A master’s degree is an advanced academic degree. It is often provided by an accredited university after a person shows proficiency in the specific field of study or a professional practice. Frequently, the degree follows after individuals complete a bachelor’s degree program. Earning a master’s degree may allow for personal, professional and academic advancement. Generally, a master’s degree program may help in the development of key skills like: project management, data analysis, critical thinking and problem solving. In 2019, the BLS found those with a master’s degree earn a median weekly income of $1,497 with a median unemployment rate of just 2%. Finally, some may even complete this degree before moving on to a doctorate or Ph.D. program. Many master’s degree programs require around 40 credit hours of coursework. Credit hours could vary significantly between programs depending on the field of study and the courses you decide to take. Some programs may be very flexible while others are rigid. For example, the program may be designed to have numerous electives, or none at all. Numerous master’s degree programs may require students to meet a minimum grade of 3.0 or a “B” in other words. Again, some programs are more flexible while others require a much higher GPA.
How to Qualify for a Master’s Degree Program in Pennsylvania
Many schools require prerequisites like having a bachelor’s degree with some kind of minimum GPA. However, other schools may place an emphasis on exams like the GRE or GMAT or even related academic or professional experience. Students may then need to submit specific application materials to the program. If you find yourself with a low GPA, or do not what to take the GRE, you still may have a path to further your education.
How to Choose a Master’s Degree Program in Pennsylvania
If you want to choose the “right” master’s degree program near Pennsylvania , then first you must determine what you want out of a master’s program. Firstly, decide on what you want your professional and career goals to be. Secondly, research the degree you need to have for the field. Finally, learn about the specific programs and courses available. Make choose a master’s degree based on your long term career goal. Then, determine if you want to attend an online program or in person. For example, working full time may be incompatible with an in person program. As a result, online programs may provide more flexibility. Finally, always ensure the school is accredited. Some employers insist on this. Make sure to consider financial aid and scholarships. Generally, both may be available to those who qualify. In effect, pick a master’s degree program aligned with your career goals and interests you
Types of Master’s Degree Programs
Here are a few of the most common master’s degree programs available in Pennsylvania. Degree programs have a range in titles, so no standardized naming convention exists. Make sure to keep in mind degree titles will vary.
Master of Arts Degree (MA)
A MA degree focuses on areas of humanities and arts. Chiefly, this includes performance, communications, or English. Some MA degrees include social sciences, such as sociology or psychology. Many of these MA programs focus on research and writing. Finally, some students may need to complete a thesis or capstone project. Altogether, an MA degree may open the door to many careers. Courses may include:
Social Theory – A social theory class typically looks at contributors to social theory from the 19th century to current.
Social Policy – A class on social policy may analyze at the practice of sociological research.
Interpreting and Presenting Results – The students may learn how to get information from the research they have conducted.
Social Policy and Planning – The social policy and planning class may offers an opportunity at learning and determining social policy.
Master of Science Degree (MS)
An MS degree focuses on tech and science. Consequently, this includes fields like computer science or engineering. Some graduates may go on to work in research based programs. Others go on to work as economists, political scientists, or research scientists. Further, some may need to complete further licensure requirements or certifications. Courses may include:
Topics in Political Theory – Political theory typically looks at different angles and perspectives of the political world.
Economics and Public Policy – The economics and public policy course might covers how the economy interacts with political agendas and plans.
Geopolitics – Geopolitics examines how politics work on a global scale
Public Policy – Public policy courses may look at how decisions on public policy are made. what influences them.
Master of Education Degree (M. ED)
Those with an educational career in mind may pursue an M. ED degree. M. EDs aim to help students improve skills for classroom use. This program may require additional certifications or licensing. Additionally, an M. ED degree is based on the specific interests of the student. Some may go on to design curriculum for schools. Others still, may continue to doctoral study. Courses may include:
Designing Curriculum and Instruction – This class is designed to help educators in having creative options when creating lessons.
Educational Research – With educational research the goal is to learn what the best methods are for getting through to students.
Differentiated Instruction – The differentiated instruction course is designed to help educators learn the best way to reach all students in their program.
Learning as a Science – Learning as a science is a class that focuses on how to best approach to how to best acclimate all students.
Master of Fine Arts Degree (MFA)
Depending on a students interests, an MFA degree may have various fields of study. For example, the degree may include writing or dance. Others may focus on fashion design. Photography is another instance of a program. Students may work to complete a capstone project. Certain programs have students teach their concentration to other students. MFA courses are different. Many are specific around the area of focus you are seeking. You may take courses in just your specialty. Other times, you may take others as well. Courses may include:
Acting Courses – Many students take acting courses. This may include first year classes that teach beginning acting. Second year students may take methodology and acting.
Voice and Speech Courses – Communication is key. Voice and speech courses are common in an MFA program. This may include learning to communicate fully. You may learn how to project your voice. Some involve singing.
History and Theory – History, theory, and criticism are often a requirement of an MFA degree. Students may take a film course in this area. Many may learn how to analyze performance.
Movement – This type of course focuses on using the body in communications. It may be a common component of acting and performance MFA degrees.
