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.
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.
- Master of Science (M.S., MSc)
- Master of Arts (M.A.Degree)
- Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
- Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)
- Specialty and Professional Master Programs (P.S.M)
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.
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.
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).
Try a MicroMasters Program
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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
Master Degree Abbreviations
|Master of Business Administration||M.B.A.|
|Master of Arts||M.A.|
|Master of Science||M.S., MSc, MSci or SciM|
|Master of Fine Arts||M.F.A.|
|Professional Science Master||P.S.M.|
|Master of Public health||M.P.H.|
|Master of Science in Nursing||M.S.N.|
|Master of Social Work||M.S.W.|
|Master in Education||M.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:
- Masters in Business
- Masters in Psychology
- Criminal Justice & Legal
- Fine Arts
- Health & Medicine
- Liberal Arts & Humanities
- Math, Science & Engineering
- Public Affairs & Social Sciences
- Religious Studies
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.
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
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.
DID YOU KNOW?
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:
- Business (e.g. M.B.A., Master of Science in Finance)
- Criminal Justice (e.g. Master of Science in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies, MBA in Homeland Security)
- Education (e.g. Master of Education, Master of Arts in Special Education)
- Fine Arts and Design (e.g. Master of Arts in Museum Studies, MFA in Visual Arts)
- Health and Medicine (e.g. MPH- Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Nursing, MBA Healthcare Management)
- Liberal Arts and Humanities (e.g. Master of Arts in Communication, Master of Science in Sports Journalism)
- Math, Science and Engineering (e.g. Master of Science in Civil Engineering, PSM in Biotechnology)
- Public Affairs and Social Sciences (e.g. MPA- Master of Public Administration, MBA in Economic Fraud Management, MSW-Master of Social Work)
- Religious Studies (e.g. Master of Arts in Religious Studies)
- Technology (e.g. Master of Professional Studies in Technology Management, MS in Business Intelligence and Analytics, MBA Cyber Policy, MS in Information Technology)
How to Choose a Masters Program
- 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!
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.
The online M.S. in Organizational Leadership offers learners the practical skills necessary to effect powerful, positive change in their organizations. This is a student-centered program that provides an individualized path to success, built around a...
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University’s Master of Science in Leadership with an Emphasis in Disaster Preparedness and Executive Fire Leadership provides students with the skills to develop professionally and gain self-confidence in their own leadership styles. The pr...
- Phoenix, AZ
George Mason University
Learn at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and data science with George Mason University's online Master of Science in Health Informatics. Offered through the College of Health and Human and Services, the program prepares students to sp...
Headlines about health care reform and disparities in the availability and quality of health care have led to an increased...
Bob Jones University
"BJU’s master of music education program combines convenience and flexibility with top-notch academics. Designed for practicing K-12 music teachers, the master of music education program meets you where you are—allowing you to furthe...
The University of Scranton
Easily Land Your Preferred Position. Dedicated specifically to professionals who commit themselves to excellence in the finance industry, The University of Scranton's online MS in Finance delivers a modern education that...
Our Masters in Social Work focuses on the impact of trauma, a leading factor in mental health, and other social-emotional issues that affect quality of life.
Saint Xavier University
The online MSN from Saint Xavier University supports your transformation into a trusted nurse leader with a high-quality and recognized program that is affordable, accessible and immediately applicable.
Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate prepares students to effectively manage the evolving challenges, trends, and complexities of this dynamic industry.
George Washington University
MPH@GW is the online Master of Public Health (MPH) from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. With classes developed and taught by GW’s world-class faculty, MPH@GW features the same rigorous academics and se...
Washington University in St Louis
Our Lady of the Lake University
Our Lady of the Lake University’s Worden School of Social Service, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious schools of social work, is now offering its acclaimed Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program entirely online, giving work...
- Palos Heights, ILPalos Heights, IL
Trinity Christian College
Master of Arts in Special Education: Behavior Intervention Specialist with BACB® verified course sequence and practicum
- Palos Heights, IL
With a rich history dating back to 1918, Boston University School of Social Work continues to educate agents of change through our comprehensive graduate program housed at a leading private research university.
- Glendale, CAGlendale, CA
California State University, Northridge
Join the largest MPA program in California and the third-largest in the nation. Graduate with a network!...
- Northridge, CA
- Norwalk, CA
- South El Monte, CA
Anna Maria College
- Paxton, MA
New York University
NYU’s online master of science program in Communicative Sciences and Disorders provides aspiring speech-language pathologists (SLPs) with a comprehensive professional education that integrates evidence-based methodology and research. As a Speec...
- New York City, NY
West Virginia University
In the WVU DMC program communications professionals learn how to integrate data and quantitative processes into their organizations to support key decision-making about communications initiatives...
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
The online Master of Science in Nursing in Health Systems Management from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing prepares students to assume leadership positions in health education, program development, consultation, and administration.
Antioch University’s online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling allows you to channel your passion for helping others into a meaningful and rewarding career as a mental health counselor.
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
This full-time graduate program provides an in-depth study of the relationships between art, law and business and how they influence the commercial art world...
- New York City, NY
Loyola University New Orleans Online
The online RN-MSN Bridge Program is a program for nurses with a non-nursing bachelor's degree. The Bridge element is only one semester long making it one of the shortest bridge to MSN programs available and consists of 2- 3 credit hour courses.