South Dakota Master Degree Programs

A master’s degree is the first level of graduate study and a second-cycle academic degree, usually preceding a doctorate degree. A 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 masters degree to further their studies in a specialty area.

masters degree and graduate cap

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters Degree?

Most master degree programs require 1-2 years of study, depending on the program type and enrollment. 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.

Types of Master Degree Programs

Masters degrees are usually awarded in different categories and often focus on a single specialty area. The type of master degree awarded may depend on the school, program focus and area of study. Some examples of popular master degree programs are listed below.

MS Degree

The Master of Science (MS, MSc, MSci or SciM) 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.

MA Degree

The Master of Arts (MA Degree) is a type of graduate degree which includes all arts and humanities disciplines as well as some social sciences. The MA degree is typically awarded in English, history, communication studies, international relations, international business administration, humanities, philosophy, and social sciences. Generally, an MA degree takes 2 years of full-time study for a non-thesis program, and longer for a thesis option; the Master of Arts (M.A.) 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.

MFA Degree

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.

MBA Degree

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

PSM Degree

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).

Try a MicroMasters Program

MicroMasters programs are a set of masters-level online courses that help you earn professional credentials and valuable university credits. Now you can test drive a MicroMasters Program for Free! Browse MicroMasters Programs now.

Some popular types of master degree programs are Master of Science (MS Degree), Master of Arts (MA Degree), Master of Fine Arts (MFA Degree), and Master of Business Administration (MBA Degree). The type of master degree awarded may depend on the school, program focus and area of study.

Professional Insight into Earning a Master's Degree

“Earning my master’s degree has already opened new doors to career opportunities. I always wanted to return to the television industry after spending a majority of my career in a newsroom. Going to grad school helped me achieve that goal. I now manage an online graduate program in television management, teaching the industry’s future leaders.”

Professor Michelle Bradsher-McHugh, Associate Director, Paul F. Harron Graduate Program in TV Management at Drexel University

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Master Degree Abbreviations

Master of Business AdministrationM.B.A.
Master of ArtsM.A.
Master of ScienceM.S., MSc, MSci or SciM
Master of Fine ArtsM.F.A.
Professional Science MasterP.S.M.
Master of Public healthM.P.H.
Master of Science in NursingM.S.N.
Master of Social WorkM.S.W.
Master in EducationM.Ed.

List of Masters Degrees

Use our subject selection filter at the top of this page, start with the list below or browse the list of master degree programs to the left . You will 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. The broad list of masters degrees include the following:

Why Earn a Master's Degree?

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. 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.i The 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.


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

Potential Features of Masters Degree Programs

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.

  • 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.


If you are a professional and can’t take time off to earn a traditional master's degree, a MicroMasters program may be an accessible and affordable option.

Search Master Degree Specialty Programs

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. Some of these specialty categories include the following:

How to Choose a Masters Program

  1. Consider that your Master’s degree should reflect your professional career needs as well as targeting your academic goals.
  2. 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.
  3. Read these helpful articles to help you navigate subjects like accreditation and applications.
  4. 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!

Campus, Online or Hybrid Master's Program?

Within the above categories and their sub-fields, 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.

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