Generally speaking, there are two main types of master’s degrees: course-based (taught) and research-based. Course-based master’s degrees are based on structured course modules taught through lectures, seminars, laboratory work, or distance learning, while research-based master’s degrees require the student to carry out their own research project(s) in a specialized field of study. Research master’s degrees normally take a little longer than taught master’s degrees to complete. To apply for a student visa click here.
It is also possible to categorize master’s degrees in terms of subject matter, level of specialization, type of coursework, and entry requirements, as you will see in the lists below. Approach a consultant click here.
Types of master’s degrees by subject/coursework type.
The following list describes the distinct types of master’s degrees based on the most common course names used in university listings. As there is no single standardized system, you may find variations between institutions in terms of both naming and course content.
Master of Arts (MA)
A Master of Arts (MA) is usually awarded in disciplines categorized as arts or social sciences, such as communications, education, languages, linguistics, literature, geography, history, and music. Candidates are taught through a combination of lectures and seminars and assessed through an examination and/or a dissertation based on an independent research project.
Master of Science (MS/ MSc)
A Master of Science (MS, MSc) is usually awarded in disciplines categorized as the sciences, such as biology, chemistry, engineering, health, and statistics. Certain fields such as economics and the social sciences can fall under both arts and sciences, with the individual institution deciding on what to call their master’s degree program. In such subjects, it may be the case that the MS has a stronger research component and can be perceived to hold more weight than an MA in some industries.
Master of Research (MRes)
A Master of Research (MRes) degree is designed to provide training in how to become a researcher. Containing a significantly larger research element than MA or MSc programs, an MRes may give candidates an advantage if they wish to pursue a Ph.D. or enter a career in research. Note that some institutions may refer to MRes-style degree programs as an MSc, so it’s worth checking the course content carefully before applying.
Master by Research (MPhil)
A Master by Research (MPhil) is an advanced research-based degree that allows the candidate to focus on a particular topic in-depth and independently, to complete a single large research project. An MPhil is often seen as a precursor to a Ph.D. and is often used by institutions to allow students to ‘test the water’ before commencing a Ph.D. degree program. This often takes longer to complete than other types of master’s degrees – the length of time and the status awarded to an MPhil varies significantly depending on the country and institution.
Master of Studies (MST)
Taught in only a few places (including the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge), a Master of Studies (MSt) degree is comparable to the MA or MSc, requiring both classroom learning and the completion of a thesis and an examination. An MST can serve as a provisional enrolment for a Ph.D. in some cases. The need for this category of master’s degree partly stems from the fact that at Oxbridge universities students who have completed a Bachelor of Arts are automatically awarded an MA after a defined time period has passed. In contrast, those with an MSt have completed postgraduate coursework to gain the title.
Specialized and professional master’s degrees
There are also more specialized types of master’s degrees, often focusing on a specific professional area. These are sometimes known as ‘tagged master’s degrees because they are ‘tagged’ to a certain field, or professional master’s degrees because they focus on career development in a particular profession. Some professional master’s degrees start with the word Professional in the title, such as the Professional Science Master’s Degree (PSM), a hands-on degree with a heavy practical component giving students the skills and knowledge needed to work professionally in their chosen field.
As ever, classifications and course details will differ depending on the country and institution. Here are some of the most common examples of specialized and professional master’s degrees:
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is designed to give students the skills and knowledge required for career progression in business and management roles. Candidates are given broad training in all aspects of business, allowing them to apply their learning to a variety of careers. Many MBA candidates are mid-career professionals, with most programs requiring at least three years of professional experience. You can also choose to combine an MBA with a specialization such as accounting or finance and tailor the degree to a specific field of interest. Related master’s degrees include the Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) and Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS).
Master of Library Science (MLS, MLIS, MSLS)
The Master of Library Science is designed to give students both academic and professional knowledge for entry into the workplace – in this case, libraries. Taught at an accredited library school, an MLS includes theoretical components along with a practicum (supervised practical teaching) or internship, ending with a research project or thesis. The MLS is often a requirement for professional librarian positions in the US and Canada.
Master of Public Administration (MPA)
The Master of Public Administration is a public policy degree similar to an MBA but focusing on the public sector rather than the private sector. Students can specialize in areas such as the environment, international administration, and science and technology with an aim to work for the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), not-for-profit organizations, and consulting. The MPA combines academic and professional elements, with a focus on policy analysis and management. Other public policy master’s degrees include Master of Public Policy (MPP), Master of Public Affairs (MPA) Master of Urban Planning (MUP), and Master of International Affairs (MIA).
Master of Public Health (MPH)
The Master of Public Health has academic and professional elements, taking an interdisciplinary approach to areas related to public health. Students are taught how to monitor, diagnose and regulate the health concerns of communities through public policies. Many MPH degree programs are specialized in areas such as epidemiology, global health, occupational health, and nutritional sciences. While some countries accept students with accredited bachelor’s degrees for the MPH, others only accept medical graduates.
Master of Social Work (MSW)
The Master of Social Work degree prepares students for careers within the field of social work, focusing on improving the quality of life for individuals, groups, and communities. The MSW is offered either as a clinical degree allowing students to work directly with clients or as a macro-practice degree preparing students for work in political advocacy and community organizing.
Master of Laws (LLM)
The Master of Laws degree is usually taken after having graduated from a professional law degree and gives candidates the chance to combine their knowledge of the basic skills needed to become a lawyer with the specialist knowledge gained through research in a particular area of law.
