Our priorities and preferences change all the time. Students worldwide opt to select a master’s program that is not entirely an extension of their undergraduate degree. For example, a student of economics may like to pursue a master of law degree. It is of utmost importance that you have a clear understanding of the types of master’s degrees offered. Knowing all the types of master’s degrees will help you make better decisions: course-based programs, thesis-based programs, and professional programs.
Course-based master’s programs are based on lectures, seminars, and practical work experience. The thesis-based master’s programs are slightly different from the course-based programs due to their emphasis on research. As a student, you will be required to produce a thesis or research paper at the end of the program.
Professional programs are a little different from course-based and thesis-based programs. Though many label professional programs as course-based programs, they are not the same. Professional programs emphasize a broad curriculum to prepare students for a career in that field. Even though traditional theories are taught, a much greater emphasis is put on real-world application of the knowledge gained. Most professional programs require students to complete an internship or co-op before graduation.
The scope of a bachelor's degree, accepted for a master's degree is wide-ranged. For example, a student with a sociology degree can pursue a law degree. GRE or GMAT may be required. The student must make sure that they have fulfilled all the prerequisite courses though.
Thesis-based programs: Prerequisites for thesis-based programs are generally a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, some research experience, English language proficiency, if required and aptitude tests, if required. Most thesis-based programs require aptitude test results such as GRE or GMAT for both domestic and international students during admission.
Some programs may waive GRE or GMAT, sometimes.
Course-based programs: The prerequisites for course-based programs are generally a relevant bachelor’s degree, relevant work experience (sometimes it is required), English language proficiency and aptitude test results.
Professional programs: Professional programs such as MBA or MTEI accept students from across different disciplines. Professional schools emphasize work experience more, compared to bachelor’s degrees. If you want to work in the professional world, first gain hands-on work experience, learning the core principles and practices. Afterwards, you should be ready to pursue a professional degree. Most professional programs require at least 2-5 years of work experience before you can apply. Almost all programs require GRE or GMAT.
Most programs, except professional programs, can be either thesis or course-based programs. When applying, read the program description carefully to find out. Sometimes, universities offer master’s programs which are course-based for year one and, in the second-year, students may choose either a thesis- or course-based track.
1. Master of Arts (MA): A Master of Arts degree is awarded in arts or social science disciplines such as, education, communication, linguistics, literature, geography, history and music. Students take a combination of lectures, seminars, exams, and independent research projects. In some countries, a Masters of Letters (MLitt) is awarded to students instead. A MLitt is equivalent to the MA program.
2. Master of Science (MSc or MS): Master of Science degree is awarded in science disciplines such as, biology, engineering, health, chemistry, computer science and statistics. Certain domains such as economics fall under both arts and science.
3. Master of Fine Arts (MFA): Master of Fine Arts is for students who want to pursue a career as professional artists, musicians, or singers. You will learn academic theory or analysis and develop advanced performance and creative skills. It is a practice-based degree equivalent to MA.
4. Master by Research (Mphil): MPhil is an advanced research-based program that allows a student to take on particular research independently. It works as a precursor towards a Ph.D. degree. If you are unsure if you want to pursue a Ph.D. degree, you should start with an MPhil. An MPhil degree can prepare you to become a scientist or researcher.
5. Master of Research (MRes): MRes is similar to MPhil in that it prepares a student to become a future researcher. MRes provides students an advantage if they plan to pursue a Ph.D. in the future.
Integrated Master’s programs are combined degrees offered with another program. It can be offered either with a bachelor’s or Ph.D. degree. Many universities offer integrated master’s programs where students take in-depth courses for a longer period. For example, Mphil students upgrade as Ph.D. students and receive a higher Ph.D. degree.
Don’t be surprised If you see a four-year MEng program in the U.K. It is a common undergraduate master’s degree, where undergraduate students receive an MEng degree after four years. Another common form of an integrated master’s degree is “Four-year Ph.D..” These four-year Ph.D. degrees include one year of master’s before students start a three-year Ph.D. program.
There are many types of professional degrees that are tailored to different careers. The most common professional degrees include:
1. Doctor of Jurisprudence or Juris Doctor (JD): This professional degree, Juris doctor, prepares a student for a career in practicing law. Lawyers can specialize in administrative, constitutional, criminal, or other forms of law.
