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Master's Degree

If you’ve completed your Bachelor’s Degree you may be considering whether to undertake further studies toward a graduate degree such as a Master’s Degree. Master’s Degree programs provide the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge in specific topics and skill areas and are required for entry into some professional fields (see the list of careers below). In addition, average earnings have been shown to increase with education level with Master’s Degree holders earning a median weekly income in 2011 of $1,263 versus $1,053 for Bachelor’s Degree holders and $768 for Associate Degree holders*.

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Competition with other countries and the need for a more educated workforce has led to the number of Master’s Degrees offered in the United States doubling since the 1970s. See below for an extensive list of Master’s Degrees now offered. It is important to note the distinct difference between a graduate school and a professional school: a graduate school offers master’s and doctoral degrees that may prepare students for certain careers, while professional schools (such as medical schools, business schools, divinity schools, and law schools) provide specialized training for a very specific set of professions.


Depending on the field of study and the university, a Master’s Degree may take anywhere from one to six years to complete. The longer end of this timeframe also includes degree programs that allow students to earn a Master’s Degree while they are pursuing a Doctorate.


Typical Courses for Master’s Degrees

Master’s Degree seekers will be challenged with courses covering both theory and application of their chosen field of concentration, requiring critical analysis and complex problem solving skills. Whereas Bachelor’s Degree coursework typically includes many electives and classes outside of the student’s major, Master’s Degree curricula almost entirely focuses on the student’s specified field of study. Thus the typical courses required by any Master’s Degree program will depend almost entirely on the specific degree sought. Original research is also often a staple of the course load carried by Master’s Degree candidates, and many degree programs require either (or both) a lengthy written master’s thesis that presents and defends their research, and/or extensive practical fieldwork.


Types of Master’s Degrees

Post-graduate Master’s Degrees can be pursued by qualifying Bachelor’s Degree holders. They include:

  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Engineering (MEng)
  • Master of Science (MS or MSc)
  • Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Master of Communication (MCom)
  • Master of Business (MBus)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Business and management Master’s Degrees often require at least a year or two of work experience before admission to the graduate school. These degrees include:

  • Master of Management (MM)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)


Executive Master’s Degrees are generally pursued by those with significant work experience and are geared toward professionals interested in climbing to the executive level. They include:

  • Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA)
  • Executive Master of Science



Comprehensive List of Master’s Degrees* Offered in the U.S.

  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Advanced Study
  • Master of Economics
  • Master of Applied Science
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business
  • Master of Business Informatics
  • Master of Chemistry
  • Master of City Planning
  • Master of Commerce
  • Master of Computational Finance
  • Master of Computer Applications
  • Master of Criminal Justice
  • Master in Creative Technologies
  • Master of Design
  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Economics
  • Master of Education
  • Master of Engineering
  • Master of Engineering Management
  • Master of Enterprise
  • Master of European Law
  • Master of Finance
  • Master of Financial Economics
  • Master of Financial Engineering
  • Master of Financial Mathematics
  • Master of Fine Arts
  • Master of Health Administration
  • Master of Health Science
  • Master of Humanities
  • Master of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Master of International Affairs
  • Master of International Business
  • Master of International Economics
  • Master of International Studies
  • Master of Information Systems Management
  • Master of Information Technology
  • Master of Jurisprudence
  • Master of Laws
  • Master of Studies of Law
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Letters
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Library and Information Science
  • Master of Management
  • Master of Mathematical Finance
  • Master of Mathematics
  • Master of Medical Science
  • Master of Music
  • Master of Occupational Therapy
  • Master of Pharmacy
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Master of Physician Assistant Studies
  • Master of Physics
  • Master of Political Science
  • Master of Professional Studies
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Public Affairds
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Public Policy
  • Master of Public Management
  • Master of Quantitative Finance
  • Master of Rabbinic Studies
  • Master of Real Estate Development
  • Master of Religious Education
  • Master of Research
  • Master of Sacred Music
  • Master of Sacred Theology
  • Master of Science
  • Master of Science in Education
  • Master of Science in Engineering
  • Master of Science in Finance
  • Master of Science in Human Resource Development
  • Master of Science in Information Systems
  • Master of Science in Information Technology
  • Master of Science in Leadership
  • Master of Science in Management
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Project Management
  • Master of Science in Supply Chain Management
  • Master of Science in Teaching
  • Master of Science in Taxation
  • Master of Social Science
  • Master of Social Work
  • Master of Studies
  • Master of Surgery
  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Master of Theology
  • Master of Urban Planning
  • Master of Veterinary Science


*Source: Wikipedia


Careers Requiring Master’s Degrees

A Master’s Degree is often required for many research-related and professional fields, or to gain higher seniority in many career tracks. While there are far too many careers available to master’s degree holders to list here, this is an extensive sampling of the variety of careers you can prepare for with many Master’s Degree programs:

  • Anthropologists and archeologists
  • Urban planners and consultants
  • Social workers
  • Tax policy consultants
  • Real estate developers and consultants
  • Master of Public Policy
  • Public policy consultants
  • Public administrators
  • Philosophers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Musicians
  • Management and finance consultants
  • Library and information science consultants
  • Landscape architects
  • IT consultants
  • Information systems management consultants
  • International business and economics consultants
  • International affairs consultants
  • Industrial and labor relations consultants
  • Mathematicians
  • Legal consultants
  • Theologians
  • Financial advisors
  • Commercial consultants
  • City Planners
  • Chemists
  • Business informatics specialists
  • Business managers and executives
  • Actors, directors, and theater artists
  • Visual and fine artists
  • Architects
  • Economists
  • Accountants
  • Curators
  • Education administrators for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools
  • Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors
  • Epidemiologists
  • Healthcare social workers
  • Historians
  • Hydrologists
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists
  • Instructional coordinators
  • Librarians
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Mathematicians
  • Mental health counselors
  • Occupational therapists
  • Orthotists and prosthetists
  • Physician assistants
  • Political scientists
  • Psychologists
  • Rehabilitation counselors
  • Sociologists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Statisticians
  • Urban and regional planners

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