Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To Get A Masters Degree For Free (O.K. for Pennies)

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World
How To Get A Masters Degree in International Studies For Pennies.

I got this information from a great little book called, "The Art of Non-Comformity/ Set Your Own Rules/ Live The Life You Want and Change The World" by Chris Guillebeau

Chris claims that he wasted $32,000 on a graduate degree in International studies. International studies is a great field and a great life path, but the degree ($32,000 piece of paper) is not. The educational path for International studies is extremely useful in order to learn about social issues around the world and hopefully motivate the student to make a difference.

However, Chris claims that the degree itself (the piece of paper) is worthless and anyone can work in this field without a degree. He says that he could have received the same graduate school experience by doing the following (and you can too):

The One-Year, Self-Directed, Alternative Graduate School Experience

1. Subscribe to the Economist and read every issue religiously. (Cost $97 per year)

2. Memorize the names of every country, world capital, and current president or prime minister in the world. Free.

3. Buy a round the world plane ticket to travel to several major world regions, including somewhere in Africa and somewhere in Asia  (cost: $4,000 approx. See resources for this here)

4. Read the basic texts of the major world religions: the Torah, the New Testament, the Koran, and the teachings of Buddha. Visit a church, a mosque, a synagogue, and a temple. Cost: materials can be obtained free online or in the mail.

5. Subscribe to a language-learning podcast and listen to each 20-minute episode, five times a week, for the entire year. Attend a local language club once a week to practice. Free.

6. Loan money to an entrepreneur through and arrange to visit him or her while you're abroad on your big trip. Free (Kiva loans are repaid).

7. Acquire or try out at least three new skills during your year. Suggestions: photography, skydiving, computer programming, martial arts. Cost: variable.

8. Read at least 30 nonfiction books and 20 classic novels. Free at the library or at or buy used. I also just learned of a site called: BooksFree . It's like Netflix, but for books. Looks kind of awesome.

9. Join a gym or health club to keep fit during your rigorous independent studies. (Most universities include access to their fitness centers with the purchase of $32,000 in tuition, so you'll need to pay for this on your own otherwise.) Cost $25 a month.

10. Become comfortable with basic presentation and public speaking sills. Join your local Toastmasters club to get constructive, structured help that is beginner-friendly. Cost $25 once.

11. Start a blog, create a basic posting schedule, and stick with it for the entire year. You can get a free blog at or

12. Set your home page to;Randompage
Over the next year, every time you open your browser, you'll see a different, random Wikpedia page. Read it. Free.

13. Learn to write by listening to the Grammar Girl podcast on iTunes and buying Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

14. Instead of reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, read The Know it All by A. J. Jacobs, a good summary.

Total Cost: Significantly less then $32,000 tuition.


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