What is Master's Degree? Eligibility Requirements, Programs, and Why you should Enroll: Explained

A Masters degree is a academic qualification granted to post graduation level students. A master’s degree is the best option for students who wish to further their knowledge of a particular subject, explore other areas of interest after completing their undergraduate degree.

Updated by Kritika Pathak on 27th December 2019

What is a Master’s Degree?

A Master’s Degree is a post-graduate degree. The degree provides specialization in any subject you choose. The graduate studies can be pursued after completing a Bachelor’s Degree. You may be thinking, how many credits for a Masters degree are required? For a semester-based system, around 36-54 credits are required and for a quarter based program 60-90 credits are required. The individual pursuing a degree would gain knowledge about the subject chosen, along with other interdisciplinary areas. Master’s Degree would help you gain technical expertise and skills for the workforce environment.

Students learn how to work independently and also gain high learning skills. The course structure and curriculum is designed in a manner which would teach the students about the research and innovation needed in the world.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree?

The degree can be completed in 1-3 years, depending on the course and the educational institution. If the student is enrolled in a master’s degree online, he/she can complete it before the time frame as the online master degree programs can be accessed at any time of the day and you can enroll in them if you’re a working professional or don’t want to go to college.

Some of the best master degrees are available both on-campus and online.

Eligibility and Requirements for enrolling in a Master’s Degree program

  • You must hold an undergraduate degree.

  • Minimum GRE or GMAT score requirements must be met.

  • Official transcripts of college must be presented.

  • You must acquire all the required credits in the course.

  • Essay and letters of recommendation.

  • TOEFL or IELTS scores must be presented (in case of international applicants)

Quick Facts About Master’s Degrees

  • If you’re interested in a particular subject, it is a perfect degree for you. It provides specialization in the subject and also prepares you for the research on that subject.

  • The job opportunities increase after completing a Master’s Degree as you become specialized in a particular subject. It helps in career development and can advance you to top positions in an organization if you have the relevant skills.

  • The degree can impress the employers. If you wish to change the subjects which you’ve studied for an undergraduate degree, this would be a perfect chance for you. Masters degree programs are diverse and can help you gain a lot of potentials.

Master’s Degree Programs

MA or Master of Arts- It is a degree with a focus on the subjects of fine arts, social sciences, and humanities mostly. The students receive the lectures and seminars on various topics concerned with the subjects. Masters of Arts degree can be completed in two years. Some of the courses offered in the degree are MA in International Relations, MA in History, and many others. It would provide you with the potential to pursue a career with the desired subjects.

MS or Master of Science- The degree focuses on the subjects which are science or mathematics based. The subjects included in the course are mostly technical and lays an emphasis on labs, research, and analysis. It can be completed in two-three years depending on the course. Some of the courses which are included in the degree are MS in Computer Science, MS in Psychology, MS in Biochemistry and many others. The students learn the skills of critical thinking and research methodologies.

Specialized Graduate Degrees

  • MBA or Master of Business Administration is awarded to the students who have completed their graduation in Masters in Business Administration. The program focuses on subjects such as finance, organization management, accounting and many others.

  • MPA or Master of Public Administration is awarded to the students who have completed their graduation in Public Administration. Some of the topics covered in this subject are Comparative Politics, Management and Leadership, Public Policy and many others.

  • M.Arch or Masters in Architecture is a graduate degree awarded in the field of architecture. The students pursuing architecture course as the Master's degree are awarded M. Arch. It deals with the subjects such as construction design, ornamentation, designing and many others.

  • MPH or Master of Public Health is awarded to the students who have graduated with the degree in Public health or related fields. Some of the topics covered in the course are Epidemiology, Health Policy, Environmental Health and many others.

  • LLM or Master of Laws is taken up after graduating with an undergraduate degree in law. Some of the topics included in the degree are Administrative Law, American Democracy, Bankruptcy, Environmental Law and many others.

  • MSW or Masters in Social Work- The students pursuing a graduate degree in Social Work are awarded this degree. Some of the topics included in this subject are Human Behaviour, Social Environment, Social Work Practises and many others.

Most Popular Master's Degree Majors

Some of the common Master Degree courses are:

  • Masters in Accounting: The degree focuses on finance and economics. It helps in teaching the students about managing and analyzing the accounts, making a balance sheet, and keeping an eye on the little monetary and fiscal details of the organization.

  • Masters in Information Systems- This degree can help you to develop information systems in the various governmental or non-governmental settings. The program helps analyze, design and repair information systems. It is a technical subject.

  • Masters in Biology- The course includes subjects like Microbiology, Bio-Chemistry, Human Anatomy and other subjects. It studies living organisms.

  • Master’s in International Relations- The subject revolves around the policies, relationship, and dependency of the nations across the world. It analyses international affairs and provides foundational knowledge for the same.

  • Master’s in Graphic Designing- The course includes subjects like Web Designing, Typography, Colour Theory, Digital Design Studio and many others.

Colleges/Universities offering Masters Degrees

Colorado State University

Capella University

Liberty University

Grantham University

Arizona State University

Walden University

Kaplan University

DeVry University

Lewis University

Georgetown University

 Careers after a graduate degree

  • Software Engineer

  • Economist

  • Dietician

  • Genetic Counsellors

  • Physician Assistant

  • Public Policy Analyst

  • Registered Nurse

Why should you earn a Master’s Degree?

Real-time experience

  • The course provides application and practical-based knowledge and training to the students. There are many professions which would require you to have a Master’s degree such as lawyers or doctors. If you’re enrolled in a graduate degree program, it automatically means spending more time in school and making connections or networks. This would help you to know other professionals in your sector and help you in the long run. It may even help you to find better job opportunities in the future and guide you towards a fruitful path.

