<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=668213823346747&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

About this Resource

There are many reasons to change careers:

Maybe you’re disillusioned with your career, or maybe you’re currently working in a dissolving industry, or maybe you’re realigning your personal interests and priorities and want to pursue a career that better reflects those new views.

Whatever your reason, it is, in fact, possible for you to switch careers and pursue one that aligns with your desires and talents.

Life is too short to waste your time on a career that doesn’t bring you fulfillment. And that’s why the Admissions Team here at West Virginia University put together this digital resource: as a way of encouraging you and educating you on how to prepare yourself personally, professionally, and academically to change fields of study and careers.

Let us help guide you on your career-changing journey!

So, let’s go back and dig a little deeper. What are some of the reasons that people change careers? And how do you know if you should be one of the many who do?

According to this resource, these are some of the most likely reasons that people change career fields:

  • Frustration and disillusionment due to not using your natural abilities in current job
  • Working in a diminishing industry
  • Desire to forge your own path as an entrepreneur
  • Realignment of personal/spiritual values-midlife re-evaluation.
  • Dislike of the organizational culture
  • Desire for a more lucrative career position

All of these are valid reasons for choosing to switch careers. And there’s no easy way to answer the question above: Only you can be sure of the kind of career that’s going to bring you personal and professional satisfaction.

Girl in Corporate attire standing at the front view of WVU Building

According to The New York Times, in 2006, the most recent year for which there are statistics, 54 million Americans (or 40%) of the workforce, left their jobs.


While this resource is about highlighting the kinds of careers that are available to career changers, there are, though, undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees that will actually compliment each other even if they are unrelated.

We live in an interdisciplinary era, where professionals are required to utilize various kinds of knowledge and skills in order to thrive and succeed in their industries.

Thus, this fact remains: Collaboration between two very different sets of knowledge can actually inspire creativity, innovation, and human-centered thinking, making you invaluable in the workforce.

  • For instance, a professional who pursued an undergraduate degree in chemistry might use the fundamentals taught in those studies to apply and interpret scientific results for work in the forensics or criminal justice system.
  • Similarly, a graduate of an English or journalism bachelor’s program might use their creative thinking and imagination skills to inspire effective communication-related change in a tech-related industry like marketing or advertising
  • And yet another example: the courses a student may take in psychology in undergrad may help with the empathy, people-reading, and interpersonal skills needed to succeed in a social work program or as an attorney with a prestigious and lucrative law degree.

When considering changing careers, consider the fact that you can use what you learned from your previous field of study in a strategic manner in your next academic program of choice. Consider your talents and consider working in an industry that will value those skills.


Career Changers Guide Cover

Marci Alboher Image

….something we’ve all come to expect: news that our friends and colleagues are shedding their skins to emerge as very different animals. It’s part of a fundamental change sweeping all industries and professions.”

— Marci Alboher,
A former lawyer turned journalist/author/writing coach/columnist


Want some food for thought?

Marci is the author of One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success.

WVU Graduate Admissions

Our Traditional, Advanced Degrees Perfect for Career Changers

Here are a few of the traditional graduate degrees that are available to students without a related bachelor’s. You can find a comprehensive list of WVU’s graduate programs here.


Industrial Relations M.S.Business Cybersecurity Management M.S.

Politics and Law

Political Science M.A.Public Administration M.P.A.Law J.D.

Human Services

Health Services and Outcomes Research Ph.D.Social Work M.S.W.Human and Community Development Ph.D.


Coaching and Sport Education M.S.


Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design M.Agr.Costume Design and Technology M.F.A.Lighting Design and Technology M.F.A
Landscape Architecture M.S.

Arts & Sciences

History M.A.Music Education M.M.Acting M.F.A.Art Education M.A.Ceramics M.F.A.Creative Writing M.F.A.Forestry M.S.F.Geography M.A.Horticulture M.S.Intermedia and Photography M.F.ASculpture MFAStudio Art MA/MFAWomen and Gender Studies GCLiterary and Cultural Studies MAPrintmaking MFA

A little more about WVU

WVU _Graduate_Program_2018_4K

Additional Reading

West Virginia University's weekly graduate blog, The Summit Ahead, is dedicated to keeping you updated on industry trends, academic research, admissions advice, and WVU student stories in order to help you make an informed decision regarding your academic and professional future. Check out a few of our recent blog posts below!
Trends Shaping the Future of the design industry
Trends Shaping the Future of the Design Industry
9 Careers for Professionals with a Master's in Journalism
9 Careers for Professionals with a Master's in Journalism
WVU Student Story: I got a Bachelor’s in Art History but...
WVU Student Story: I got a Bachelor’s in Art History but...
7 Master’s Degrees at WVU that Allow for an Unrelated Bachelor’s Degree
7 Master’s Degrees at WVU that Allow for an Unrelated Bachelor’s Degree

First things first. Let WVU help you


Before you can enroll in a graduate degree, you’re probably going to have to take the GRE. In addition to this digital resource, the Admissions team has a variety of existing toolkits available for your reference.

Check out this one: The GRE Cheat Sheet: Test-Taking Tips and Resources.

If you’re thinking about taking the GRE, you definitely want to check out this digital toolkit, and this is what you’ll find:

  • Succinct explanations of what to expect from the GRE
  • Sample questions from each section of the test
  • A guide to the best resources available for GRE prep
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about the GRE

You can also download the guide for future reference!

Introducing WVU Online

WVU Online is its own unit, made up of enrollment coaches that assist students from the point of inquiry through what is considered a “strong start,” which is the first week of classes. The unit also oversees the registration process for many online programs.

Although an advanced degree can set your career flying, higher education can also crash your bank account if you aren’t strategic regarding financial budgeting. While some programs can be extremely expensive, some online programs allow their students to pay in-state tuition regardless of residency. Keep your career on path by searching for highly-ranked online programs that won’t financially debilitate you.

