What is a Master Degree?

What is a Master’s Degree?

A lot of people may have various definitions and perceptions of a Master’s degree, whether correct or incorrect but this article aims at educating you more on it.

A degree, to begin with, is an advanced education option where you pick an area of study to be your major.

However, in addition to classes that are specific to your major, you must also complete general classes, like English, history, math, and other topics.

This provides a well-rounded education.

An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful conclusion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university.

Since 2000, the number of people age 25 and over whose highest degree was a master’s has doubled to 21 million.

The number of doctoral degree holders has more than doubled to 4.5 million.

Now, about 13.1 percent of U.S. adults have an advanced degree, up from 8.6 percent in 2000.

Oftentimes people mistake a degree for a certificate or diploma but they are very different.

Certificate programs often take months instead of years, and some can even be obtained in conjunction with a degree program.

Diploma programs offer a more in-depth curriculum than a certificate, but they are more like a certificate than a degree.

A degree can take anywhere from two to four years or longer.

Certificate programs often take months instead of years, and some can even be obtained in conjunction with a degree program.

A degree comes in many forms and takes the longest to complete. They include:

  •  An associate’s degree is an undergraduate degree awarded after a course of post-secondary study lasting two to three years. It is a level of qualification between a high school diploma, GED, and a Bachelor’s degree.
  • A bachelors is a four-year degree program where learners study a specific subject, such as economics, biology, or communications. These degrees equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue various careers. Many students sign up for bachelor’s programs immediately after high school.
  • Doctoral degrees are advanced graduate or professional degrees that prove a knack in a specific subject area. Doctoral degrees are terminal degrees, meaning they’re the highest possible degrees available in their field.
  • A Master’s degree which is our main focus is a postgraduate university degree, usually studied after an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree. Master’s degrees are advanced graduate degrees that can improve student’s and working professionals’ earning potential and professional advancement. Master’s degrees explore existing subject knowledge in greater detail.

The most common undergraduate degree is the bachelor’s degree, although in some countries there are lower-level higher education qualifications that are also titled degrees like; associate degrees and foundation degrees.

A master’s degree is a degree that is given to a student by a college or university usually after one or two years of additional study following a bachelor’s degree.

A master’s degree can also be seen as an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice.

It normally necessitates the previous study at the bachelor’s level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course.

Within the area studied, master’s graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation, or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently.

A Master’s degree is a second-cycle degree, above a bachelor’s but below a Ph.D.

Most people study for a Master’s as a postgraduate student, having already finished an undergraduate degree.

Most Master’s degrees are taught courses, consisting of lectures and seminars followed by a dissertation project.

A Master’s degree is quite costlier and you will have to pay higher tuition rates than undergraduate learners.

Archetypally, public schools charge lower tuition than private schools and also habitually offer tuition discounts to in-state students.

Nevertheless, some schools allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live.

Tuition rates may vary due to credit load since some schools charge part-time and full-time learners different tuition rates.

Furthermore, students who exceed full-time course loads may even pay a course overload fee.

Master’s students can take advantage of the financial aid opportunities such as scholarships, grants, and fellowships to help counterpoise the cost of their education.

To gain admission for a Master’s program, it is very compulsory to have already acquired a bachelor’s degree for admission.

Some master’s programs accept students from any discipline, while others require a related bachelor’s degree.

Master’s programs may probably also require a minimum undergraduate GPA and/ or criterion coursework.

Some other common Master’s degree admission requirements include; standardized test scores, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) which are multiple-choice, computer-based, and computer-adaptive standardized exams that are often required for admission to graduate business programs (MBA) globally, industry certifications, and/or professional experience.

Master’s programs may also require recommendation letters, personal statements, writing samples, transcripts, resumes, or CVs.

Types of Master’s Degrees

A Master’s degree varies from a graduate certificate in terms of content depth, credit requirements, and career options.

For example; master’s degrees characteristically require thirty or more credits, while graduate certificates require twenty or fewer credits.

The additional courses required in a master’s program mean master’s graduates qualify for more advanced positions than certificate-holders. The most common types of Masters are;

The Master of Arts (MA):

Also known in Latin as Magister Artium or Artium Magister and abbreviated MA or AM is the holder of a master’s degree awarded by universities in many countries.

The degree is usually contrasted with that of Master of Science.

The Master of Science (MSc):

This is a degree awarded at universities around the world for completion of graduate-level study in a science- or technology-related field.

Enrolling in an MSc degree program translates to making a significant investment in one’s professional career.

Master of Research (MRes)

A Master of Research degree usually abbreviated as MRes, MARes, MScRes, or MScR is an internationally recognized advanced postgraduate research degree.

In most cases, the degree is designed to prepare students for doctoral research.

Increasingly, the degree may be useful for students considering careers outside of academia, where high-level research skills are valued but a doctoral qualification is not required.

 Master by Research (MPhil):

The MRes is more or less a self-contained qualification and this distinguishes it from other research Masters such as the MPhil (Master of Philosophy) which is normally a precursor to a Ph.D.

It’s simplest to think of the MRes as a research training qualification.

The MPhil on the other hand is a single research project

 Master of Studies (MST)

The Master of Studies according to Wikipedia, is a postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University of St Andrews, the Australian National University, University of Dublin, and the University of Newcastle.

Depending on the degree, it is comparable to the Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Laws, Master of Philosophy, and Master of Science.

Its creation was necessitated, in part, by the fact that the Master of Arts degree at Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin is essentially an honorary degree automatically awarded to graduates after a certain period, a remnant of modes of instruction used during the Middle Ages.

In contrast, the Master of Studies requires completion of classroom study and a thesis.

Final Thoughts on Master’s Degree.

We’ll be really glad to know that this article has helped you know what a master’s degree is and entails.

Most people do not bother getting their master’s degree because they feel it’s hard but the truth is that the curricula for master’s programs are challenging because they explore advanced concepts and push students to think more critically about issues in their field.

But despite these challenges, pursuing a master’s degree is rewarding because it leads to more career opportunities and offers higher earning potential.

Besides, nothing good in life comes on a platter of gold, you have to strive to get it.

There are diverse advantages to having a Master’s degree or any degree at all.

With an associate’s degree, you stand a chance of earning higher salaries, you can earn almost $10,000 more per year than with just a high school Diploma.

You can get more marketable and desirable jobs beyond entry-level, learn additional skills like critical thinking and analysis, networking opportunities for future career options, and better job benefits like insurance, retirement, and possibly even travel.

And according to the Georgetown University Centre on Education and the Workforce, graduates with a master’s degree earned a median of $2.671 million in a lifetime as of 2009, surpassing the bachelor’s median by nearly half a million dollars.

That’s enough reason to want to gain a master’s degree if you ask me.

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