  • Practical applications are necessary for any careers which are used for tackling critical issues and analyzing problems. A Master’s Degree provides that knowledge and turns out to be beneficial for an individual’s career. If the degree isn’t practical, then there is no point in pursuing it.

Interests in the field would be known

  • People pursue a master’s degree to specialize in a field they love and are eager to learn more about. It is something that an individual is passionate about and would want to continue expanding their knowledge and skills of the subject. Knowing more about the subject would only help them advance in their professional life. It also offers plenty of experiences, as compared to the associates or bachelor degrees. It would help you get knowledge others are not aware of.

  • Since the degree provides an in-depth knowledge of the course, you will learn whether you are really passionate about the course or not. It would require you to do indulge in highly academic and research work in order to complete the degree.

  • For instance, a person who has completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science might choose Public Administration as the subject for the master’s degree. Public Administration falls under Political Science, so the student would have a grip on public administration along with political science. You can take up other specializations in your further studies.

Provides a basis for research and development

  • The program would provide opportunities to learn research-based techniques and methodologies, especially if it is a science related field. Other fields also have fieldwork and research.

  • You can pursue research on any topic which interests you in that subject. Lab opportunities are given in order to provide skills to the students and improve their learning. The colleges also provide high technology gadgets as the tools to use in the research work. These tools are not provided when you’re enrolled in an undergraduate degree, hence the practical knowledge is more here than the undergraduate degree provides.

  • Since you would become familiar and trained in the techniques and tools needed for the subject, it would help you reach a good position in your career, and would provide great career opportunities. Since research and innovation are needed in the market and for jobs, it would help you achieve your goals steadily.

Value-based accomplishment.

  • For many, finishing a Master’s Degree in an accomplishment and a challenge. It doesn’t come in easy. It can help in increasing your worth and self-esteem as the amount of effort you put into completing the master’s degree finally becomes fruitful after completing it. Not everyone is dedicated to doing so since it requires hard work and dedication towards the subject.

  • It works as an enhancer for individuals wherever they’re facing difficulties in life. It would motivate you to not give up and overcome any obstacle just as you would do while pursuing the master’s degree.

  • High self-esteem can help individuals develop and grow in their careers. It would a problem if a person has low self-esteem, as they won’t be able to work properly and hence lose the credibility.

Gives a respectful and strong image of an individual at the workplace

  • Organizations look at the individuals with a Master’s Degree as the ones with more knowledge and capabilities. It helps enhance an individual’s personality. The employers are aware that obtaining a Master’s Degree is a respectable thing and it also proves that the individual is capable of achieving the set goals and obtaining the said results.

  • It provides credibility to the individuals and proves that they’re equipped with all the qualities needed for the work. Not just in work, it also provides respect in the personal life.

Tuition Costs

  • In many countries, students are paid for pursuing graduate studies which would help the students reduce their tuition cost up to some extent, if not fully. It is a great way to grab a degree without being in debt or consulting financial aids agencies for that matter. You must keep up with your coursework in order to complete the degree.

  • The stipends are usually paid in return for the students to indulge in research and apprenticeship programs. It means you’ll be getting paid to get a real-time market experience and improve your research skills.

  • It provides a great impression for your Resume or a CV as it would show your eligibility and skills as an individual.

Diverse job opportunities

  • You would find many job opportunities after completing a Master’s Degree. When an employer looks at your qualification, they would have a better impression of you.

  • The degree sets a standard for your capabilities and provides better job opportunities.

  • You can get the high positions at any organization after completing the degree if you have the relevant skills and knowledge.

  • It gives the opportunities which wouldn’t be provided to you otherwise with any other degree.

Career Change

  • If you’re not satisfied with the courses you’ve taken up in college while pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree, you can always change those subjects in the master’s degree. You may find any specialization interesting in the bachelor’s degree and you can further take it up as your major subject for post-graduate studies.

  • The subjects taken up in a Master’s degree course can provide you job opportunities not only in the sector directly related to it but also in other inter-related sectors. It can be helpful for a career change. This happens because students learn a variety of subjects and the employers are usually aware that the student would be aware of many topics and subjects. Versatility exists in the degree program.

Provides better wages

Since the degree is more specialized and the individuals learn plenty of skills to do the job efficiently, they’re paid more than students with a Bachelor’s or a high school degree.


The degree can be a factor of the career change for the better. It would provide you with the necessary knowledge to grow both in life and career. One must opt for it to gain the necessary potential and learn.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.What is the duration for completing a master's degree?

    The degree can be completed in 1-3 years, depending on the course.

  • 2.How many credits are necessary for completing a master's degree?

    36-54 semester credits and 60-90 quarter credits, depending on the type of course. 

  • 3.Is financial assistance available for Master's Degree?

    Yes. Financial Assistance is available for the courses. You can apply for Grants, Loan, and Scholarships.

  • 4.Are the online master's degree accredited and is it necessary to take admission for an accredited degree?

    You should always check the accreditation status of the college before enrolling in a course. It is necessary and tells about the educational standards of the colleges. Online courses are accredited, however, few exceptions may exist. 

  • 5.How to know which course is right for me?

    You should look at the course which interests you. After that check its curriculum, career opportunities after completing the course, colleges which offer the degree, financial aid facilities, and its availabilities. 

  • 6.Can I transfer my online college credits to other schools?

    Yes. In most of the cases, credits are transferable because the degrees are accredited. But in some cases, it can't be. You should check with the college and how many credits it can transfer.