interview questions for graduate school:

1. Tell me about yourself

This question is used in many sorts of interviews to establish a line of communication and assess your ability to prioritize information. List your key accomplishments, experiences, hobbies, and personal values as you prepare to answer this question. Think about how these factors impact your ability to succeed in a graduate program.

SEE ALSO: 21 Great Job Interview Tips: How to Make An Impression

2. What are your interests and hobbies?

Interviewers will be seeking applicants that are well-rounded, have a diverse set of interests, and can apply their abilities in a range of settings. Because graduate programs can be challenging, you must have hobbies to help you cope with stress.

Your hobbies and interests might also emphasize traits such as creativity and teamwork that aren’t readily apparent in your academic background. Use this question to show off your personality and establish a personal connection with the interviewer.

3. What will you do to help us with our program?

Graduate school interviewers are looking for advantages you can provide to their program. Academic accomplishments, prizes, and publications are all instances of beneficial contributions to a graduate program.

To properly respond to this question, extensively examine the program and connect your aims and interests to the department’s recent work. Mention how you plan to achieve a specific goal in your field if you have one.

See the top 10 High-Paying Graduate Jobs Attainable With Bachelor’s Degree

4. What do you regard to be your most significant achievement?

Sharing your finest achievements with the interviewer demonstrates not only your ability to succeed, but also your values. Whatever your best achievement is, connect it to why you want to go to graduate school and how you want to achieve excellence.

Additionally, describe your explanation for your choice so the interviewer can see your core principles.

5. Tell me about a time when you didn’t succeed

When questioned about failure, explain how you dealt with it and what you learned from it utilizing the STAR approach. Interviewers will evaluate your attitude toward failure and how you overcome problems.

Graduate programs are frequently demanding, and students must be committed to succeeding despite setbacks. Use this question to demonstrate your ability to learn from prior mistakes, especially if you’re applying for a position in education.

SEE ALSO: What Is STAR Method In Interviewing? Best Examples in 2023

6. What kind of research interests do you have?

This question allows you to demonstrate your expertise in the field you are applying to. Discuss your previous research and potential work applications when answering this question. Include instances of how you have pursued your academic interests in the past and why you are passionate about a certain speciality. Interviewers will almost certainly be looking for someone with a track record of pursuing their passions.

7. What are your professional objectives?

Graduate schools frequently seek for students with drive and a strong sense of purpose in their area. The reputation of the graduate program can be enhanced by achieving professional goals and developing an impressive career. Your interviewer will also check to see if the program would help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

READ ALSO: Career Management: Meaning, Process, and Objectives

8. What makes you want to participate in our program?

When applying to graduate school, you should be able to articulate why you want to study there and what makes that program distinctive. Although interviewers know that prospects often apply to numerous schools, demonstrating interest in their program might help you stand out as a more appealing candidate.

By demonstrating that you care about their beliefs or procedures, you may be able to persuade the interviewer that you will work hard to ensure the success of their program.

9. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Interviewers use this question to gauge your self-awareness and attitude. You will focus on increasing your academic skills and experience as part of a graduate program, and you should have a firm awareness of areas where you want to grow.

This question also lets you describe the beneficial qualities you could contribute to their program. When answering this question, be truthful and explain how you overcame your flaws and bolstered your strengths.

10. What books have you been reading lately?

This question can help you figure out your intellectual curiosity and skill. Choose articles or books that correspond in some manner to your academic interests and aspirations. Choose a few significant books or magazines demonstrating your interest in your industry and your ideals before your interview.

11. What drew you to this field in the first place?

If you’re applying to a graduate program, you should be fairly enthusiastic about the subjects you’ve studied thus far (and if you aren’t, go back now!). If you don’t enjoy your work, you won’t last long in graduate school!). However, a response to this question must express more than giddy delight at the prospect of studying these topics professionally.

It’s fantastic to be enthusiastic, and it’s fine to express true passion for the field. However, especially if you’re applying to a PhD school, your response should go farther. Whatever graduate degree you choose, you must clearly understand why you are taking this path.

12. What is your motivation for pursuing this degree (PhD)?

If you want to pursue a PhD, you must explain why pursuing a PhD is the best option for you, your priorities, and your objectives. Being enthusiastic isn’t enough. To get through graduate school, you need passion and real interest, as previously said.

Enthusiasm, on the other hand, will only get you so far. You must show that your research interests are viable, possess the necessary discipline to complete the degree and that a PhD is required for the work you wish to pursue.

13. Where else are you submitting applications?

This is a difficult question since you must be honest while demonstrating why this particular institution would be a good fit for you. They want to know that if an offer is issued, you’ll accept it; at the same time, you need to cover your bases and apply to numerous institutions if that’s what you want (though we don’t recommend casting an extremely wide net with applications).

While it is not expected that you will be an expert in the topic at this stage, you must demonstrate that you are reading the literature, researching ideas in this field of scholarship, and doing so outside of and beyond your regular curriculum.
Those who only accomplish the bare minimum are unlikely to succeed in graduate school.

You are exposed to a wide range of concepts during your undergraduate studies, but you only take the initial steps down the specialized route in your final year or two of undergrad. Graduate school is a very different animal from undergraduate school; graduate school is as dissimilar to high school as undergraduate school was to high school.

15. What are your research interests? What do you want to learn more about?

This may not appear to be a challenging question at first sight. It may be one of the most evident. However, you will most likely not have a defined research objective when applying to graduate school, and that’s fine!

Furthermore, even if you have a clearly defined research topic, it will almost probably alter before you complete your degree. That is simply the nature of research at this level. You are about to be exposed to many “unknown-unknowns” in your schooling. That is to say, you have a good understanding of a lot of things and are aware of many of your own knowledge gaps.


These interview questions will help you prepare for your graduate interview. They have been sourced from dependable sources and are recommended for you.


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Chukwudumebi Amadi
Chukwudumebi Amadi

What’s up, I’m Dums. I help brands gain visibility through SEO Writing and other applicable Content Marketing Strategies.

My educational background includes a BSc in Mass Communication with a focus on writing for the New Media.

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