By Ann van der Merwe, November 2013
Any graduate degree that helps you pursue a career in your desired field or helps to improve your skills and expertise may be something you consider useful. And, if your career goals fall within a specific industry, you can probably pursue an advanced degree in a field of study related to that industry with the confidence that the additional education may enhance your ability to perform your job duties. While there are many benefits to earning a graduate degree with a specific career path in mind, there are some degrees that may be useful across a variety of disciplines and industries.These degrees may enable those who earn them to pursue an unusually wide range of career.Some examples of these types of graduate degrees might include a master’s degree in statistics, a master’s degree in computer science, a master’s degree in project management, or an MBA.
Individuals who earn a master’s degree in statistics are exposed to coursework focused on capturing and evaluating data. People with this degree may be able to apply their skills across an unlimited number of industries. Individual’s with the ability to synthesize data and use that information to make informed decisions might easily pursue careers in such diverse industries as government, education, business, and scientific research. For this reason, a graduate degree in statistics might be an excellent complement to a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.
As individuals and companies continue to increase their reliance on computers to perform their daily tasks the more valuable a person’s ability to design, repair, set up and manage complex computer systems may become. Therefore a master’s degree in computer science might also prove valuable in many growing industries including; education, entertainment, health care, or business.
Virtually every company or organization needs a person who is able to conceptualize, organize, and implement a project in a timely and cost effective manner. Enter the study of project management. Project managers who are able to lead diverse teams may have opportunities to work in the field of their choice, or even participate in projects in a number of different specializations throughout their career.
An MBA can be useful in a number of professions. While the degree is most often associated with business-specific disciplines such as finance or marketing, many people with backgrounds in other fields such as engineering might choose to earn an MBA in order to gain managerial skills that might help them take on a leadership role.
If having career flexibility is important to you, you need to think about how you might be able to use the skills you gain by earning a graduate degree. Look at the courses required for the degree and identify jobs they might help you do. Also, figure out any other general skills you will gain through the experience of graduate study – such as teaching or research, for example – and consider how they might contribute to different career paths. Then, you can determine the most useful graduate degree for you.
About the Author: Ann van der Merwe is a singer and music historian based in southwest Ohio. She holds a B.M. in music performance and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in music history.