What is required for a Master's degree?

Before you make the decision to pursue your Master's Degree it is important to understand not only what kinds of obstacles you may encounter but also what the future benefits may be. You should make this decision before you begin work on your Bachelor's program in order to maintain a consistent flow of learning.

Master's Degree Overview

Master's degrees only have two different types: they are either professional or academic in nature. The professional Master's Degree is also known as a "terminal" Master's degree because it essentially prepares you for entry into a specific type of job or job categories. The use of the term "terminal" implies there is no other degree requirements for that particular type of career. You will usually see professional Master's degree programs including specific initials such as the M.B.A. for a Master of Business Administration or M.L.S. to denote Master of Library Science.

On the other hand an academic Master's degree focuses on research and educational studies in one specific area. There is a probability that those who hold academic Master's degrees will continue to pursue their educations on the doctorate level in order to have the skills and education necessary to specialize in a particular segment of the field. The designations are very general in nature such as Master of Arts or Master of Science.

Work Required to Obtain a Master's Degree

If you are thinking of pursuing a Master's degreeyou must be prepared to invest two or three years into full-time coursework. You must also be prepared to have limited flexibility if your interest is in the sciences. This is because you will probably be completing your lab research or outside fieldwork under the direct supervision of one of the other professors or other faculty members. This may be due to the fact students will be researching those topics that are of interest to the faculty rather than what is of interest to the individual student.

Professional Master's programs may also require students to complete internships and other types of practical education that allows the student to gain some experience working in his or her field of choice. You may also need to take a final exam or complete a project such as a Master's thesis or an extremely long research paper.

Length and Scope of Commitment

It usually takes an additional two years to earn your Master's degree after you complete your Bachelor's degree. The additional two years you spend earning your degree opens many more opportunities for you to achieve success in your field. Whether you obtain a Master of Arts or Master of Sciences degree depends more on the college you attend than the focus of your degree itself.

There are many different fields that offer Master's degrees, in fact that is no difference than Bachelor's degrees although there are some fields that offer special degrees such as the Master's in Social Work (MSW) or the Master's in Business Administration (MBA). What is different with a Master's degree program is that while there are classes involved just like the Bachelor's degree program, they tend to more like seminars than lectures and involve a substantial amount of discussion and student interaction. Students also must engage in more analytical thinking and analysis than they did as undergraduates.

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