10 Top Reasons to Choose SJSU for Grad School

Deciding to continue your graduate education is a big step to take. Once you decide that you do, you have an even bigger question to answer – which school should I choose? The choice can be easier than you think – join our spartan community at San José State University. 

SJSU is right in the heart of the most interesting and vibrant professional area in the world – Silicon Valley. Being involved in research and innovation here means being involved in changing the world. We are in the heart and soul of change. There is no better place to make a difference, make connections and grow. You won’t find  another public college in the center of the action – and actively involved in it. 

SJSU offers students transformational opportunities both personal and professional. Take a look at our top 10 reasons why Grad School at SJSU is just the right choice for you and an excellent opportunity to advance your knowledge and succeed professionally

2022 College of Health and Human Sciences Commencement.

1. Over 120 programs to choose from 

SJSU has so much to offer. We have over 120 graduate programs. You will find the program just right for you – no matter the area of your interest. 

Learn more about all the Graduate Programs offered by SJSU: Graduate Programs 

2. SJSU – #1 Most Transformative University  

Let us brag a little. San Jose State University was named the #1 Most Transformative University by Money Magazine. For years now, SJSU has been placing on the top positions in many national rankings. 

Check out more about our achievements: Accomplishments 

3. Research Opportunities

Graduate education is a door to research.

SJSU offers all necessary resources, funding and mentorship. If interested, students have an opportunity to enter their research in multiple competitions – like an annual Grad Slam.

This year SJSU celebrated an inaugural “Research Week” – a week dedicated to exhibit and bring attention to faculty-, and student-led research projects. Great way to show off your dedication, connect with other scholars and get inspired.  

Learn more about research at SJSU: Research 

4. Location 

If the fact of attending a good, widely recognized school is not enough, consider our location. 

Let’s not forget about the other aspect of the location – Bay Area is simply the place to be. You will never be bored.. Explore beautiful San Francisco, visit historical sites, go to the beach, go hiking or camping, enjoy national parks within a couple hours away. Possibilities are endless. 

5. Events 

San Jose State hosts hundreds of events. You will have a chance to take part in professional events closely related to your area of study, general events supporting research in all the departments, job fairs, meeting with alumni, networking events with local employers, and finally many fun social meetings to connect with your peers. We know how important networking is, so we will make sure to give you time and space to do so.

Learn more about the events: Events

6. Funding opportunities 

San José State University offers many ways to support financing your education – scholarships, awards, fellowships. Additionally, Office of Research and Innovation has many opportunities to support you in your research endeavors. 

Read more about your financing options: Funding Opportunities

7. Vibrant community 

San José State is a diverse and vibrant community. Saying that SJSU is a one big Spartan Family is not an over exaggeration. We really are like a family here. Our campus is always alive and in action. You will have many opportunities to connect with people, take a break from studying and have some fun. 

Learn more about community: Campus Life

8. Campus resources

San José State University provides students with all the resources they need to succeed in their academic journey. An amazing library that really is “more than just a library,” Writing Center, Tutoring, Advising, Career Center–these are just a few of many. 

San José State University makes sure you are taken care of and feel good – physically and mentally. You can seek advice from a counselor at our Wellness Center, work out at the Recreation Center, get financial or housing assistance, and much more. Feeling a bit lonely – connect with people. 

Learn more: Resources

9. Student organizations 

Want to connect with people who like the same thing you do? Do you have a hobby but nobody to share it with? Maybe you just need a bit of peer support in your academic journey? You will find all these people in dozens of student-run clubs and organizations. 

If somehow you can’t find an organization focused around your area of interest – start a new one and meet people just like you. 

10. Partnerships with local companies 

We already mentioned that San José State University is in the very center of what’s going on in Silicon Valley. We work closely with some of the most important local companies and promising startups to make sure that after graduation your door to a successful career is open. 

Learn more about some of our: Partnerships

Need more? 

