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.
- Louisville, KYLouisville, KY
University of Louisville
Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration online degree for higher ed administration professionals. Specializations include Teaching & Learning, Policy & Equity, and Administration.
- Philadelphia, PAPhiladelphia, PA
Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)
hiladelphia University's M.S. degree program in Community and Trauma Counseling stands alone in its commitment to developing trauma competent mental health counselors as trauma skills, knowledge and research are infused in the fabric of every course.
- Philadelphia, PA
- Lombard, ILLombard, IL
National University Of Health Sciences
National University's Master of Science in Oriental Medicine program offers you a comprehensive classical curriculum in both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine coupled with training in how to balance an eastern medicine approach with western science...
- Lombard, IL
The Master of Science in Travel and Tourism at Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management is designed to provide an unparalleled opportunity for individuals to meet the needs of the fast-paced travel and tourism in...
- Philadelphia, PA
- Henderson, NVHenderson, NV
Sierra Nevada College
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program leads to a Nevada Teacher License and master’s degree. This program is approved by Nevada Department of Education, leading to teaching credential options in Elementary, Secondary, Dual and Special Education...
- Henderson, NV
- Reno, NV
- Incline Village, NV
Frontier Nursing University
The ADN Bridge Entry Option allows registered nurses holding an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) as the highest degree earned (no bachelor’s in any field), to directly enter our Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.
- Columbus, OHColumbus, OH
Columbus College of Art & Design
The MFA focuses on individual artistic/design development and creative leadership.
University of Maryland Baltimore County
The Master of Arts in Instructional Systems Design requires a minimum of 36 credits hours. Students must complete seven required core courses (totaling 21 credits), five elective courses (totaling 15 credits) and complete a professional portfolio...
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Provides students with the expertise required to meet the academic needs of the global English language learning population.
- Edinboro, PA
Albany Medical College
The Alden March Bioethics Institute’s Online Graduate Programs provide mid-career professionals, joint degree students, and highly motivated post-baccalaureate students with an opportunity to supplement current education or career training with cutting-...
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
New York Institute Of Technology
Our AACSB-accredited program will provide you with the tools, skills, and experiential education you need to develop human resource and labor relations solutions aligned with an organization’s strategic business needs.
- New York City, NY
- Old Westbury, NY
California State University, Northridge
CSUN's mind-expanding Humanities program is for college graduates of any age, area of expertise, or stage in their careers who want to become more innovative as problem-solvers and leaders in their communities and workplaces.
When members of our armed forces experience physiological or psychological injury in the line of duty, those injuries can reverberate through military communities and civilian lives...
West Virginia University
The WVU IMC graduate program is designed to give professionals the tools they need to lead in today’s digital environment...
- Rochester, NYRochester, NY
Rochester Institute of Technology
The master of engineering in mechanical engineering is a 30 semester credit hour degree program and is intended to be a terminal degree program designed for those who do not expect to pursue a doctoral degree but are expected to be a leader within the...
- Rochester, NY
- Rochester, NY
- Brooklyn, NYBrooklyn, NY
The mission of Pratt’s Master of Science (MS) in Real Estate Practice (REP) is to educate and train students in the core discipline and skills of real estate practice.
- Brooklyn, NY
- New York City, NY
University of Western States
100 percent online, clinically-oriented human nutrition and functional medicine program, and the only fully accredited master's degree in functional medicine.
- Center City, MNCenter City, MN
Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies
In this program, you will gain the knowledge and skills to address the complexities of addiction treatment and recovery across the continuum of care. Courses focus on evidence-based practices that will prepare you to treat addiction and its complica...
- Center City, MN
- Hamden, CTHamden, CT
The MSW program's foundation curriculum and the advanced concentration curriculum reinforce the Quinnipiac value base of understanding real-world issues through practice and the consideration of different perspectives.
- Hamden, CT
- Northampton, MANorthampton, MA
For 90 years, the Smith College School for Social Work has provided graduate social work education to men and women around the world. Our program is internationally recognized for its dedication to and specialization in cli...