In today’s day and age, continuing education is necessary in order to find stable employment. Normally, after graduating high school, students will decide to go to college on a quest to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree that is normally earned in four years. While that is a tremendous accomplishment, the journey may not always end there. There are those who are not content with a Bachelor’s and look to seek further knowledge in their field. This comes in the form of earning a Master’s Degree.
What is a Master’s Degree?
A Master’s degree is an advanced, academic degree given by colleges. It is the first step in someone’s post-graduate career. This is awarded to one who has showcased a superior level of expertise in a field of study or practice. Combining a specialized body of knowledge with a high level of skill associated with their specific specialty, students are awarded a Master’s degree, typically after they earn their Bachelor’s degree.
A Master’s degree also has a variety of ways it can be earned. For example, one could opt to earn their Master’s on a part-time schedule, coinciding with their schedule or other commitments they may have. Other Master’s programs are offered online, where the student only needs to attend a course online.
With online Master’s degrees, there is much debate as to the credibility of many programs. While there are plenty of reputable programs that can be earned from the comfort of one’s computer, a lot of employers are skeptical about Master’s degrees that are earned online because of a questionable reputation. If one plans to pursue a Master’s degree online, adequately researching success rates, reputation and the program itself is vital. It is also generally a good idea to ask employers in advance on what their stance is on those who earn their degrees online. Some may not be accepting.
Getting a Master’s degree comes with a litany of benefits when it comes to career development. First, it provides you with extra credentials and makes one stands out in a field of candidates. A Master’s degree not only increases personal and professional knowledge about a specific topic of study, but it also increases your chances of getting employed. In addition, those who obtain a Master’s degree tend to earn more in their careers than those who only have a Bachelor’s degree to their name.
There are many who also seek a Master’s degree for the academic challenge associated in the journey. There is an exponentially increased workload, a higher level of work, required independently sourced research and a closer relationship with your profession when compared to a Bachelor’s. Earning a Master’s means that one has a clearly defined passion for the subject, and successfully earning one provides a great deal of personal satisfaction due to the challenges that will be overcome.
There are primarily two variations of Master’s degrees based on the specific kind of work that the student will undergo. There are taught Master’s degrees and Master’s degrees obtained via research. Taught Master’s degrees, also known as course-based Master’s degrees entail a more structured program. Students typically follow a series of seminars, supervisions, and lectures which end with the student designing their own research project. On the other hand, research Master’s degrees entail much more independent work, which permits students to pursue a long-term research project and involves less time teaching. The specific names of Master’s depend on the area of study and requirements for entry.
In terms of the specific requirements to qualify to enter a Master’s degree program, you must have completed an undergraduate degree at a separate college or university. Degrees such as a Bachelor’s of Arts (known as a BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) are some examples. A Bachelor’s in other fields of study in an undergraduate program also qualify. Typically, colleges require evidence that you have completed an undergraduate program before an official letter of admission is administered. This is a legal requirement under the United States. Other requirements can vary from college to college, because some may require that you obtain a Bachelor’s in the same field that is intended for their Master’s.
A student pursuing a Master’s degree will also be expected to complete a thesis as a part of their coursework in order to graduate. This is a general, expected requirement for all Master’s students. This is a document that addresses a specific problem within their topic area and proposes a solution to the problem. The thesis strives to answer a question and what specific ways the problem can be solved. This paper requires a great deal of research and is very detailed.
Because of the intensity of this thesis and the amount of work required in order to complete it, a team of advisors guides the student through the thesis in order to successfully complete it. When the thesis is completed, it usually goes through an approval process by the Academic Dean before the document is fully accepted. The thesis is the final obstacle a student must overcome in order to successfully graduate.
Financing a Master’s degree is something that many who want to pursue a postgraduate career have to consider. In order to get a Bachelor’s degree, students often require financial aid from the government in order to pay tuition. Because most Bachelor’s students are generally dependent on their parents, they are approved for financial aid that covers room and board. However, a Master’s degree grants students less financial aid. Typically, a smaller grant to cover part of their education is given, whereas the rest require another source of funding. Many who seek to earn this degree try paying for the degree out of pocket as they work or gradually save over a period of time.
The primary reason students pursue a Master’s degree is to improve their chances of maximizing their career earnings and make a great living. In order to fully substantiate the decision to earn a degree, one should research the employment rates of those who earn the degree in the area of study and determine if earning a Master’s will provide one with an adequate return on investment.
Perhaps the most important consideration before submitting an application for a Master’s program is the job market in that field. A great program will provide you with the adequate training you need to pursue your career, but it is recommended to have the school provide statistics on job placement and where recent graduates are able to find employment. Professionals who have the same degree should also be consulted for advice and see where there are opportunities for employment and where there are vacancies.
Usually, Master’s degrees can take anywhere from one to three years to complete through part or full-time study. This usually entails a total of 36 to 54 credits earned throughout the duration of the program. However, there are other factors that can influence how long it takes one to complete the program. Everything from the school, major and the program in question can all affect the time period it will take to earn a Master’s. Most classes are around 3 credit hours and some are 4. Being enrolled in school part-time means that 6 credit hours will be completed per semester. 9 to 12 hours will be earned per semester if you are enrolled at the school on a full-time basis.
If one is earning their Master’s degree on a full-time basis, they can expect to finish their degree in 1.5 to 2 years. However, due to personal schedule restrictions, this number can be elongated. If one has to go through a Bachelor’s degree before obtaining their Master’s, the total time spent can be 5 to 7 years in total.
Obtaining a Master’s degree comes with many benefits for those who want to pursue knowledge and a higher place in their career. It is an advanced educational degree and is a sign that one is a professional in their craft. There are many factors to consider when it comes to earning one, but achieving this goal puts one in a great position to earn more income and add impressive credentials to their portfolio.