If you are not convinced yet, come and see San Jose State in person! Meet our students, alumni and faculty; and listen to their success story. You will really have no doubts San Jose State University is just the right place for you to proceed with your Graduate Education. 

We can’t wait to see you on campus! 

The M.S. Statistics Program at SJSU is Opening Doors for its Graduates

pictures of students

From left to right: Hung Tong (21′ M.S., Statistics), Jimmy Nguyen (20′ M.S., Statistics), Madhumita Roy (19′ M.S., Statistics), Mary Keonouphet (19′ M.S., Statistics), Jeffrey Lee (18′ M.S., Statistics).

We recently had the pleasure to speak with a few graduates of the M.S. Statistics program about their experience at San José State University. In our conversation, key features stood out that highlight the wonderful opportunities their program offers. The M.S. Statistics program allowed them to gain research experience, gave them a sense of community and belonging, and helped them build connections that led to their career. 

Research Experience Opportunities 

The Statistics program at SJSU offers unique research opportunities for its students. When I spoke with Hung Tong, he mentioned that he was able to complete two research projects and had two journal publications while in his program:

“During my studies, I was able to complete two research projects on developing new cluster analysis methods for data sets with outliers and missing values, which then resulted into presentations at the workshop Models and Learning in Clustering and Classification in Catania, Italy (one online in 2020 due to COVID and one in-person in 2022) and two journal publications.”

Mary Keonouphet also received hands-on experience, which she spoke to me about, “I personally chose to collaborate with a faculty member on a research project, which turned out to be a wonderful learning experience and helped me build rapport with an expert in the field.

Community and Belonging at SJSU

Two students, Madhumita Roy and Hung Tong highlighted the support, the community they built, and why SJSU was the right choice for them.

Madhumita Roy, said “The department was extremely supportive when my friends and I founded the data science club. They provided us with access to resources and helped us host club meetings. The department’s support and encouragement played a crucial role in my success and development during my time at SJSU.”

Hung Tong said, “If I had to choose again, I would definitely choose SJSU again. Despite being located in a high-cost-of-living city, SJSU is very affordable and offers great teaching quality. I probably wouldn’t have been able to get into a doctoral program without all the guidance, support, and time investment from the faculty here. After the program, I really found myself more mature in terms of knowledge, research interests, and career goals.” 

Connections in the Bay Area

Both Madhumita Roy and Jeffrey Lee spoke about the benefits of SJSU’s location, which allowed them both to network with professionals all over the Bay Area, and led to potential job opportunities. 

Jeffrey mentioned how SJSU’s location was vital for the connections he made, “SJSU’s location benefited me in that it was feasible to network with professionals, as well as, students from other schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and to continue building up relationships with my professors and classmates at SJSU. This included networking at professional conferences in the Bay Area, student clubs within SJSU, and clubs at other colleges. Some of the connections I made directly impacted my career and led me to my actuarial internships as well as a full time actuarial job.”

Madhumita spoke about the individual connections she made, “Attending SJSU provided me with the opportunity to make great connections with individuals in the data field, many of whom I still keep in touch with today. These personal connections have been valuable resources for me in terms of getting advice, learning about new trends and developments in the field, and even potential job opportunities.” 

What are Statistics Graduates up to?

Graduates of the M.S. Statistics Program have landed careers in various fields and gone on to pursue a Ph.D. 

Here’s a snapshot of their life after graduation:

  • Madhumita Roy (19′) currently works as a Data Scientist at Rec Room, a fast-growing VR gaming startup.
  • Jimmy Nguyen (20′) works as a Senior Data Scientist at LinkedIn.
  • Hung Tong (21′) went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Applied Statistics at The University of Alabama. 
  • Jeffrey Lee (18′) is an Actuarial Analyst at State Compensation Insurance Fund. 
  • Mary Keonophet (22′) is a Data Analyst at International Rectifier.

The M.S. Statistics program and SJSU gave these graduates real-life experience, connections, and a community which opened the door to many opportunities. 

Master of Chemical Engineering Graduate Student, Jinann Alzaghari, and her Transformative SJSU Experience

jinann smiling

Jinann Alzaghari (23′ M.S., Chemical Engineering)

Jinann Alzaghari has called SJSU her home since her undergraduate years. Now, a current graduate student, Alzaghari details how the university has shaped her personal and educational journey. 

Choosing to continue her graduate education at SJSU was an easy decision for Alzaghari, “I chose to study at SJSU specifically because of my relationships with the professors. The smaller class sizes allowed me to form close connections with them, which has proven to be very beneficial in my time at SJSU. For example, the industry connections that my professors have has helped me obtain internship opportunities and work toward my career goals.” It was her positive undergraduate experience that solidified her decision to apply to the Master of Chemical Engineering program to invest in her education, further her knowledge, and develop her research skills.

Community, Belonging and Research at SJSU

SJSU offers a plethora of resources and valuable connections that help students throughout their education, as well as organizations that help provide a sense of community and belonging. 

“My involvement in student organizations such as the Muslim Student Association and American Institute of Chemical Engineers has allowed me to dedicate time to my social life and form a community of peers with similar interests and aspirations.” For Alzaghari, these resources and organizations are what allowed her to “grow holistically.” 

The Master in Chemical Engineering program offers students the opportunity to develop their research skills in laboratories, which is one of the reasons Alzaghari chose the chemical engineering program. Alzagahri’s interests currently lies in “conducting research in the field of carbon capture and storage, with the goal of optimizing techniques to reverse greenhouse gas emissions and combat the effects of climate change.”

After graduating this spring, Alzaghari hopes to continue using and developing her research skills in the field of carbon capture at a start-up in the Bay Area. SJSU gave her the resources she needed and we cannot wait to see what she will accomplish.

Lucia Znamirowski: Current Graduate Student Making an Impact in Research

At San José State University, research is at the forefront. Our graduate students have opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research that speaks directly to each student’s passion.

Lucia Znamirowski is a current graduate student studying a Master of Fine Arts in Pictorial Art. She spoke to us about two research projects she has been involved with and how SJSU professors have made a meaningful impact throughout her graduate education.

Lucia was involved in a two-year research project, titled: “The San Jose Story Map Project.” This research project, she tells us, “aims to use the power of stories to reveal San José in a new and different light,” as well as highlight the history and culture of San José. Not only was she able to work with professors Rhonda Holberton and Revathi Krishnaswamy, but in this project she was able to take a role as a Project Manager, an opportunity that allowed her to be the lead, and work more closely with the professors and project.

Lucia calls another research project she was part of particularly insightful, “The Future Farmers exhibition: Bones, Tones, and Phones.” The show was produced as part of a month-long residency at SJSU, which she says, “aims to engage geologists, ceramicists, sound artists, printmakers, and the SJSU marching band, in a series of explorations and actions focused on soil.” The two soils they looked at were: “Corcoran clay from the San Joaquin Valley, which bears evidence of the agricultural history of the Central Valley and the current reality of drought across the state, and a JSC-1A Lunar Soil Simulant, a volcanic ash whose chemical composition closely resembles lunar soil, which proposes the possibility of life beyond earth.” She worked closely with Shaun O’dell on this project as a graduate print assistant. 

We asked Lucia why taking part in these research projects was imperative for her graduate studies, and she said, “working closely with artists and assisting on projects has been an invaluable resource to my practice as an Artist.”


What excites Lucia the most about her research and her SJSU program is “the professors. Working with professors, such as Rhonda Holberton, has pushed me into a generative environment to create my thesis. The support I received was through working on projects at SJSU and creating curriculum for new classes in the art department.” Because she is a current teacher, her tuition was waived, which is another reason why she chose SJSU.

