While the IR Graduate Certificate Program is relatively new and the first cohort has not  graduated yet, several of our students have found the program to be very helpful in their education and career. After completing 1 semester in the program, one of our students had this to say to new students considering the IRGC Program at HSU:

“If you are a graduate student, the importance of research methods and basic statistical know-how has probably been drilled into your head. At least that has been my own personal experience. Luckily, I have always felt comfortable with (and even enjoyed!) both topics. However, I did not quite know where that proficiency was going to take me. After nearly seven years of higher education I was more than ready to enter the workforce, yet I felt like I was on the PhD track with few other options…until an Institutional Research professional gave a presentation about the IR Graduate Certificate to one of my graduate classes. Immediately afterwards I thought to myself, “That’s it. That’s where I need to be.” Nine months later, I have a job in the field and could not be happier.
Pursuing Institutional Research has allowed me to focus on all aspects I want in a career. I enjoy research, but at the academic level it can be tedious, narrow, and can take years to complete. Furthermore, after the research is completed, sometimes very few people end up reading one’s work due to the specificity of the topic. In IR, the research is applied; results help inform the institution on how it can improve. People are interested in what is being done in an IR office both inside and outside of the institution. Rather than focusing narrowly on one topic for years, IR always presents new and diverse projects. In short, the research is fun and faster paced. When it’s not, new projects are always around the corner.
HSU’s IR Graduate Certificate Program is the perfect way to get your foot in the door. It is one thing to go to an interview and tell the recruiter that you have research experience. It is completely different to go into an interview and declare that your career goals involve IR specifically, and that you have taken steps to achieve that goal. Not only does the program give insight to what IR is, but it also provides opportunities for developing original research projects and practicing networking through its internship component. My resume has never looked better.
Today, I receive emails about job opportunities in IR on a weekly basis. The jobs are out there, but people with the appropriate experience seem much harder to come by. Participating in this program is the best way to impress the many schools that are looking for IR professionals. Though I already managed to get a job in this field, I fully intend to complete the final two classes in the program. It is amazing to have a clear career path with so much support for development. As a budding researcher, I am so happy to have been introduced to IR and provided with so many great tools and experiences through the IR Graduate Certificate Program.”
Yasmine Potts, Humboldt State University Graduate in Psychology and newly hired Institutional Research Analyst at the University of the Pacific-Stockton
- August 5th, 2014