So, you’ve just finished your bachelor’s, and you’re looking for a job. But, you feel like you aren’t quite done with your education. Maybe your dream job requires a higher qualification, or maybe you just want to learn more, and become an expert in your chosen field. If you meet either of these criteria, then it’s time to get yourself a Master’s degree.
The Master’s level has some of the most diverse options in any level of education, when it comes to choosing a program. There’s different subjects, majors, specializations, and teaching styles, and picking the right combination of all these factors can be a difficult choice. But, it’s an important one. Pursuing an even higher qualification than bachelors is pointless, if you’re not doing everything you can to set yourself up to succeed, and excel.
Types of Master’s
As stated previously, Master’s programs offer some of the greatest diversity in all of education, and this is achieved by having a large variety of programs to choose from. Here are some of the most popular Master’s degrees:
Master of Science, or M.Sc, is one of the most popular and common types of Master’s degrees offered around the world. It takes 1 or 2 years to complete, and is offered to students specializing in sciences such as Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Applied Sciences, Earth Sciences and Information Technology.
Master of Arts, or M.A, is another very common degree, being the most common alongside M.Sc. It takes 1 or 2 years to complete, and is offered to students pursuing humanities, in fields such as: History, Geography, Philosophy, Fine Arts and Social Sciences.
Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is a general management degree, educating students in fields such as finances, human resources, marketing, strategic thinking and operations management. An MBA focuses on creating a well-rounded businessperson, not just a specialist in 1 or 2 fields.
The thing that sets an MBA apart from other Master’s programs is that it requires work experience, and thus cannot be started right after finishing your Bachelor’s.
Master of Laws, or LL.M, is the postgraduate degree for students majoring in law. As a Bachelor’s in law is already sufficient in countries such as the UK in order to practice Law, the Master of Laws is considered supplementary, standing for an advanced legal qualification in a certain subject area.
In contrast to other Master’s degree types, the Master of Laws is not that widespread. Many countries require one to pass a state administered law test, referred to commonly as the Bar, in order to practice law professionally.
Master of Philosophy, or M.Phil, is a postgraduate research degree. Unlike the others on this list, an M.Phil is usually awarded to students pursuing a PhD. The Master of Philosophy is awarded after completing the first part of the Ph.D. studies and submitting a first short report or dissertation and is thus often seen as a formality only.
What to Consider
Here are a few things you should consider when choosing one of the above, or even a Master’s that is not mentioned here:
While it is perfectly fine to pursue a Master’s out of a passion for learning, it is generally best to choose one that will help you in your career of choice. This applies both to regular jobs, and staying in academia or research. Many higher ranking positions can often require a Master’s degree, so it’s important to keep your career choice in mind while picking, as it can greatly help you with career advancement.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Take stock of your own strengths and weaknesses. Figure out which subjects you excel in, and what teaching style suits you the best, as these things can vary greatly between Master’s programs. The QS Course Matching Tool can greatly help with this, picking out the school that best matches all your needs.
Consider whether or not you meet the requirements of the course, and whether or not you have the time to make the kind of commitment it will require.
Some Master’s degrees require specific courses to be completed in undergraduate programs before you can be admitted to the program, and even if you manage to gain admission without the required undergraduate courses, you may be required to take them. This may increase your time demands and you will not be on track to finish within the allotted time, or it may make the course entirely out of reach, if you have other commitments that require your time.
Choose a specialization for your Master’s degree. Thus could be based on your own personal interest in a specific field of study, or it could be something you feel could help in your choses career path. Whatever the reason, try and pick a field you already like, as having a passion for a subject will help you study it better.