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).
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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.
- El Monte, CAEl Monte, CA
California Institute of Advanced Management
California Institute of Advanced Management (CIAM) is nonprofit University dedicated to providing a practical, hands-on, and applicable MBA program based on real-world experience. Rolling admissions deadlines, with Financial Aid for those who qualify...
California Baptist University
The online Master of Science in Education Specialization in Educational Leadership degree program is designed to equip individuals with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of leadership required for professional excellence as trainers, teachers,...
- Baltimore, MDBaltimore, MD
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins MS in Research Administration is designed to benefit research practitioners, including those currently working...
- Baltimore, MD
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Advanced Physician Assistant (APA) program offers the most direct path to APA credentials–even without a Bachelor’s degree (additional admission requirements apply). Practicing Physician Assistants can...
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago
Representing and advocating for children, families, women and the elderly is enhanced with an understanding of the psychological and social dynamics that characterize these populations.
- Chicago, IL
- Portland, MEPortland, ME
University of New England
As the only program in Northern New England that awards a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia, we are proud of our rigorous curriculum and of our relationships with more than 30 hospitals across the region.
- Portland, ME
This program blends healthcare and technology. It's a fully online professional program designed for working adults in the healthcare, IT, or business arenas.
- Pittsburgh, PA
Tiffin University’s Master of Science (MS) degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Criminal Behavior, is an outstanding example of how the real world meets the classroom experience.
- Purchase, NYPurchase, NY
The Master of Science in Marketing Communication Management at Manhattanville School of Business is a 36 credits program that can be completed in 18 months part-time study.
- Purchase, NY
- Riverside, CARiverside, CA
La Sierra University
La Sierra offers the only Seventh-day Adventist graduate religion and ministerial training program in the western United States, drawing students from around the world to study on our campus.
- Riverside, CA
- Riverside, CA
- Philadelphia, PAPhiladelphia, PA
Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)
he M.S. in Interior Architecture is structured to meet the needs of students from non-design backgrounds seeking a professional-level education while offering up to one year of advanced standing for those already in the field.
- Philadelphia, PA
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction degree and continuing education program is designed to help teachers align their career goals with a degree that will help them transition from teachers into educating profe...
- Newton, MANewton, MA
William James College
The Organizational Psychology MA is a highly interactive and outcome oriented 11-month program where students attain their 30 credit master's degree. The program is offered in two formats: fully online or blended. There is a concentration in Talent Mgmt...
- Newton, MA
Master of Science in Analytics Mobile devices, social networking sites, transactional data, sensor systems, cloud computing—these are some of the innovations changing the face and pace of business while generating a va...
University of the Rockies
Energize yourself and others with your Master of Arts in Psychology, Sport and Performance Psychology Specialization from University of the Rockies.
Pennsylvania State University
Earn your Master of Health Administration degree from Penn State—online. Gain skills that you can put into practice immediately with an MHA degree. Enhance your leadership abilities to keep pace in the dynamically changing healthcare market.
Full Sail University
Today`s successful companies depend on strong visual representation to stay a step ahead of the competition. Full Sail University`s online Media Design Master of Fine Arts Degree Program explores the role that creative direction plays in effectively&...
Prepare for a career in the counseling profession with Walden University’s M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. Examine a range of topics affecting the counseling field, including assessment, legal and ethical concerns, and intervention. This prog...
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
The M.S.Ed.-Secondary Education - English is designed to prepare teacher candidates for secondary classrooms in our nation’s schools by providing a caring and supportive learning environment that promotes academic excellence.
- Pittsburgh, PA
The Concordia University – Portland MEd degree program in Curriculum & Instruction: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is designed for preK-12 teachers wanting to develop the enhanced skills, knowledge, practical app...