Master’s Degree: everything You need know

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Education is the key factor that helps an individual stand out from the crowd with his power of right thinking and ability of decision making towards genuine or hypothetical situations. In order to shape better society, a nation always focuses on youth generation which toils day & night to bring progress in respective communities and eventually the communities help nation grow and develop.

Furthermore, when education makes such path-breaking differences in the society as well as in the nation, there comes a benchmark that evaluates education by comparison with a standard normally known as grades.

In India, people tend to have different grades throughout their career though the highest grade-holder a person will be, the more respect and recognition he will have in the field of education. To a certain extent, under graduation is the most underrated grade and thus a huge number of educators go for Master’s and Post-graduation. Here, the Master’s Degree will be discussed which will help get the answers of:

  • What is Master’s Degree?
  • What is Master’s Degree composed of?
  • What are modes of acquiring Master’s Degree?
  • What types of Master’s Degree there are?
  • How much does it cost for Master’s Degree?
  • How much years does it take?
  • What benefits does Master’s Degree have?
  • What are the eligibilities to enroll Master’s Degree?
  • What are benefits Master’s Degree?

Composition of Master’s Degree

Master’s degree coursework composition is generally categorised into 4 groups. They are:

1- The General Courses (~10%) : These courses play a foundational role in terms of knowledge and information of further content over the course. In often cases, it only serves as a supportive source to the course and connected to the main focus of study.

2- The Major Core (~50%) : The Major Core contains the selected set of multiple subjects that help the student build an authentic and pertinent education career for a better working experience.

3- The Elective (~15%) : In order to get total number of hours needed for master’s degree, the candidate may have some extra hours to spend on elective coursework. This is a form of work a candidate elects from a list of elective courseworks available. It has a manor effect on personalizing the degree and building a well-developed personality. 

4- The Capstone (~25%) : In construction of a building or a house, as stone at the top or final stone plays a major role similarly in education, a capstone course is the culmination round of a course or master’s degree in respect to this context. Before a candidate move to capstone stage, he will have to put forward a proposal that approved by professor or course guide.

Modes of Master’s Degree

In many cases, a Master’s Degree, not like other courses and degrees, is designed for working professionals and therefore many options are provided in the flexibility of mode of study. They are:

  1. Distance Learning: In distance learning, a student can learn the whole subject via internet, attend a short residential course or visit the respective institutions intermittently.
  2. Part-Time Learning: A part-time learning is a form of learning where a professional worker is given the choice of structuring the course schedule around the job time or during other priorities and commitments.
  3. Weekend Learning: In weekend learning (two days of week, Saturday & Sunday), a student is provided the option of attending classes on weekly basis so that he can organize time and work as per the need of course.

Costs of Master’s Degree

As like other aspects, the costs of master’s will vary on the basis of many factors such as subject and course, institutions, infrastructure, health facilities and other services in respect to education, research and accommodation.

On an average, the costs spent during a master’s degree for a student is between $30,000 and $120,000 (₹2,250,000 to ₹9,000,000. This amount includes tuition, tech support fees, counselling fees, laboratory fees, clinical courses, exam proctoring, transcript fees, assessments for course-level placement and many more services provided.

Period of Master’s Degree

When a student starts thinking of a course or a degree, the very thought that probably first strikes in the mind is the timeline required. The time length a master’s degree typically needs is one year to three years.

There are several factors that help increase or decrease the time commitment involved in acquiring the master’s degree. Therefore, it will depend on programs or subjects the candidate is interested in, the choice of study mode opted and many more aspects to be considered. Some of the main factors are:

Curriculum or Credit Hours

Carriculam is one of the main factors that help determine how long a degree will take. In general, colleges and universities use credit hours to measure how many credits a candidate is must to earn master’s.

In order to earn master’s degree, a cadidate usually requires to complete about 30-60 semester credits of study with a minimum grade of 3.0 or B. Nevertheless, there are some courses or subjects that allow students earn their degrees even after having not sufficient credits without compromising the quality and integrity of the coursework.

Anyhow, here the point is that the credits change the timeline needed for master’s completion on the basis of hours used for.

Subject

In respect to timescale, subjects play a substantial role making differences in duration of completion for degrees. Subjects like MSC, MEd, MSN and MEng take one to two years and subjects MBA, MHA, MLS, MPA, MSW and MPH tend to have a standard length of two years and subjects.

Time-Period Enrollment

The time-period enrollment is about part-time or full-time enrollment of course. Each options coming with advantages and challenges, determines how much duration the degree would take.

In comparison to part-time enrollment, a full-time student will bear full course load and finish the degree within a matter of year whereas a part-time approach will take a bit more time typically two to three years.

 In full-time, the student will have go through several challenges of personal, professional and family commitments simultaneously the part-time ease the candidate in thse respects and lag him behind in terms of duration of completion of degree.

Distant & in-person course

Nowadays, students have the flexibility to pursue the education on the basis of their own state and circumstances. Some online master’s courses give the students same access to the carriculam as their on-campus counterparts provide them all without having to move.

