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Suffolk’s Commitment to Diversity Creates Opportunity for Students

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Suffolk’s Commitment to Diversity Creates Opportunity for Students

(Article provided by advertiser for a special Career Advertorial Section in the Banner this week)

Suffolk University’s location in the heart of downtown Boston says a lot about the school. A few steps from the golden-domed Massachusetts State house and a short walk to one of the world’s leading financial districts, Suffolk sits at the intersection of government, business, education and technology. Students are literally surrounded by opportunity.

Just as important, Suffolk is one short block from the MBTA’s Park Street station, the symbolic hub of the city’s transportation system. Almost 9,600 undergraduate and graduate students converge on the Suffolk campus from every neighborhood in the metropolitan area, from across the country and from more than 95 nations around the world. The faces of Suffolk reflect true diversity — in race, ethnicity and religion, as well as economic, educational and career backgrounds.  “Suffolk is a university of opportunity for all,” says Judy Reynolds, Suffolk’s director of graduate admission. “Every application we receive is absolutely unique. Every student has his or her own strengths, interests and goals. It is a privilege for us to help them move to the next level, whatever that may be.”

Flexible choices

Recognizing the diversity of the student population, flexibility is a core value in Suffolk’s graduate degree programs. Curricula and degree options are designed to accommodate students at different points in their careers — recent college graduates, mid-career professionals who seek additional academic credentials to advance in their field and working adults excited to explore completely new career directions.

Students can pursue degrees at their own pace through Suffolk’s full- and part-time schedules. And with most courses offered in the evening, working students can balance the demands of career and education.

More than 70 graduate degrees are offered through Suffolk’s College of Arts and Sciences and Sawyer Business School. Degree opportunities range from education and computer science to economics and political science; from ethics to crime and justice studies. The business school offers several MBA options, plus more focused degrees in finance, public administration, healthcare administration, taxation and accounting.

With the exception of the Ph.D. programs, applicants for graduate degrees need not have undergraduate degrees in the same discipline. For instance, an applicant with a degree in business or sociology can pursue an education degree and a new career as a teacher. Students who do hold undergraduate degrees in the same field are often able to reduce the number of courses and length of time required to complete their studies. Many applicants are surprised to find that standardized test scores are not required for application to some of Suffolk’s graduate degree programs.

Extensive financial assistance

Attracting talented students to Suffolk is a priority for the school. This goal is expressed in many ways, including scholarships and financial assistance programs. Both merit and need-based funds are available. Loans are available for all degree programs. Suffolk is a direct lender and participates in all forms of federal financial aid.

“We understand financial aid is a major concern for all students,” Reynolds says, “so we do everything we can to provide assistance. And our location and flexible scheduling make it easier for students to take classes while working full- or part-time.”

Once on campus at Suffolk, students find a wide range of organizations and resources. Student-run organizations, including the Black Student Union, Asian-American Association, Caribbean Student Network, and Hispanic Association, promote community, foster cross-cultural communication and organize campus events.

Exceptional outcomes

Diversity is nothing new to Suffolk. The university was founded more than a century ago as a part-time evening law school. Today Suffolk serves as a springboard for students pursuing their dreams in many different fields — in large international firms, small businesses, entrepreneurial enterprises, as well as government, schools and non-profit organizations.

The career of Timothy Armitage demonstrates the exciting and rewarding doors a Suffolk degree can open. Armitage earned and MS in international economics in 2005. During his time at Suffolk, he interned at the Beacon Hill Institute, a policy think tank, and at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Armitage is now applying his skills on a global level. As an analyst for Global Insight, an economic research firm, he studies the sub-Saharan African economies and provides forecasts of economic conditions in the region.

Catherine Headen provides another example. She earned her M.A. in Graphic Design in 2008. She is now lead designer at Gazelle, a company headquartered in Allston. “There’s so much flexibility in what you can do,” Headen says. “Instead of saying,  This is what you have to do,’ professors ask, ‘Where would you like to go with your work?’”

Other recent graduates now work at Microsoft, Procter and Gamble, Boston Public Schools, Fidelity Investments, Pfizer, Liberty Mutual and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Expansive alumni network

Armitage and Headen turned their academic pursuits into satisfying careers. Suffolk strives to guide students during this important transition from school to work. Suffolk’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education offers extensive assistance to students in skills assessment, job search, interviewing, networking, and other elements of advancing one’s career. In addition, students benefit from a dynamic and helpful alumni network. With tens of thousands of Suffolk alumni in Boston and other major cities across the country and world, both undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to learn from alumni working in different fields and to make valuable contacts in the sector of their choice.

The Suffolk faculty is another excellent resource for career-related information and networking as many faculty members are also active practitioners who work by day and teach in the evening. In addition, many programs offer internships that provide practical working experience and helpful contacts.

Learn more about Suffolk

To learn more about Suffolk’s graduate programs, visit www.suffolk.edu, or attend the next Graduate Information Session on Feb. 4, 2010 at 6:30pm at the Omni Parker House Hotel, Boston. To reserve your place, contact the Graduate Admission Office at 617.573.8302 or grad.admission@suffolk.edu.

Suffolk University participates in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, designed for undergraduates who are either first-generation and low-income college students or from groups who are underrepresented at the doctoral level. The McNair Scholars program encourages graduate studies by providing opportunities for undergraduates to define their goals, engage in research and develop the skills and student/faculty mentor relationships critical to success at the doctoral level. The McNair program was established by the U.S. Department of Education and named for astronaut and Challenger space shuttle crew member Ronald McNair.