A master’s degree is the first level of graduate study. To apply for a master degree you usually must already hold an undergraduate degree (a bachelor’s degree).
A master’s degree typically requires a year and one-half to two years of full-time study.
To earn a master’s degree you usually need to complete from 36 to 54 semester credits of study (or 60 to 90 quarter-credits). This equals 12 to 18 college courses. Most master’s degrees are awarded by public or state universities.
The number of professionals with master’s degrees increased by 63 percent from 1996 to 2010. The National Council for Education Statistics projects added growth of another 34 percent by the year 2022.
Even more promising, twenty-first century technology has expanded opportunities to provide many flexible online master’s programs.
When choosing a master’s program, consider your professional career needs then target academic goals. Master’s degrees often focus on a single specialty area. For example, you may earn a Master of Science in Addiction Counseling or a Master of Science in Reading and Literacy. The ability to focus on one niche makes your graduate degree a good credential if you want to focus your career in a high-demand niche area.
Here’s the short answer: a master’s degree program typically requires a year and one-half to two years of full-time study spanning 36 to 54 semester credits.
Some graduate school programs offer flexible coursework for working people who still want to pursue a master’s degree without quitting their job. Some might choose to apply to traditional brick and mortar programs. Others prefer to get their master’s online for the benefits of self-scheduling and accelerated course offerings.
A master degree is good choice when you…
Yes. Pursuing your master’s online is a best bet if you want to advance your career in a field where you already have previous professional experience and you hold an accredited bachelor’s degree. Certain organizations in fields like education, medicine, and engineering may even require their top level employees to have master’s degrees.
The final step is to consider the requirements of each master’s degree and narrow based on your personal needs and preferences.
Because graduate school involves more of an in-depth and theoretical look at its subjects, group discussion and debate are important. Today’s online discussion forums provide an inviting environment for students to engage their peers.
As with any college degree, make sure that the program to which you apply is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization. The cheapest master’s degree may look good to your wallet, but not to your future.
It’s also important to note that many graduate programs— specifically those in the medical, educational, and technological fields—also require practical experience, internships, and capstone projects as part of the graduation requirements. In addition to writing papers, taking part in class discussions, and listening to professors’ lectures, students are required to have actual professional experience. In most cases, this can be achieved simply by maintaining a current career and having a supervisor sign off on your “practical experience.”
A teacher pursuing her Master of Education will have to log hours in a practicum. Since she is already teaching, an administrator can supervise a lesson and sign off on practice hours.
Similarly, a nurse pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Management can create a management plan and present it to his current bosses for credit towards the degree.