Virginia Campus Masters Programs | Graduate Schools
Many accredited universities and colleges offer masters programs in residential, or on-campus formats. Students choose to earn a master’s degree for many reasons including the education demands of certain fields[i], the potential for increase in earning[ii] and continued education. These factors may be why the number of master’s degrees conferred rose by 34% from the years 2003-4 to 2013-14.[iii]With the variety of master’s programs to choose from, there are different elements to consider when choosing a graduate school, as well as different types of master’s degree programs to acquaint yourself with.
Masters Programs: Essentials
Masters programs often require 1 to 2-years of study beyond the Bachelor’s degree, although some universities offer a blended Bachelor’s-Master’s which may affect the duration, and program lengths and course requirements vary by school. Considered ‘higher education’, earning a master’s degree may entail:
- Conducting research; learning research methodology
- Learning theory and practical applications of your subject
- Advanced problem-solving
- Critical analysis
- Writing a thesis paper
- Internship or supervised practicum
- Choosing a concentration area
DID YOU KNOW? Of the 754,500 master’s degrees conferred in 2013–14, nearly half were concentrated in two fields: business (25 %) and education (20 %). The three fields in which the next largest percentages of master’s degrees were conferred were health professions and related programs (13 %), public administration and social services (6 %), and engineering (6 %)[iv].
Why Earn Your Master’s Degree on Campus?
Choosing a university or college with a residential or campus masters program instead of opting for online may offer some great feautures:
- Access to student services (tutoring, library services, career counseling)
- Onsite facilities (laboratories, libraries, sports)
- Activities and Associations (join, participate)
- Quality of faculty may be experienced on campus than online
- Foster relationships, grow networks
- Face-to-face interactions with professors
- Human-centered fields may have in-person courses
- You may have more choices for courses
Choose a Master’s Degree Program: Subject Selection
Historically, the term “master” has meant “mastery”[v] and one can find masters programs in many academic subjects. One thing to consider is what your ideal career outcome (e.g. research or management?) is. You want to work towards a master’s degree that supports these goals, or is a platform to a doctorate degree. GradSchools.com has an extensive directory of sponsored listings. Look under the major headings for sub categories:
- Business Masters Programs (e.g. on campus MBA, Master of Taxation)
- Criminal Justice and Legal Masters Programs (e.g. on campus Master of Science in Criminal Justice)
- Education Masters Programs (e.g. on campus Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction, MA School Administration)
- Fine Arts and Design Masters Programs ( e.g. on campus MFA Film Production, Master of Music)
- Health and Medicine Masters Programs (e.g. on campus Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia, MSN, MA Biomedical Sciences)
- Liberal Arts and Humanities Masters Programs (e.g. on campus MS in Journalism, MA Liberal Arts)
- Math, Science and Engineering Masters Programs (eg. on campus Professional Science Master in Biotechnology, MS Systems Engineering, Master of Science in Mathematics)
- Public Affairs and Social Sciences (e.g. on campus Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling, MPA, Master of Social Work)
- Religious Studies Masters Programs (e.g. on campus Master of Religious Studies, Master of Divinity)
- Technology Masters Programs on campus (e.g. on campus Master of Science in Computer Science, Master of Science in Information Technology)
Types of Master’s Degree Options: MS-MA-MPS-MBA-MFA-MEd-MPA
Once you have a sense of your potential career path(s) and you are involved in your search, you may notice that different types of masters programs are offered. This will show up in the ‘type’ of master degree as each option tends to have a specific orientation which is going to be reflected in course content and curriculum as well as whether you have a thesis option or not. Once you know what you are looking for, you can filter your search for graduate schools even more. Broadly, a few of the main variations in masters programs are:
Master of Science Degree (MS)
A master of science is commonly awarded in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics fields; sometimes economics and social sciences are included. In some cases, the MS has a stronger research component and may involve more computer or statistics courses.
Master of Arts Degree (MA)
A master of arts is commonly awarded in the arts and social sciences such as education, languages, literature. Instruction is often via lectures and seminars.