WVU stands out in this regard as many other universities charge more for out-of-state, online students, while WVU makes exceptions for certain online degrees. Rates are determined by programs rather than courses, meaning, taking a course with a subject not in line with the desired degree will not increase the tuition for a student in a specific program. This allows students to experiment with other fields if their degree has flexibility for elective classes. WVU boasts as a “best value” university since tuition rates are low compared to similar higher education institutions.

Man sitting inside the classroom
Girl having a discussion to someone

Online/Low-Residency Degrees

That Don’t Require a Related Undergraduate Degree

Note: In order to apply, students must have completed accredited undergraduate coursework and in some cases, related job experience.

You can check out the rest of WVU Online's graduate programs here.


Communications Studies M.A.Data Marketing CommunicationsIntegrated Marketing Communications M.S.


Clinical Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling M.S.


Master of Business Administration MBA


Software Engineering M.S.S.E.


Higher Education Administration M.A.Special Education M.A. and/or certificationInstructional Design & Technology M.A.

Forensics & Law

Legal Studies M.L.S.Forensic and Fraud Examination M.S.

Physical Activity and Sport Sciences

Sport Management M.S.


Music Industry M.A.

Interested in graduate school online?

If you’re considering enrolling in an advanced online program at West Virginia University, you may have some questions about the admissions process and concerns regarding what it would actually mean for you to enroll in an online graduate program.

That’s why we put together The Online Graduate School Toolkit.

In this digital resource page, you’ll find:

  • Why online learning is the future of higher education
  • About the advantages (and disadvantages) to online learning
  • What the ROI of an online graduate degree really is
  • A comprehensive list of online graduate programs at WVU

More Reading for Career Changers

A Look at WVU's Integrated Marketing Communications Master’s Degree
A Look at WVU's Integrated Marketing Communications Master’s Degree
3 (More) Grad Degrees Available to Unrelated Undergraduate Degree Holders
3 (More) Grad Degrees Available to Unrelated Undergraduate Degree Holders
I’m a Student Ambassador (and an MBA Student) — Here’s My Story
I’m a Student Ambassador (and an MBA Student) — Here’s My Story
3 Ways Women Can Thrive in Male-Dominated Fields

Student Testimonial

Karino Layli Menking Image

Korina Layli Menking-Hoggatt

Ph.D. in Forensic & Investigative Science Student

Tell me a little about yourself. What’s your name and age?

My name is Korina Layli Menking- Hoggatt, and I’m 32 years old. I was born in Dallas, Texas and raised in Charleston, WV. I am the oldest of 3 children, my brother is 6 years younger and my sister is 10 years younger, so I have spent my whole life being the older sister and a role model.

It was only when I became older that I thought of myself as a leader and noticed how much influence my actions have on my siblings and others.

Where/when, and in what did you graduate with your bachelor’s degree?

I graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from West Virginia State University in 2009.

When did you graduate with your master’s degree?

I completed my graduate degree in Forensic & Investigative Science in the fall of 2017.

What degree are you currently pursuing at WVU?

I’m pursuing my Ph.D. in Forensic & Investigative Science.

What caused you to change direction and pursue an unrelated degree in graduate school?

l always wanted to be within the forensic field, but the path to medical school to become a forensic pathologist was not meant for me, and I wanted to stay in the state of West Virginia while I pursued my degrees.

I reached out the Department of Forensic & Investigative Science at WVU, and by talking to an academic advisor, I realized that this was the path I was meant to be on!

How did your bachelor’s degree prepare you to pursue an unrelated grad degree?

From my research, back in the day, I knew I needed a STEM path.

Chemistry provided instrumentation and analytical techniques that would compliment the later research I hoped to do.

How has WVU helped you to successfully navigate the admissions process?

My advisor has been involved and able to give my nontraditional situation the attention it needed.

What is your favorite thing about WVU?

My favorite thing about WVU is being a part of the positive image of the state of West Virginia. We are a truly unique state with wonderful opportunities and a resilient spirit.

Graduation Hat
People walking on the school Hall way
Two girls having a discussion in a conference room

Check Out Our Other Downloadable Guides

Download everything you need to know about applying to graduate school at wvu
Download guide to research based programs at west virginia university
Download guide to graduate assistantships at west virginia university
A guide to financing graduate school
The ROI of a graduate business degree a cost benefit analysis of pursuing an advanced degree
A guide on if when and where to go to graduate school
The gre cheat sheet a guide to acing the gre
College of business and economics faqs

Connect With Us

WVU’s Admissions professionals hope that this guide has been helpful in informing you of the various academic options here at WVU.

Here’s a bit more information on West Virginia University as an institution: West Virginia University is located in beautiful Morgantown, WV, a community noted for its central location near Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and New York City. Founded in 1867 as a land-grant institution, WVU promises to “… deliver high-quality education, excel in discovery and innovation, model a culture of diversity and inclusion, promote health and vitality, and build pathways for the exchange of knowledge and opportunity between the state, the nation, and the world.”

The stimulating graduate community of scholar-teachers and passionate learners at WVU creates an environment that welcomes your desire to grow, to learn, and to add to the growing body of knowledge in your field. As a WVU graduate learner, you engage in internationally recognized academic programs.

If you want more information about graduate admission requirements, financial aid, or to learn more about the graduate application process, visit WVU’s Office of Graduate Admissions & Recruitment website.

If you’re ready to apply to WVU, we invite you to click on the button below and start your application! You can also request more info or check out our graduate resource library!

Request More Information
Resource Library

Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment
West Virginia University
Phone: 304-293-5980 Fax:304-293-1147

WVU Online
150 Clay Street
Morgantown, WV 26506