Master of Social Work Degree (MSW)
Social work practice and research may require an MSW. Specializations can include mental health or gerontology. Additionally, other programs involve school social work or family services. Some students may focus on the research in this field. While others work with patients. Courses may include these:
Trauma Informed Care – Students learn about trauma, it’s impact, and managing it. Some topics could included advanced methods of managing trauma.
Social Work Research and Evaluation – These programs focus on research in the field. Student use evidenced based social work skills to advance understandings in the field and evaluate program effectiveness.
Structures and Processes – This includes topics on social welfare. It may focus on areas of analysis, policy change and how to develop new policies.
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
MBA students typically study advanced business topics like finance or management. Some even focus on leadership, project management or human resources strategies. Some students may obtain additional certifications in their field of study. Courses may include these:
Marketing – This is often a research based program. It may also teach more advanced topics. Many students focus on marketing in their MBA. Others may focus on new concepts. Topics may include marketing strategy and planning.
Financial Accounting and Management – Students may explore more advanced concepts of accounting. This includes budgeting. It may include analysis. Many times, it focuses on financial strategies. It may also focus on capital sources. Pro forma analysis and budgets are common.
Leadership – MBA programs include leadership. Students may learn how to use various leadership styles. One example is sustainable ethical leadership.
Master of Public Administration (MPA)
A policy or administration career may benefit from an MPA program. Students focus on areas of business or finance. Some even work in areas of healthcare, social work, or psychology. Some even work in government agencies or nonprofit organizations. Graduates may seek positions in analysis or policy or public relations. Courses may include these:
Nonprofit Management – These courses course focuses on governance structures. It may include developing funding sources. It also has a focus on legal and professional accountability. Students learn to think strategically.
Public Management – This program may focus on skill building in public organizations. It may offer a management consulting focus. Other times it has a human resource focus. Leadership is a key component of this type of program. This includes improving managing styles.
Policy Analysis – In a course like this, focus on evaluating public programs. It may include conducting research for the public and may also focus on administrative functions. It is a skill building course.
Master of Public Health (MPH)
Graduate students in this area often seek out health concepts and trends. They may relate their degree to public health and healthcare policies. Others focus on crisis prevention. Many may focus on other specific areas like dietician or community series managers. Courses may include these:
Epidemiology – This type of course focuses on disease and its development. It often focuses on frequency and distribution. It may include studies on preventing illness.
Public Health Systems – This course focuses on history and basic structures. It also focuses on health care delivery systems. It may discuss essential public health services. There is a strong operations focus.
Health Policy and Management – The focus here is on setting and maintaining health policy. This is on a community basis. It may include how to develop policies. It may also discuss public health policy changes. Tools to develop these policies may also be a part of this course of study.
Behavioral and Social Aspects of Public Health – This course focuses on social factors. It also addresses behavioral factors that relate to health. The focus is often on individual health. Population health may also be a covered topic here.
Master of Laws (M.L)
This advanced degree may help students to earn professional skills in a specific area. Some focus on education or business. Others focus on just personal injury or criminal law. It may help a student to concentrate on the services they offer. This degree program is unique. Many students choose a specific focus. The courses taken are in this specific area like health or criminal law. Courses may include a range of topics within this area. Courses may include:
Health Law – The focus is on protecting the rights of people in terms of health. This may include legal concepts on privacy or health care access. Students may learn about health policy creation.
International Law – It is sometimes focused. This may include international criminal law. It may be international business law. The focus is on how these international laws impact U.S. businesses or people.
Criminal Law – This type of course is on all aspects of criminal law. That may include advanced topics on evidence. It may include an analysis beyond the courtroom. Some areas focus on specific areas of criminal law.
Master of Engineering (MEng)
Master of engineering degrees usually focuses on engineering advanced education. Much of the coursework is specific to the field of study. Many may complete a research thesis or project. Some programs are research based. Others are based on skill development in the field. Courses may include these:
Bioengineering – This course may focus on biomedical engineering and design. It may include aspects of chemical and electrical components. It also wraps mechanical engineering into this.
Mechanical Engineering – Advanced studies may include data analytics. Students may also learn topics related to robotics. This is an emerging field with various components of study.
Product Design and Manufacturing – The focus here is on the development of new products. It may also include aspects of how to turn ideas into objects. The focus on manufacturing also includes aspects of efficiency.
What Could I Pursue with a Master’s Degree in Pennsylvania?
Enrolling in a master’s degree program may provide new opportunities. Remember to keep in mind the range of opportunity here. Your graduate studies may likely to differ from what someone else studies. However, there may be many career opportunities in each field. For example, here is what you may be able to pursue after completing an online master’s program or an in person program in Pennsylvania.
Social workers help others solve problems. They may also aid others in coping with problems in their everyday life. Social work can offer you work in a variety industries. For example, they may work in mental health clinics, human service agencies or child welfare.
Company executives typically lead organizations or businesses. They plan strategies, create and manage policy. Their overall goal is to help an organization to meet its goals.