Master of Professional Studies (PSM)
A professional master’s degree is usually an interdisciplinary type of master program with courses that could draw from technical, practical and industry-specific business courses.
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
A master of business administration is designed to provide students with the broad training in core aspects of business and is often combined with a specialization to tailor the degree to a specific interest.
Master of Public Administration (MPA)
A master of public administration is a similar to the MBA but with a focus of public policy, the public sector, international administration and policy analysis. Related degrees are the Master of Public Policy (MPP), Master of Public Affairs (MPA), Master of Public Health (MPH).
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
A master of fine arts is a professional master’s degree that is usually awarded in the visual, performing and studio arts such as creative writing, graphic design filmmaking and theatre.
Master of Education (MEd)
A master of education degree prepares students to pursue certification or provides already certified teachers with a graduate degree which may be necessary for specialized fields in education such as administration or special education.
Find a Graduate School with Masters Programs
Once you have found the type of masters programs you want to apply to – there may be more than one – you could look for a graduate school that might meet these academic preferences. You can find accredited universities and colleges by conducting a location search for campus programs by city, state or country. It is a good idea, if you are able, to visit your choice grad schools to get a sense of its community and see if it is a fit. Some campuses are in large urban areas and major cities, others in smaller towns.
Take the Next Step
We recommend that you contact the schools with the ‘request info’ setting. This starts a dialogue, and fills you in on some of the important details such as curriculum, enrollment requirements, and of course, deadlines. With masters programs available in many disciplines, concentration areas and locations, finding a master’s degree program that might take your forward personally and professionally is at your fingertips on GradSchools.com.
- Arlington, VAArlington, VA
The M.S. in Health Care Management trains students for a career in health care by integrating core business skills with specialized training in the characteristics that are unique to the health care environment. The program promotes service contribution...
- Arlington, VA
- Norfolk, VANorfolk, VA
Old Dominion University
These three programs are intended to provide theoretical and practical education for those seeking administrative positions in colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad in a variety of areas. The PhD is also intended to provide education for thos...
- Norfolk, VA
- Fairfax, VAFairfax, VA
Missouri State University
Designed to provide professional, graduate level academic education and training for students planning careers in the fields of national security policy, international security affairs, defense analysis, arms control, and education. In essence, this is...
- Richmond, VARichmond, VA
Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education
The first masters programs train pastors, educators, and scholars for the church. They require a Bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university. The Ph.D., and Th.M. require an appropriate masters degree. The M.A.C.E. program offer...
- Richmond, VA
- Sweet Briar, VASweet Briar, VA
Sweet Briar College
Our MAT program consists of 30 credit hours, including student teaching and a research project. Classes convene in the summer with three mini-courses...
- Roanoke, VARoanoke, VA
Jefferson College of Health Sciences
- Sterling, VASterling, VA
American Medical Student Association
Salud program for medical Spanish study, offered each summer at different Latin American sites. Endorsed by AMSA.
- Annandale, VAAnnandale, VA
IGlobal University offers you both diversity and expertise. Our MBA program has 15 different concentration to choose from.
- Charlottesville, VACharlottesville, VA
Institute of Textile Technology
The core curriculum provides a common comprehensive view of textile technology and the techniques that are used to manage technology in the industry.
- Richmond, VARichmond, VA
Virginia Union University
- Norfolk, VANorfolk, VA
A specialized professional program designed to offer the student an opportunity to obtain proficiency in contemporary human resource management topics...
- Annandale, VAAnnandale, VA
University of Northern Virginia
The mission of the School of Management is to foster intellectual curiosity, business insight, management and administrative acumen, and effective leadership through high quality instruction, and outreach. The academic programs of the school integrate a...
- Annandale, VA
- Vienna, VAVienna, VA
University of the Potomac
The MHA program is a very focused version of our strong MBA program which focuses specifically on the knowledge and leadership skills needed to manage and lead in the healthcare industry.
- Vienna, VA
- Harrisonburg, VAHarrisonburg, VA
James Madison University
The School of Communication Studies promotes an academic environment in which students, faculty and staff develop innovative communication practices and fa...
- Harrisonburg, VA