What is a master’s degree? A master’s degree is awarded by colleges and universities to students who have completed 1-2 years of specialized study in addition to completing a bachelor’s degree. Master’s degrees are awarded in numerous fields, including business ( M.B.A.) nursing (M.S.N.) and teaching( M.Ed., M.A.E.,Ed.M. ). A master’s degree is often necessary to pursue doctoral ( Ph.D) studies.
A master’s degree generally requires 1-2 years academic study and research in addition to earning a bachelor’s degree. Post graduate study in addition to a thesis, research project or in field training are all common requirements of a master’s degrees. A comprehensive exam at the completion of the master’s program is frequently required. The academic requirements, research and in field training is specialized and challenging, and many programs require a minimum of a B average for a master’s degree to be awarded.
A university or college should be accredited by a recognized accreditation agency in order to award master’s degrees. Traditionally, colleges did not have master’s programs. This is not true today. A student should explore the programs of the learning institution they are interested in and ascertain if proper accreditation has been obtained. Information on the accreditation process can be explored on the U.S. Department of Education web site (www.ed.gov.).
Master’s degrees are available in a wide range of fields. Generally, master’s degrees can be divided into two categories; terminal degrees and pre doctorate degrees. Terminal master degrees do not lead to doctoral programs. Terminal degrees prepare a student to enter the workforce and are considered the final educational achievement of that field of study. A master of business administration (M.B.A.) is an example of a terminal master’s degree. Often a master’s degree is the entry level credential, or the credential needed for advancement, in a particular field. Terminal programs to not lead into doctoral programs. For those interested in pursuing a doctoral degree, a master’s program that is a stepping stone to further study is needed. A student should explore whether the program they are interested in is pre doctoral or terminal in nature.
Each educational institution has its’ own requirements for awarding master’s degrees. A college or university sets forth the requirements in its’ admission materials. Prior work experience is often considered for admission to master’s programs, and some institutions grant academic credit for said experience. Master’s programs are available online and are offered to part time students.