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Should I Earn a Master's Degree?

Master's Degree Overview

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What Is a Master's Degree?
A master's degree is a type of academic degree. It is awarded to students who have completed a master's degree program. Before you can enroll in a master's degree program, you must first earn a bachelor's degree. Most master's degree programs take at least two full years of study to complete. However, there are some accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as one year. Students who attend a master's degree program part-time often take between three and six years to earn their degree.

What Will I Study in a Master's Degree Program?
Studies will vary depending on the program and your specialization. Students who specialize in a business field often take seminar-style classes that involve a great deal of discussion in addition to case study analysis. Some of the master's degrees that a business student can earn include:
  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Arts in Management
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology
  • Master of Business Studies
  • Master of Business and Engineering
  • Master of Business Informatics
  • Master of City Planning
  • Master of Commerce
  • Master of Computational Finance
  • Master of Construction Management
  • Master of Enterprise
  • Master of Finance
  • Master of Financial Economics
  • Master of Financial Engineering
  • Master of Health Administration
  • Master of Human Relations
  • Master of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Master of International Business
  • Master of Information Technology
  • Master of Management
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Public Policy
  • Master of Real Estate Development
  • Master of Science in Management
  • Master of Science in Project Management
  • Master of Science in Taxation
Master's Degrees vs. MBA Degrees
Many business students have a hard time choosing between a specialized master's degree program and an MBA (master's in business administration) degree program. The choice is a personal one and should be based on your individual background and future career plans. For example, if you want to work as a finance manager and already have a great deal of management training, you may be better off with a traditional master's program with a focus on finance. If, on the other hand, you haven't had any management training prior to attending graduate school, an MBA program with a focus on finance may be the right choice for you.

Reasons to Earn a Master's Degree
There are many different reasons to consider earning a master's degree in a business specialization. To start, this education track can open the door to better jobs and more earning potential. Individuals who hold a master's degree are eligible for different and more advanced employment opportunities than individuals with a bachelor's degree. They also tend to earn more on an annual basis.

Earning a master's degree also allows you to immerse yourself in the study of a topic that interests you. Master's degree programs encourage research and hands-on experience so that students are prepared to apply newly acquired knowledge in the field.

Where to Earn a Master's Degree
Master's degrees are awarded by many different colleges and universities. The degree can typically be earned online or through an on-campus program. The number of classes or credit hours required to earn a master's degree can vary depending on the program of study.

Choosing a Master's Degree Program
Finding the right master's degree program can be a difficult. There are hundreds of schools and degree programs to choose from in the U.S. alone. Some of the things that should be considered when choosing a master's degree program include:
  • Accreditation
  • Career Services/Career Placement
  • Cost and/or Financial Aid Packages
  • Curriculum
  • Faculty Reputation
  • Program Reputation
  • Selectivity (Can You Get In?)
See a directory of business schools by state.

Explore This Topic Further
  • Glossary of Masters Degree Programs - This online glossary from Education-portal.com offers comprehensive information about different types of master degree programs in business.
  • Online Masters Degree - Visit OnlineMastersDegree.net to learn more about how online master's degree programs work and to explore the different types of online master's degrees that are available.
  • Masters Degree vs. Doctoral Degree - Tara Kuther, the About.com Guide to Graduate School, explains the difference between a master's degree and a doctoral degree.

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