On this basis, the distant course grants flexibility to learn the topics and subjects at best time and schedule entire classwork around feasible duration. It also provides the power to bear heavier course load when gets the right time which eventually helps taking more credits at once and complete the master’s in short period.

Types of Master’s Degree

When it comes to discuss types of Master’s Degree, normally it is categorized into two:

Taught/Course-Based Master’s

A Taught Master’s is a degree based on structured course modules taught via lectures, seminars, laboratory work, distance learning, and tutorials. When it is called Taught Master’s, it doesn’t mean it will exclude or will not focus on research rather I mean that it is not entirely research. In fact, the reader will be expected to present, write dissertation, complete heavy paperwork and many more.

Research/Research-Based Master’s

A Research Master’s is a course based on complete research and the reader will be assessed throughout the year rather than only on set of exams. Here, the student will have to carry out their own project in a specialized field of study.

This course if for those who already have an idea of what they are supposed to do and they are sure that they will stay motivated and self-driven throughout course. Normally, Research Master’s take a little more time than Taught Master’s to complete the course.

It will not be wrong to mention that Masters can be also categorized with regard to content, type of coursework, specialization and entry requirements as follows: 

Master’s Degree in Subjects

The following are some distinct type of Master’s Degree commonly awarded by colleges and universities. Though there is no standard system of evaluation, there will be some variations like classifications, course details, costs, years of completions and many more from college to college and university to university in terms of name and content of course. Some of most common courses are:

Master of Arts (MA)

A Master’s of Arts (MA) is usually granted by colleges in respective categories like arts and other branches of social sciences such as literature, language, linguistic, geography, history, music and communication. Students are taught through various lectures and seminars and evaluated by exams, dissertation or any independent research projects.

Master of Science (MS, MSc)

A Master of Science (MS, MSc) is usually granted in disciplines of sciences such as physics, geology, biology, chemistry, engineering, pathology, cytology and various other branches of science. In some institutions, economics and social sciences come under the category of Master of Science.

Therefore, it is on universities and colleges to put these master’s degrees on which line they consider the best or suitable. For the most part of such cases, MS has more strength of holding the weight than MA.

Master of Studies (MSt)

A Master of Studies (MSt) is usually granted after the completion of entire process of learning subjects, writing thesis and attending exams and therefore to a particular scale compared with respective types of Master’s like MA or MS. Normally, the course of MSt is taught in only few institutions inclusive of University of Oxford and University of Cambridge a.k.a. Oxbridge University.

In some cases, An MSt is promoted to a provisional enrolment for a PhD. More often than not, it happens with Oxbridge University students who after a defined time-period and completion of Bachelor’s Arts, are automatically awarded an MA whereas if the student has completed MSt will get a bit more benefit in the field of study throughout his PhD career.

Master of Research (MRes)

A Master of Research (MRes) is a form of degree designed to train the student on how to become a better researcher. Not like MA or MSc courses, an MRes may provide the students an advantage to know if they are interested enough to pursue a PhD or not and on that basis their offer will be given.

 

Specialized & Professional Master’s Degree

Apart from subject category of Master’s Degree, there comes some specialized degrees that focus on career development in a particular professional sector. In fact, there are some master’s degrees that start with the word ‘Professional’ in it which directly indicate how much attention actually they have in career building and profession making of the candidates.

The master’s degrees falling under this category are sometimes known as ‘tagged master’s degree’ because they are tagged to a precise field or profession in long run of life. As usual, there may come some variations mentioned before depending on nations and institutions. Some of the most common and usually done specialized and professional master’s degrees are:

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

A Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) is thought up to provide students the skills and knowledge needed for career development in business and management sector. Here, students are given abundant sufficient training required for an aspects of business, authorizing them to apply their learnt object or learnings of business to distinct ways of career or life. One can decide combining an MBA with a specialization such as accounting or finance which is most- needed part of a business, and modify the degree to a certain field of interest.

Master of Public Health (MPH)

A Master of Public Health (MPH) is designed to make candidates capable enough to take interdisciplinary approach or action to areas related to public health. Here, candidates are taught observe, diagnose and control the health concerns of communities through public policies. There are some areas in MPH that specialized in areas like global health, nutritional sciences, epidemiology and occupational health.

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

A Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a degree of public policy like an MBA but it focuses on the public sector rather than private sector. Candidates can specialize the areas like international administration, environment and science and technology and set the sight on to serve the Government, Non-government Organizations (NGOs), Non-profit organizations and many more public sectors.

Under this section of Master of Public Policy (MPP), there comes other public policy master’s degrees like Master of Public Administration (MPA) such as Master of Public Affairs (MPA) Master of Urban Planning (MUP) and Master of International Affairs (MIA).

Master of Social Work (MSW)

A Master of Social Work (MSW) is the degree that make students ready to seeve community within the field of social work with a special attention in improving the quality of life for people, society and group out there. The degree of MSW offers the students either way of service; clinical one for direct observation and treatment of the clients or macro-praxtice for work in community organization and political advocacy.

Master of Music (MM/MMus)

A Master of Music (MM/MMus) is form of master’s degree to encourage the art of music throughout different areas normally certified by universities and music conservatories.  In often cases, a music student chooses a specialist applied area of advanced music studies such as music performance, composition or conducting with advanced studies in musical theory.