Human Resource Manager
Many start with a bachelor’s degree. Advancing to a master’s may create more opportunities to lead in human resource management. They work to help organizations manage their employees.
An economist may analyze data and evaluate economic issues. They may also research trends. They typically work in companies. Some also work in businesses. A doctoral degree may further their career.
Computer Systems Manager
Computer and information systems managers may take on leadership roles in companies or organizations. They may plan and coordinate various computer related tasks. Additionally, many may work in information science or a similar field. A bachelor’s degree is a starting point for the job. However, many go on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees.
Working in PR means to help companies improve public perception. In a practical sense, this means coordinating campaigns to generate positive “buzz” and good will towards organizations.
Is a Master’s Degree Worth It?
Take this as a personal choice. According to the BLS, those with a master’s degree earn a median weekly salary of $1,497 in 2019 and have a median unemployment rate of just 2%. Earning a master’s degree, however, provides more advantages than just income. Master’s students, for example, may benefit from professional development. A few of the benefits of obtaining a master’s degree include:
Master’s programs help develop logical thinking skills. As a result, many may excel in analyzing or creating insights.
Some students may use an online master’s degree program to help with a career change. After which, students may want to pursue a related or completely different area.
Some people report that graduate education helps them to feel more capable of doing their job. It may also help them feel more well rounded in their field of study.
It may help earn more professional experience. Ultimately, this enhances their ability to gain professional experience in other areas.
Take a look at some of the positions students may qualify for or advance from using a master’s degree. While every path is unique, many students find it could be worth it to get a master’s degree.
Administrative Services Manager
Administrative service managers plan and coordinate a variety of tasks for organizations. They direct activities within a business or group. These service managers manage challenges as they arise.
Annual Median Pay: $96,940 per year
Human Resource Manager
The human resource manager may work to manage administrative tasks within a business. In a practical sense, this often relates to employees. Common tasks may include hiring, training, and managing people. They may also direct others in these tasks.
Annual Median Pay: $116,720 per year
Postsecondary teachers work in colleges and universities. Some instruct students directly. While others may work in leadership roles. Overall, they often work directly in creating curriculum. Others work in research focused areas of education.
Annual Median Pay: $79,540 per year
Logisticians work in a company’s supply chain. They analyze the chain while coordinating various components. Many start with a bachelor’s degree. Typically, individuals move into management positions with more advanced degrees.
Annual Median Pay: $74,750 per year
Advanced degrees in this field may help financial managers. These individuals create financial reports. For example, they may develop plans to help a company meet their long term goals. Moreover, many handle direct investment activity with their master’s degree.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master’s Degree in Pennsylvania?
For full-time students a typical master’s degree takes 1.5 to 2 years to complete. However, many factors play a role in completion time like enrolling part-time and the amount of credits you must earn. Additionally, you must consider how many courses you are willing to take at once. Other factors impacting the length of may include:
Program credits required: Typically this is 40 credits. It may range from 30 to 60 credits depending on program.
Enrollment: Full time students often complete courses faster. This may include taking up to 16 to 18 credits each semester. Part time students may have more flexibility. In fact, they may be able to choose how many credits to take.
Online programs: Some master’s degree online programs could speed up the process. This may mean students attend school strictly online.
An accelerated master’s degree programs are an option. Accelerated degree programs allow students to work towards their master’s while earning an undergraduate degree. Further, these programs condense material into a fewer number of credits. Finally, dual credits from undergraduate to graduate programs could help speed up education.
Online degree options may vary. For instance, some online programs reduce the length of time to complete a program. This is very much specific to the specific field of study.
Scholarships for Online Master’s Degree Programs
You may be able to find financial aid for online master’s degrees. This scholarship list includes in person and online programs of study. You may need to take a graduate level course of study to earn them. Remember to read each requirement for the scholarships listed. Additionally, you may have to meet specific GMAT or other qualifications to get them. Finally, be sure to ask the graduate school about other options. In effect, many higher education programs offer financial opportunities for students. This includes loans, grants, and work study programs.
Gradschools.com $1,000 Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: April 2, 2022
This scholarship is open to US graduate students planning to or already enrolled in a graduate program. We hope to help offset the costs associated with pursuing your program. When awarded, the recipient can use the $1,000 tuition voucher for any cost associated with his or her school bursar’s office (some restrictions may apply based on the school). In order to apply to our Graduate Scholarship, you must submit a 250 word response to this essay question: A graduate education can help you gain the skills and knowledge to differentiate yourself, and open up more career opportunities. How will an advanced degree help you achieve your personal and career goals? The deadline to submit your application is April 2, 2022.
This scholarship is open to any US resident enrolled in college. There is one scholarship awarded annually and requires an application and an online review of your current college. You can also find more graduate and masters scholarships on Ungio.com
The Good Samaritan Scholarship is open to all undergraduate, graduate, and law school students, as well as incoming college freshmen. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited U.S. educational institution. The candidate must be in good academic standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must be enrolled in college, graduate school, or be a GED holder who are about to attend college; they also must show good academic standing by holding a GPA of 3.0 or higher.