A master’s degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges to an undergraduate student after completing two years of additional study on a specific field of study. It is for students who already got their bachelor’s degree and want to focus on one subject or want to expertise in one field.
Whether you are a recent graduate or a long-time professional, deciding to pursue a master’s degree isn’t as easy as some people might make it appear. It is a tough decision that not only requires self-motivation but also significant financial and time commitment.
In this article, we review what a master’s degree entails, common types of programs and other important information that you might need.
Most programs take about 1 1/2 to 2 years to complete when enrolled in full time. Luckily, some institutions permit students to enroll in part-time masters programs, thus allowing them to keep their jobs while still pursuing further education. Such a program, however, takes longer than 2 years and can even extend up to 5 years. During the last semester, students usually have to write a masters thesis and present their findings on the chosen topics at the end.
It can significantly influence your salary increment. On average, it can increase your salary by 7% to 12% depending on your specialization. Some people use it as a gateway to switch career paths, or they may want to specialise in a specific area that they weren’t able to research during their bachelor degree. This switch can also come with an increase in salary due to the extra skills acquired from the new master’s degree.
There are several programs that you can consider enrolling in for your post bachelor degree education. Your decision to pursue a master’s degree should depend on your motivation and end goal. The best master’s degree are those that open you up to more opportunities in your career field and are ideal for professional advancement. Some of the best degrees include those in technology, financial services, business, healthcare, education administration, counselling, statistic and mathematics as well as in nursing fields.
Getting your master’s degree is not easy. It requires a lot of hard work. You need to conduct a lot of research and write research papers on your own whilst keeping yourself motivated. You also need to stay on top of your work because otherwise you risk easily falling behind or possibly failing your exams and assignments.
It is worth the trouble when you intend to advance in your career, especially when you have vast professional experience and have an accredited bachelor degree. If you are working in fields such as medicine and education, you may need a master’s degree to qualify for top-level employment in most countries.
Yes, you can in most cases, except some specialized areas of study. If you have a bachelor degree from another field, you might have to take a few extra courses to fulfill the admission requirements in most cases. After doing that, it is possible to change your career path by applying to a master’s degree course in a different field.
To get your degree, you need about 36-60 university credits for most programs. You will be required to write a thesis at the end of the program and perform a thesis defense. The length of the program of course varies by school and the subject area you choose. Since it is completed in a shorter period, it has a lesser number of credit requirements compared to the bachelor degree.
Master’s degree: Requirements
In order to start your master’s program, there are a few requirements you should fulfill:
- You need to have an accredited bachelor’s degree in the field you want to pursue your master’s degree in.
- You should have a few years of professional experience before starting the program.
- Some programs also require entrance exams.
Furthermore, you should make sure that you are prepared to commit enough time to complete your program in time. It is also important to weigh up how the degree you are choosing will impact your professional progression and career.
You should base your decision not only on the possible salary increase but you should also think about the value the master’s degree will add in your future. You should also check if the university you chose is accredited to ensure your degree will be acknowledged widely.
Types of Master’s degrees
There are many different fields of master’s degrees. The most common ones are business, health, social sciences and science. The following are some of the popular degrees offered in most public and private universities and colleges across the world.
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Accountancy
- Master of International Business
- Master of Project Management
- Master of Laws
- Master of Public Administration
- Master of Public Health
- Master of Nursing
- Master of Health Administration
- Master of Psychology
- Master of Social Work
- Master of Education
- Master of Fine Arts
- Master of Chemistry
- Master of Architecture
- Master of Mathematics
- Master of Informatics
Abbreviations for Master’s Degrees
You may have seen that some people have an abbreviation of their academic title with their name and you may have wondered what they mean. So, here are some common abbreviations that are used:
- M.A. – Master of Arts
- M.B.A. – Master of Business Administration
- M.P.H. – Master of Public Health
- M.Ed. – Master of Education
- M.Eng. – Master of Engineering
- M.P.S. – Master of Political Sciences
- LL.M. – Master of Laws
- M.Sc. – Master of Science
- M.Arch. – Master of Architecture
- M.S.W. – Master of Social Work
- M.P.A. – Master of Public Administration
- M.Acc. – Master of Accounting
- M.F.A. – Master of Fine Arts
- M.M. – Master of Music
Master’s Degree: Jobs
The jobs you can get with your degree depend on what program you chose. Here are some common jobs you can get based on your degree:
|Master of Political Sciences
• City Manager
• Post-secondary teacher
|Master of Business Administration
|• Marketing Manager
• Promotions and Advertising Manager
• Business Analyst
|Master of Mathematics
• Software engineer
|Master of Health Administration
|• Healthcare administrator
• Chief nursing officer
• executive director
|Master of Laws
• Management Consultant
|Master of Social Work
|• Clinical Social Worker
• Substance Abuse Counselor
• Child Welfare Case Worker
|Master of Psychology
|• Mental Health Counselor
• Legal psychologist
• Behavior analyst
• Court consultant
|Master of Education
|• Curriculum developer
• Childcare director
• Educational consultant
|Master of International Business
|• Business development director
• Multinational manager
• International foreign policy advisor
|Master of Accountancy
|• Financial analyst
• Forensic accountant
• Corporate controller
|Master of Public Health
|• Health informatics specialist
• Health and safety engineer
In a Nutshell
- Before enrolling to any university or college for your master’s degree, ensure you have an accredited bachelor’s degree.
- Make sure you are enrolling for a program that will add value in your future and not only your pocket.
- Ensure you enroll in a program that is offered in an accredited university or college nationally or regionally. This will ensure that the degree you will be awarded is acknowledged widely.
- Before you enroll for your master program, ensure that you are prepared to commit enough time to complete your program on time without any major inconveniences.
- Take into considerations how the degree you’re enrolling is going to impact your career and professional progression.