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Master’s Degrees – Postgraduate Academic Degrees

More than 50,000 students in the US obtain a Master’s degree each year. Nearly every degree program offers the option to earn a Master’s degree, although the most common are available in science and the arts. A Master’s degree gives students the opportunity to take specialised classes and gain extensive knowledge in a specific field of their desire. For example, someone who wants to work in the health field may earn a Master’s degree in health science, or health administration. Master’s programs open up many new opportunities for those who complete them.

What Is a Master’s Program?

The goal of a Master’s program is to help students gain new skill sets and specialised knowledge in their chosen fields. Each program will vary depending on its field, with some programs requiring internships and others requiring thesis papers. Some parts of Master’s programs in the US remain consistent:

  • Types of programs: There are two types of Master’s programs in the US. Professional programs prepare students to go directly into a career once they earn their degree. Academic Master’s programs prepare recipients to go on to earn a doctoral degree.
  • Time to earn a Master’s degree: The time it takes to earn a Master’s degree varies. Typically, it takes between one and two years. However, some people choose to accelerate their courses in an attempt to earn the degree within a year. Other people opt to take the classes on a part time schedule and earn the degree in three or more years. Depending on the field of study, students may be able to choose what works best for them, or they may be required to stick to a strict schedule.
  • Requirements to enter the program: To earn a Master’s degree in the US, students must take exams to demonstrate their capabilities. In some cases, the exams are the ones individual professors give at the end of the course. In other cases, students may have to take a cumulative exam about everything they learned while earning their Bachelor’s degree. Students must earn a Bachelor’s degree before going on to get a Master’s. Before graduation, students may need to present and defend an academic thesis to a board of professors and peers.
  • What the program includes: Master’s programs often include taking between six and eight specialised courses. Some of them will be required, but others could be elective courses. Depending on the field of study, a special project or internship may be required in addition to a thesis paper.
  • How classes work: Master’s degree classes are generally much smaller because only about 3 percent of students go on to earn one. The smaller student-teacher ratio allows for more individualised teaching, which also allows students to take a more creative approach to their education.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Master’s?

Getting a Master’s degree in any field offers several benefits. One reason many students choose to earn a Master’s degree is because of the financial reward. People who have a Master’s in the US often earn thousands of dollars more per year than those who only have a Bachelor’s degree. The employment opportunities are often greater. Many careers now require a Master’s degree. In addition, students who want to advance in their field once they graduate will usually need a Master’s to be eligible for promotions and other career advancement opportunities. Many people enjoy the credibility and recognition that having a Master’s degree earns them. When others see that someone has gone above and beyond the norm in their schooling, they are more likely to listen to their opinions and ideas. Finally, some people choose to earn a Master’s degree simply because they enjoy the sense of personal growth and accomplishment they get after graduating.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect With a Master’s?

The types of careers a person can get after earning a Master’s degree are quite broad and will vary depending on the field of study. Some people will find they have more opportunity to plan and execute large projects or programs for multi-national corporations. Others find themselves leading teams of their peers. Those who wish to teach must receive a Master’s degree to teach in a college or university. Even some high schools are requiring Master’s degrees now. Regardless of the field of study, those who have a Master’s degree are more likely to get job interviews and be hired simply because the degree shows they take initiative to be the best they can be.

University of California - Irvine

Irvine, United States

  • 83SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 28,000Average Tuition
  • 30%Acceptance Rate

The University of California - Irvine is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities with a campus in Irvine; a suburban area in California, U.S.A. Through its faculties, the university offers over master’s degree programs....

Arizona State University

Tempe, United States

  • 144SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 23,544Average Tuition
  • 84%Acceptance Rate

The Arizona State University is the largest public university by enrollment in the U.S. ASU comprises 16 colleges and schools that offer more personalized experiences for students, while offering opportunities to collaborate across disciplines and campuses....

University of Illinois - Chicago

Chicago, United States

  • 170SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 42,430Average Tuition
  • 74%Acceptance Rate

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a public research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States and has 15 academic schools through which it offers interesting master’s degree programs in a wide range of subject areas....

The University of Utah

Salt Lake City, United States

  • 185SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 21,296Average Tuition
  • 81.7%Acceptance Rate

University of Utah (the U) is a research-focused university located in Utah, United States, with it’s Asia campus located in South Korea. The U offers a wide range of master’s degree programs across nearly a 100 academic departments. These departments include Architecture, Biochemistry, Computing, Environmental Engineering, and Philosophy....

University of Puget Sound

Tacoma, United States

  • 189SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 41,000Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

The University of Puget Sound is a private located in the North End of Tacoma, Washington, in the United States. The University offers a variety of master's degree programs....

Illinois State University

Normal, United States

  • 192SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 33,465Average Tuition
  • 74%Acceptance Rate

Illinois State University is the first publicly-funded higher education institution in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. It offers undergraduate majors and graduate degree programs in a wide variety of concentrations including applied science and technology, arts and sciences, business, education, fine arts, and nursing. Illinois State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission....

Pace University

New York, United States

  • 198SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 22,000Average Tuition
  • 85%Acceptance Rate

Pace University (Pace) is a private institution located in New York, USA. Pace has two campuses across the USA, with the main campus in New York City and another campus in Westchester. Pace offers over 60 master's degree programs through its five academic colleges namely, College of Health Professions; Dyson College of Arts and Sciences; Lubin School of Business; School of Education; and Seidenberg School of CSIS. ...

DePaul University

Chicago, United States

  • 201SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 52,402Average Tuition
  • 70%Acceptance Rate

DePaul University is a private Catholic University located in Chicago, Illinois, US. DePaul University offers master's degre programmes in fields including Business, Engineering, Computer Science, Social Sciences and more. DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to grant master's degree programmes. ...

Duquesne University

Pittsburgh, United States

  • 209SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 25,000Average Tuition
  • 73%Acceptance Rate

Duquesne University is one of the largest and most comprehensive private Catholic universities located in the urban area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Duquesne offers a wide variety of master's degree programs....

Northeastern University

Boston, United States

  • 210SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 62,800Average Tuition
  • 32%Acceptance Rate

Northeastern University located in Boston, Massachusetts, offers 150 undergraduate majors of study and 125 graduate areas of study through its nine colleges and schools of Arts, Media & Design; Business, Computer & Information Science; Engineering; Health Sciences; Law; Professional Studies; Science; and Social Sciences & Humanities; as well as select advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto....