Students interested in demonstrating ‘mastery’ of a discipline can browse an extensive directory of accredited Masters Degree programs on GradSchools.com. The master’s degree dates back to the origin of European universities that viewed individuals who were awarded a Masters degree as teachers[i]. The modern day graduate student can cultivate mastership of science (Master of Science), art (Master of Art), business administration (Master of Business Administration), fine arts (Master of Fine Arts) as well as a host of other disciplines from architecture (Master of Architecture) to education (Master of Education) and engineering (Master of Engineering). If you get the impression that you may be in for professional development and cultivating more expertise in your field of study, these are only a few reasons to consider earning a Master’s degree.
What is a Masters Degree?
A Masters degree is a second-cycle academic degree and the first level of graduate study. To apply into a Master’s degree program typically requires an undergraduate degree – a Bachelor’s degree. Some graduate schools do have combined Bachelor’s/Master’s programs; the Bachelor of Science to Master of Science (BSN-MSN) is one example. These can take about 5 years to complete. Otherwise these degrees are done separately.
DID YOU KNOW? Securities, commodities and financial service agents workers who had a master’s degree earned nearly 90% higher wages than workers with a Bachelor’s degree[ii].
How Long Does it Take to Get a Master’s Degree?
In terms of how long a Master’s program can take, it varies between one and two years of full-time study. This may entail completing around 36 to 54 semester credits or 60 to 90 quarter semester credits; equivalent to about 12 to 18 graduate-level courses. Of course, program lengths and course requirements vary by school.
Potential Features of Masters Degree Programs
- Advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and practical topics
- Highly developed skills in analysis and critical thinking
- Understanding of professional application of their subject matter
- Ability to solve complex problems
- Independent thinking
While Masters programs vary in scope, these capabilities might be achieved through rigorous coursework, a thesis paper or final project, an internship or supervised practicum, exams and case studies.