What Types of Graduate Studies are Available?

Check out what different masters degree programs are offered at graduate school.

You might already have an idea of what career you want to pursue outside of college, or you may only know what industry you wish to enter. Having a set list of criteria detailing necessary components of your ideal graduate studies allows you to choose the best masters degree program for you.

The two most common masters degrees in the United States are the Master of the Arts (MA) and the Master of the Sciences (MS).

All masters degrees are either research-based, course-based or a combination of the two. If you’re heading into a career in science or medicine, chances are your courses will be research-based or a combination. Unless you choose a Professional Science Masters Degree (PSM), which is a hands-on degree that combines science and business courses. With a PSM, students graduate job ready with the skills needed to work in a laboratory.

The two most common masters degrees in the United States are the Master of the Arts (MA) and the Master of the Sciences (MS). Some programs offer both a MA or MS in a single subject. Although programs may be similar, the MS program will typically have higher academic standards, and require more research than the MA. Usually, the MA is for students without a background in the field, and an MS is for those who do.

There is no standard for naming degrees, so they vary from school to school. Although other titles do exist, such as the Master of Music (MM), Master of Communication (MC), Master of Architecture (MArc), depending on the school they might be offered as a subgroup under the MA or MS program.

Rising in popularity is the Master of Business Administration (MBA), which teaches students the ins and outs of the business profession. Completing a MBA program provides students with a solid background in business, and the tools to devise, create and implement their own business plans.

Read on to find out what specific graduate studies are offered under each category.

Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Master of the Arts can cover a broad range of graduate studies. They mainly fall under the industries of education, communication, music and social sciences. A master’s degree in fine arts is closely related to the master of arts degree, but is focused on fine arts such as creative writing, photography, painting, etc.

Popular Master of Arts (MA) Degrees

  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Graphic design
  • Architecture
  • Education and teaching
  • Philosophy

Master of Science

A master of science degree can be earned for a variety of science, health and occasionally social science professions. Heavy emphasis is placed on research, though some courses may have a combination of class-based courses and research-based courses.

Popular Master of Science (MS) Degrees

  • Registered nurse training (RN)
  • General psychology
  • Early childhood education
  • Computer and information sciences
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Computer engineering
  • Computer systems security
  • Health/healthcare adminstration management
  • Computer systems networking and telecommunication

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Students who seek a MBA receive a broad training in all aspects of business that can be applied to a variety of careers. There is a choice to get a master of business administration in combination with another business subject, such as accounting. Doing so allows you to get the most business-related information specific to your field.

Popular Master of Business (MBA) Degrees

  • Business administration and management
  • Human resources management/personnel administration
  • Finance
  • Accounting and related services
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Business/Managerial operations
  • Non-profit/public/organizational management
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