Furthermore, it is a big source of students to pursue their career on musical background providing them the preparation for teaching music or become a professional in the chosen field of music arts.

Master of Engineering (MEng)

A Master of Engineering (MEng) is aimed at help candidates move a bit further in their engineering career or field. It can be either Academic or Professional in character. In academics, there comes the the focus and attention on theiries and practices whereas on the flip side, the Professional puts effect on preparing students to work and comprehend the field with ground work.

In order complete the master’s, numerous tactics are used in MEng. For instance, in some cases it requires the candidates to publish their industry journal, others count on training provided in industry or laboratories and sometimes a combination of two.

Master of Architecture (M.Arch)

A Master of Architecture (M.Arch) is aims at assessment of candidates through practical internship, final examinations, thesis or project which help them recieve a licence towards the field of architecture. Moreover, candidates are provided coursework in subjects such as building science, design, building outline, structural engineering, architectural history and theory and professional practice.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is an innovative degree awarded in areas such as visual effects and studio arts. In order to assess the candidates, major works and performances required practically. Under fine arts, areas or subjects that come are painting, graphic designing, photography, print making and filmmaking.

Master of Laws (LLM)

A Master of Laws (LLM) is usually granted after the completion of professional law degree and help the candidate get a chance to incorporate the knowledge of the basic expertise required to become a a lawyer. Here, the candidate gains further special knowledge through research in a particular area and avail that knowledge for various purposes of social works.

Master of Education (MEd, MSEd, MIT, MAEd, MAT)

A Master of Education (MEd) is a degree to prepare candidates who want to pursue their career in education. Here in Master of Education, some students are certified as teachers with various preparations at the same time, the experienced and accomplished teachers do their specialization in areas such as counselling, instruction, administration and curriculum.

Eligibility/ Prerequisites to enroll Master’s Degree

While certain requirements vary by course, degree and institutions, there are some commonalities that a master’s degree aspirant should make sure of meeting them when it comes to eligibility to enroll and application requirements to take admission for master’s degree.

Indeed, while discussing the prerequisite the very thing that most people think of holding a huge part of importance is previous qualifications whereas most of them do not know the veracity that one doesn’t need a great bachelor’s degree to enroll Master’s Degree. In fact, during application process, aspirant’s personal experiences and circumstances will be also considered.

Thus, it is very important to have them for quality consideration and better recognition during interview and tests if needed. Here, are some typical master’s degree requirements for a master’s aspirant which follow:

  1. Academic Qualification: It needs an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. In often cases, on the basis of course and institution, an MA aspirants require upper second class degree which is actually overall marks of 60% and 2.1 in undergraduate degree classifications.
  2. Language Proficiency: Language Proficiency will be needed at a time when candidate wants to pursue master’s degree abroad or in a time when a course is not delivered in the first language of receiver. Here, the candidate will have to manifest language proficiency as a part of admission process. The candidate is usually evaluated through a postgraduate language test which assess the ability to speak, read and write in a certain language. Here, the candidate needs to make sure not having some quantity of proficiency in language that may not be sufficient rather he will have to comprehend and communicate the complex concepts of language.
  3. Professional Experience: In some postgraduate courses, the aspirant is supposed to have some professional experience which is the usual case for master’s in social work.
  4. Entrance Exams: In Entrance Exams, as a part of admission process, a small number of courses require applicants to attend subject related tests or exams.

Examples of these are the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) which is required by some MBAs and other management programs, and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) which are sometimes required if an applicant hasn’t studied in the UK before.

Benefits of Master’s Degree

Indeed, the act of moving forward throughout the journey of earning a master’s degree is truly commendable. Further, the efforts, money and patience invested in the process flourish the journey a bit more and by all means, teach how the long term advantages of master’s degree should be taken account.

Here are some notable benefits of master’s degree that help comprehend how they add value to professional background. The main benefits of master’s degree are:

  • Research Opportunities: When a master’s degree candidate enrolls in an institution or university, he gets chances to do research on a specific niche topic that interest the candidate most. This fundamental opportunity, teaches him various disciplines of research in respect to knowledge and information technologies.
  • Respect & Credibility: A master’s degree achiever is considered to have better capabilities and people tend to have these such people in higher positions such as management committee, executive director or assistant and many others in social values. This is merely because people believe earning a master’s degree is a respectable achievement that shows the individual is capable if setting goals, follow them and finally obtaining the consequence they wanted.
  • High Earning Security: Once, you finish the degree, you will go for some job opportunities where you secure high income on the basis of knowledge and information you have successfully grabbed in your certain fields or subjects.
  • In-depth knowledge of field: The opportunity of research of a certain field or area is most unique feature of master’s degree that provides you gain in-depth knowledge of the area of expertise in several fields like social sciences, sciences, medical, communication, management and many more.
  • Network building: While earning master’s, many colleges and universities offer internship for the students that help them bring closer to people who are a part of industry or business they want to join later.

In many cases, this kind of internship lead them towards job security after graduation or at least they will have contacts to rely on to build your career in the chosen sector of yours.

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