2. Doctor of Medicine: The doctor of medicine prepares students to pursue a career in medicine or surgery. Typical medical programs last for four years and students are required to work at a hospital as a doctor (resident) before completing their degree. Some examples of specialty medical degrees are: Doctor of Podiatry (D.P.M., D.P., Pod.D.), Doctor of Optometry (O.D.), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.), etc. Specialties take a few more years to complete.
3. Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.D.S. or D.M.D): Any medical program offered to students interested in studying dental medicine.
4. Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.): Typical, a pharmacy degree is a four-year professional degree in pharmacy.
5. Doctor of Education (EdD): The doctor of education is for educators and professionals who want to implement change within their organizations.
6. Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD): A doctor of Pharmacy prepares individuals to work in the pharmaceutical industry with opportunities in research, teaching, clinical practice, and other key areas of the pharmacy industry.
7. Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N): If you have a bachelor or associate degree and want to become a nurse practitioner then you must pursue a Master in Nursing. This typical program is generally two years which include practicum and coursework.
8. Master of Health Administration (M.H.A): This is generally a two- or three-year program for students interested in pursuing a successful career in health administration.
9. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M., or V.M.D.): Do you love caring for animals? Well, this program is for students who want to become a veterinary doctor. A typical program is four years long.
10. Master of Business Administration (MBA): A Master of Business Administration is typically a two-year program that prepares students for a variety of jobs. You can become anything from a business analyst to a financial manager.
11. Master of Engineering (MEng): A Master of Engineering is a highly specialized program offered to students who wish to become professional engineers. These programs are highly competitive and rarely offer any scholarships.
12. Master of Law (LLM): The term LLM came from the Latin words “Legum Magister”, which means “Law Master.” This professional degree is accepted and established worldwide. Advanced training and expertise will make you more attractive to law firms.
Master degrees are commonly referred to as graduate degrees worldwide. However, in some parts of the world, especially Europe, graduate or master’s programs are known as second-cycle programs. Here’s a complete list of master’s degrees in quasi alphabetical order. Scroll to the bottom to get a general idea of how many there are:
Master of Accountancy
Master of Advanced Study
Master of Applied Finance
Master of Applied Science
Master of Architecture
Master of Arts
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
Master of Arts in Special Education
Master of Arts in Teaching
Master of Bioethics
Master of Business Administration
Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology
Master of Business
Master of Business Engineering
Master of Business Informatics
Master of Chemistry
Master of Christian Education
Master of City Planning
Master of Commerce
Master of Computational Finance
Master of Computer Applications
Master of Counselling
Master of Criminal Justice
Master of Creative Technologies
Master of Data Science
Master of Defence Studies
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 Economics
Master of Health Science
Master of Humanities
Master of Industrial and Labor Relations
Master of International Affairs
Master of International Business
Masters of International Economics
Master of International Studies
Master of Information and Cybersecurity
Master of Information and Data Science
Master of Information Management
Master of Information System Management
Master of Journalism
Master of Jurisprudence
Master of Laws
Master of Mass Communication
Master of Studies in Law
Master of Landscape Architecture
Master of Letters
Master of Liberal Arts
Master of Library and Information Science
Master of Management
Master of Management of Innovation
Master of Mathematical Finance
Master of Mathematics
Master of Medical Science
Master of Medicine
Masters of Military Art and Science
Master of Military Operational Art and Science
Master of Ministry
Master of Music
Master of Occupational Behaviour and Development
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 Psychology
Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Affairs
Master of Public Health
Master of Public Management
Master of Public Policy
Master of Public Relations
Master of Social Work
Master of Public Service
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 Administration
Master of Science in Archaeology
Master of Science in Biblical Archaeology
Master of Science in Bioinformatics
Master of Science in Computer Science
Master of Science in Counselling
Master of Science in Cyber Security
Master of Science in Engineering
Master of Science in Development Administration
Master of Science in Finance
Master of Science in Health Informatics
Master of Science in Human Resource Development
Master of Science in Information Assurance
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 Strategic Studies
Master of Studies
Master of Surgery
Master of Taxation
Master of Theological Studies
Master of Technology
Master of Theology
Master of Urban Planning
Master of Veterinary Science