Title: What is a Masters Degree?
A Masters’ degree is an academic degree granted upon the completion of a graduate study course in a specific field of study. Typically, students who wish to enroll in a Masters program need to complete their undergraduate studies in a related field.
The primary objective of a Master’s degree is to provide students with advanced knowledge, and analytical, critical, and problem-solving skills in their chosen field of study. Upon graduation, Master’s degree holders are expected to possess the necessary skills to apply their knowledge in practical contexts, carry out independent research either in a specific field or in a multidisciplinary field.
Master’s degrees may be categorized into three types: course-based, research-based, or a mixture of the two. The study programs usually take one and a half to two years to complete full-time, although accelerated programs usually only require one year of study.
There are different types of Master’s degrees to choose from. Taught Masters, also known as academic Masters, provide advanced training in preparation for employment. Research Masters are focused on scientific research, and teacher training Masters prepare students to teach at all levels of secondary education.
The structure of a taught Masters degree can vary from course to course, and from institution to institution. Examples of different degrees are: Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), Master of Law (LLM), and Master of Business Administration (MBA). Usually, a taught Masters course is studied for one to two years full-time. Some courses are offered as part-time or by distance learning options and may take longer.
In addition to the more familiar MA and MSc titles, there are more subject-specific titles. However, it is more important to focus on the content of the courses while looking for a Masters degree. Each degree has its own set amount of courses that are mandatory to follow to fulfill the study requirements.
Executive Masters degrees are designed for executive professionals. Most common examples of executive programs include Executive MBA (EMBA). Admission, graduation requirements, and curriculum of executive degrees differ from regular full-time programs.
The Master of Research (MRes) is an advanced postgraduate degree in a specific academic discipline. The courses that are part of this degree are preliminary courses to give the student a certain foundation, for example in research methodology. The MRes is designed to prepare students for doctoral research as its particular emphasis lies on an extensive dissertation. This Masters degree is of interest for students who are considering to do a PhD.
An MPhil is a research-only Masters degree and the precursor to a PhD. Many PhD students are registered for this degree in the first 12-18 months of study and have to produce a transfer report at the end of this period to change to the registration of PhD student. To be eligible for entry to the MPhil, you usually should have completed a taught Masters degree (or equivalent). When applying, you are expected to provide a detailed research proposal.
There is a difference between the taught master in education, which is a professional MA or MEd – ideal for those who would like to work in both formal and informal educational settings, and certificates such as Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Usually, a Master of Education is a one-year-long, full-time, intensive program for students who wish to study a particular field in education. Students acquire a general theoretical background for understanding past and future field experiences or develop skills for use in professional work in education. Master’s level teacher education is delivered in partnership between universities, schools, and other partners.
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