A masters degree is an academic degree awarded to students who complete a postgraduate area of study. After completion of a bachelor’s degree, students wishing to earn a masters degree may need to complete an additional one to three years of study depending on the course. There are but a few exceptions, such as awarding a masters degree to students completing an undergraduate course who have taken substantially more advanced classes or credit hours.
A bachelor’s degree is typically a requirement before entering into a masters degree course. Similarly, a masters degree is normally a requirement for advancing to a doctoral program. In most cases, it is necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in the same or related area of study as the masters degree program before entering. It may be necessary for the student to complete a bridge year, before entering the masters degree program as well. It will mostly depend on the school and whether they recognize your previously earned credits or degree as transferable and compatible with the program.
Masters degree programs typically involve a combination of course work and research projects. However, some programs are exclusively course or research based. Some masters degree programs require a practical, such as in theology, where a student is required to actually teach intermittently.
Completion of a masters degree program does vary on the area of study, but many are more than one year. Students earning a masters degree are highly marketable in their chosen field, but may be considered over-qualified for many mid-level management positions. Without a specialized area of study though, many professions will not accept less than a masters degree. Engineering is an example of a one-year masters degree program where completion greatly increases your marketability in the workforce and potential annual salary.