“The professors at SJSU have allowed me to peek behind the curtain and they’ve continued to mentor me as I begin to transition out of SJSU,” Lucia said. As for her next steps after completing her degree, Lucia said she is open to all possibilities. By participating in research, graduate students are given the opportunity to transform not only their lives, but on a local and global level, too, and Lucia was able to do that.

Two Global Criminology Graduate Students Making a Difference in the Community

The Master of Science in Criminology graduate program at SJSU brings students from all walks of life and for various reasons –although sometimes, those reasons overlap. This is what happened with two recent graduates Mayra Lopez and Carina Fonseca, who are both working towards bettering their communities.

Carina Fonseca | Alumni, Master of Science in Criminology ’22

headshot of carina fonseca

Carina Fonseca

For Carina Fonseca, earning a graduate degree in Global Criminology was rooted in part from her desire to understand the criminal justice system at a deeper level, and to better understand the United State’s place in criminology, globally.

Carina says that she was able to put her degree into practice right in her own community, “the program has given great insight surrounding the school-to-prison pipeline. With this, I have been able to look for small, but mighty ways to make an impact among the youth in my hometown and the larger city of Fresno. For example, my partner and I have the pleasure of hosting Back to School drives which includes barbering services. A fresh haircut may not be much, but we believe it can make all the difference when embarking on a new educational journey.”

Carina’s goal after graduation was to work in the probation department, and just a few months after she graduated, she accomplished it and now works as a Probation Officer. Stating how her degree allowed her to obtain this job in a competitive field, she says, “I believe obtaining a graduate degree placed me alongside those qualified candidates that have a plethora of background experience.” 

When we asked Carina if she had advice for future graduate students, she shared some words of wisdom, “my best recommendations would be to not read into things, trust your gut feelings and always remain positive. Do not adapt to one single way of operating, but instead, adopt small methods and mold them into what works best for you. Copying another’s time management plan may not work seamlessly for another. As a student, you know yourself best, do what works for you. When in doubt, reach out to your peers; ideally your peers may be having the same concerns.”

Mayra Lopez| Alumni, Master of Science in Criminology ’22

marya lopez with her two sons

Mayra Lopez with her sons

For Mayra Lopez, obtaining a master’s degree in Global Criminology was also rooted in her passion for justice studies, but it was her experience working with the homeless immigrant population in Santa Clara County that pushed her to obtain her degree. Her two sons were her inspiration and motive for completing her degree, noting, “being the first and only one in my family to obtain a master’s degree, I wanted to begin to pave the path for the future of my two sons. My sons are why I continue to work hard to obtain my dream job and to one day create a federal database for migrant deaths.” 

Mayra’s advice to students interested in Global Criminology is, “[to go for it.] The program is not hard; it is up to the student how complicated they want to make it on themselves. If you are interested in Global Criminology or Justice Studies and are passionate about a specific topic, you will enjoy the program.” She notes that her student success was also due in part to the professors who were supportive, and were there to help her understand the course topics. As for her future plans, Mayra hopes to pursue a Doctorate degree.


Both Carina and Mayra noted the flexibility and format of the program as one of the top reasons for choosing SJSU.

Carina says, “I chose SJSU mainly because of the accessibility and format of the program. Not only did I understand what was expected from the beginning but there was not any room for confusion. Many of us in the program have families and with a family, education is not an easy feat. SJSU understands real life. SJSU wants you to succeed.” 

Mayra says, “I chose to attend SJSU because the Master’s degree in Global Criminology was completely online, and it worked perfectly with my busy life as a mother, wife, and professional. SJSU will always have a special place in my heart. During my undergraduate, I had my first son, and being able to enroll my son at the Child Development Center, allowed me to graduate on time. SJSU has excellent resources for everyone and everything. I enjoyed going to the writing center to get help, and they always gave the best feedback[…] SJSU was a fantastic experience, and I am proud to have attended. I am a proud Spartan.