Several factors come into play when deciding whether to pursue a Master’s degree. With competition in the workplace today, the Master’s has become the new Bachelor’s. Most employers assume that today’s workers already come prepared with a Bachelor’s degree; a Master’s degree indicates extra effort and quality in a candidate. Yet many pursue a Master’s degree for the love of the subject, and this is truly what will give the program you select real meaning for your life.
Selecting a Master’s degree is a serious investment, even if you are given a tuition waiver, have a research assistantship, or have your Master’s degree paid for by your employer. It is an investment of your time, effort, and usually a considerable financial investment as well. As a result, there are a few questions every Master’s candidate should ask themselves before selecting a program. These questions apply to both traditional and online coursework:
1. Does the Master’s program at the university I am selecting offer what I want? It seems simple enough, but many university programs emphasize a specialization. If that’s not your main focus of interest, this probably isn’t the university for you.
2. What financial aid and work opportunities will be available to graduate students in this program? Most students need some financial support when pursuing a Master’s degree. How much can your chosen school help you?
3. What is the reputation of the program? A great university will have some departments that shine and others that are no better than a less expensive college.
4. What type of networking possibilities exist from this program? A university with famous scholars in your chosen field can open doors for you. Are the professors too busy to care about their graduate students, or do they have an interest in helping them succeed once they’ve left the university?
5. Does the Master’s program emphasize academic research or practical application in the field? It’s important to decide what your own intentions are upon completing your Master’s degree and to evaluate how your program’s emphasis fits in with your own life goals.
In short, a Master’s degree can be a wonderful addition to your resume, a life goal that allows you to pursue the subject of your dreams, a new door opening on your life path. Choosing the right program can make all the difference.