A Master’s Degree is a second-cycle academic degree and the first level of graduate study. An undergraduate degree (bachelor's degree) is ...
typically required to apply into a Master Degree program, although some programs offer a combined bachelor's to master’s program. Students usually obtain a master's degree to further their studies in a specialty area and can expect to earn their degree in 1-2 years depending on the program type.
Students interested in earning a master's degree can browse an extensive directory of accredited Masters Degree programs on GradSchools.com. There are many types of master degree programs offered by category including:
Many master degree programs are offered in a more specialized or disciplined field of study. Students may select masters programs by subject, and in some cases, specialties. Professional development, cultivating more expertise in your field of study, and potentially earning a salary increase, are a few reasons many students consider earning a masters degree.
DID YOU KNOW?
Securities, commodities and financial service agents workers who had a masters degree earned nearly 90% higher wages than workers with a Bachelor’s degree.i
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.
The basic premise behind earning a Master’s degree is that the student has achieved a “high-order overview” of their academic discipline. This could involve the following.
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.
Masters degrees may be awarded in different categories and often focus on a single specialty area. Some examples of masters degree programs are listed below.
The Master of Science (MS, MSc, MSci or SciM)[v] is a type of masters degree that is typically awarded in the sciences, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematical subjects such as computer science and analytics. Generally, an M.S. degree takes 2 years of full time study and requires a thesis or research project. Admission to M.S. programs is usually contingent on the applicant having previously obtained their Bachelor’s degree which is often a Bachelor of Science.
The Master of Arts (MA, M.A.) is a type of master’s degree that is typically awarded in English, history, communication, international relations, international business administration, humanities, philosophy, and social sciences. Generally, an M.A. degree takes 2 years of full time study for a non-thesis program, and longer for a thesis option; the Master of Arts may either be entirely course-based, entirely research-based or a combination. Admission to M.A. programs is usually contingent on the applicant having previously obtained their Bachelor’s degree which is often a Bachelor of Arts.
The Master of Fine Arts (MFA, M.F.A.) is a graduate degree that usually requires 2 to 3 years of postgraduate study after a Bachelor’s degree (Bachelor of Fine Arts). Unlike the Master of Arts, the MFA centers around practice in a particular discipline and is recognized as a terminal degree in visual arts, design, dance, photography, theater, and creative writing.
The Master of Business Administration (MBA, M.B.A.) is a master’s degree in business administration (management) that actually originated in the U.S. as a scientific approach to management; it is both a terminal degree and a professional degree. Core topics in MBA programs commonly cover accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations.
At the master's degree level, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (189,000) and education (165,000) during 2013/2014.ii
The Professional Science Master (PSM) degree is a graduate degree intended to allow students to pursue advance training in science or mathematics at the same time as developing workplace skills. PSM programs tend to be interdisciplinary, can take about 2 years of full time study, and usually involve an internship. Often, you can find the PSM degree in forensic science, computational chemistry, applied mathematics and bioinformatics programs (STEM fields).
Find accredited M.A., M.S., M.F.A., M.B.A., P.S.M. and other specific masters degree programs with the help of our subject selection and sponsored program listings. These broad categories include the following.
Within the above categories and their subfields, you can often choose between a residential (campus) and online masters program format. In some cases, especially for human centered and medical fields, your options for online degrees may be limited, however a hybrid choice may be offered. These blend on campus and online learning. Choose ‘campus’, ‘online’ or ‘hybrid’ to refine your search or use the location settings to find graduate schools and graduate programs in a specific city, state or country.
In some occupations you are likely to need a Master's Degree in your field to qualify for entry-level jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master’s degree may not be required but having one might lead to advancement or higher pay.iThe other component to whether or not to earn a Master's degree is that it might serve as a platform for continued education at the Doctoral level.
Consider that your Master’s degree should reflect your professional career needs as well as targeting your academic goals. Remember your M’s: MS, MA, MEd, MBA, MFA, PSM, and whether you are excited to study on campus or need the convenience of online. Read these helpful articles to help you navigate subjects like accreditation and applications. Finally, always reach out to the graduate school for full program details, especially because there are deadlines and you want to stay ahead of the class as you master your field of study!
[i] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm |[ii] ed.gov/programs/digest/d15/tables/dt15_323.10.asp?current=yes