Master's Degree Programs
A master’s degree is the first level of graduate study and a second-cycle academic degree, usually preceding a doctorate degree. Students usually obtain a master's degree to further their studies in a specific field of study or area of professional practice.
Why Earn a Master's Degree?
On average, full-time workers with a Master's Degree earned $12,000 more a year than those with a Bachelor's, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.i
Professional development, cultivating more expertise in your field of study, and potentially earning a salary increase, are a among the 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 Another reason to earn a Master's degree is that it usually required for those continuing education at the Doctoral level.
Is It Masters Degree or Master's Degree?
Grammatically it is always Master's Degree. The apostrophe is possessive. Use the singular such as Master of Economics or Master of Fine Arts when talking about an explicit degree. Don't worry, we understand Masters Degrees as well and will help you find a Master's Degree Program even if you're not grammatically correct!
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master's 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 and type of Master's Degree Program. 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.
Top 7 Master Degree Majors
(by graduate degrees granted in 2015-2016)iii
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, MSci or SciM
Master of Arts
Master of Fine Arts
Master of Business Administration
Specialty and Professional Master Programs
Master of Science in Nursing
Master of Public Health
Master of Social Work
Master in Education
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.
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).
BY THE NUMBERS
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
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.” Click To Tweet!
Professor Michelle Bradsher-McHugh, Associate Director, Paul F. Harron Graduate Program in TV Management at Drexel University
List of Masters Degree Subjects
Use our subject selection filter at the top of this page or start with the list below. You will find accredited M.A., M.S., M.F.A., M.B.A., P.S.M. and other specific master degree programs with the help of our subject selection and sponsored program listings. The broad list of masters degree programs include the following subjects:
- 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
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.
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.
Popular Online Master Degree Programs
Wondering about popular online master degree programs? Most popular online masters degree programs range from business to healthcare to social work and include many valuable concentrations in each of these fields. GradSchools.com has put together a valuable resource to help you find the most popular online master degree programs.
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)
[i] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm |[ii] https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_ctb.asp | [iii] https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_318.30.asp
- West Hartford, CTWest Hartford, CT
University of Hartford
If you are interested in working with young children in public or private schools, childcare centers, or community programs but did not pursue a teaching degree as an undergraduate, then our master's program in early education may be a fit for you.
- West Hartford, CT
- Sacramento, CASacramento, CA
University of San Francisco
The preliminary Multiple Subject and Single Subject teaching credentials are offered in conjunction with a Master of Arts in Teaching.
- Pleasanton, CA
- San Jose, CA
- San Francisco, CA
Liberty University Online
Liberty University’s Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Teaching & Learning – Student Services online program equips students for leadership roles in public and private schools. This program is ideal for those who are passionate abo...
Claremont Graduate University
Claremont Graduate University’s online Master's in Evaluation & Applied Research—designed with input from with the acclaimed Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC)—is tailored for students with an interest or some experience in evaluation and research.
Integrate sustainable business strategies into your education. With your Environmental Management specialization added to your MBA degree from Ashford University, you will learn to meet the challenges of energy, economics, and the environment. Combin...
Colorado Technical University
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Greenwood Village, CO
American InterContinental University
The Master of Healthcare Management (MHCM) is an in-depth, focused program that allows students to examine the healthcare industry, including its operations, structures and challenges, from a unique leadership perspective. The multi-disciplinary curr...
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
The Masters in Counseling/Art Therapy is a 63 credit graduate degree that will prepare students to attain their Licensed Practicing Counselor and their Registered Art Therapy credentials.
- Edinboro, PA
- San Diego, CASan Diego, CA
Newschool Of Architecture And Design
The Master of Architecture degree gives students with a bachelor’s degree in architecture or in a related field the opportunity to earn a professional master’s degree in architecture.
- San Diego, CA
- Northridge, CANorthridge, 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
- Glendale, CA
- South El Monte, CA
- Norwalk, CA
This degree program integrates project management principles with information technology in accordance with the project...
- Portales, NMPortales, NM
Eastern New Mexico University
We offer an M.A. in Speech Communication and Mass Communication and an M.S. in Communicative Disorders. In either degree program the student may elect...
- Portales, NM
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Erikson’s M.S.W. program is ideal preparation for the social work professional who wishes to improve the lives of children and families.
- Stony Brook, NYStony Brook, NY
Stony Brook University (S.U.N.Y.)
The program builds on our successful, internationally renowned PhD program in political psychology. The M.A. degree program teaches advanced skills in political psychology, public opinion, and political attitudes. The Political Science M.A.
- Tampa, FLTampa, FL
University of Tampa
Offered by the Sykes College of Business’ nationally acclaimed Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, the new M.S. in Entrepreneurship builds the critical business and entrepreneurial skills needed to develop and launch new enterprises.
- Tampa, FL
- Edinburgh, United KingdomEdinburgh, United Kingdom
University of Edinburgh
This masters programme aims to help you understand the key concepts and theories underpinning criminal law and criminal justice and how they operate in practice, preparing you for a professional or academic career in these fields.
- Edinburgh, United Kingdom
- Valhalla, NYValhalla, NY
New York Medical College
The Department of Cell Biology offers training in cell biology and neuroscience leading to careers in academia and industry. Ongoing research includes studies of oncogene expression and cytokines; intracellular mechanisms of pulmonary arterial hypert...
- Valhalla, NY
- Virginia Beach, VAVirginia Beach, VA
- Virginia Beach, VA
- Tampa, FL
- Savannah, GA
- Glen Allen, VA
- Warrensville Heights, OH
- Royal Palm Beach, FL
- Columbia, SC
- Montgomery, AL
- High Point, NC
- Plainfield, VTPlainfield, VT
The Master of Arts in Psychology is designed to prepare graduates to enter into their area of psychology with the professional skills necessary to advance their career goals, their personal development, and to make a positive impact on the communities in...
- Plainfield, VT
- Binghamton, NYBinghamton, NY
Binghamton University (S.U.N.Y.)
Accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), Binghamton University's Master's of Public Administration (MPA) program works in collaboration with community-based organizations to prepare students to b...
- Binghamton, NY