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MA, MALS, MLA/ALM, MLS)
The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide rigorous teaching in the liberal arts. Candidates graduate with both depth and breadth of postgraduate knowledge, with MALS programs drawing from courses and instructors from across the university’s postgraduate curriculum. Typically, liberal arts students choose the course for an opportunity to intellectually challenge themselves, explore ideas and pursue knowledge, rather than to pursue a specific career path.
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
The Master of Fine Arts is a creative degree granted in disciplines such as the visual, performing, and studio arts. This may include creative writing, graphic design, photography, filmmaking, theatre, and painting. Assessment and study are both practical, culminating in a major work or performance.
Master of Music (MM/MMus)
Awarded by universities and music conservatories, the Master of Music degree combines advanced studies in a specialist applied area chosen by the student (such as music performance, composition, or conducting) with advanced studies in musical theory. MM degrees could be preparation for teaching music or to become a professional in a chosen field.
Master of Education (Med, MSEd, MIT, MAEd, MAT)
The Master of Education degree prepares students for careers in education. Some Master of Education degrees prepares student teachers to become certified, while others are more suited for experienced, already certified teachers to specialize in areas such as curriculum, instruction, special education, counseling, and administration. The MIT and MAT degrees include coursework and a student teaching internship and lead to the teacher certification qualification needed to teach in public schools.
Master of Engineering (MEng)
The Master of Engineering degree can be either academic (with a focus on engineering theories and practice) or professional (with a focus on preparing students for work in the engineering field). While some MEng programs require students to become published in an industry journal, others involve training periods in industry or laboratories, or a combination of the two in order to graduate.
Master of Architecture (M.Arch)
The Master of Architecture is a master’s degree in architecture that assesses students through practical internships, final examinations, and/or a thesis or final project in order to receive a license. As M.Arch degrees vary in kind, you may find different names for different types of programs. Students are required to produce coursework in subjects such as design, building science, structural engineering, architectural history and theory, and professional practice.
Master’s degree requirements
Finally, master’s degrees also vary in terms of the entry requirements applicants need to meet. To meet the requirements of a master’s degree it’s usually necessary to have graduated with a bachelor’s degree (though not always), and some programs require a certain amount of professional experience. See below for the most common requirements for different types of master’s degrees.
Postgraduate master’s degrees (MA, MSc, MLA, MSW, etc)
These master’s degrees are usually open to anyone who holds a bachelor’s degree.
Business or management master’s degrees (MBA, MSc, MIM, MSM, MA, MEM)
For these types of programs, master’s degree requirements usually include a certain amount of professional experience, especially in the case of an MBA (Master of Business Administration). An MSc in Management (MSc, MIM, MSM) typically requires a bachelor’s degree in social sciences, while an MA in Management is more likely to accept candidates from all backgrounds. The Master’s in Engineering Management (MEM) is specially designed for engineering students.
Executive master’s degrees (EMBA, EMS)
Designed specifically for mid-career executive professionals, executive master’s degrees require candidates to have gained significant professional experience – even more than in the case of an MBA. The most common are Executive Master’s in Business Management (EMBA) or Executive MSc programs.
Postgraduate research master’s degrees (Master by Research)
Master by Research programs is designed for those who hold a bachelor’s degree with a significant research component and/or have several published research papers.
Integrated master’s degrees (MEng, MMath, MSci, etc)
These are master’s degrees that follow directly from an undergraduate degree program, most commonly available in scientific and technical subjects. It’s possible to apply for an integrated master’s degree program directly after completion of secondary-level education. Integrated master’s degree programs usually last a year longer than it would take to earn an undergraduate degree, and students may have the option to skip the final year and just graduate at bachelor’s level instead.
There is also the option (particularly in countries such as the US) to earn a master’s degree alongside your undergraduate studies. This is called ‘en route’, ‘in passing’ or ‘in the course’, and is awarded following the successful completion of coursework and certain examination.
A graduate degree is a postsecondary certification that ordinarily requires 2-3 years to finish. Expert’s projects may expand on undergrad information or help students from different controls enter another field.
In the event that you hold a level of Masters in Public Health, there are endless positions you can take on. To be sure, the degree is shifted to the point that vocation choices exist in various areas too.
- Master of Accountancy
- Master of Accounting and Information Systems
- Master of Advanced Study
- Master of Applied Finance
- Master of Applied Mathematical Sciences
- Master of Applied Psychology
- Master of Applied Science
- Master of Architecture
- Master of Arts
- Master of Arts in Archives and Records Management
- Master of Arts in Bioethics
- Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
- Master of Arts in Museum Studies
- Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Management
- Master of Arts in Teaching
- Master of Athletic Training
- Master of Bioethics
- Master of Bioinformatics
- Master of Biotechnology
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Business Administration Management of Technology
- Master of Business
- Master of Business Economics
- Master of Business Engineering
- Master of Business Informatics
- Master of Chemistry
- Master of City Planning
- Master of Commerce
- Master of Community Health
- Master of Computational Finance
- Master of Computer Applications
- Master of Computer Science
- Master of Communication
- Master of Counselling(or Counseling)
- Master of Criminal Justice
- Master in Creative Technologies
- Master of Design
- Master of Divinity
- Master of Economics
- Master of Education
- Master of Educational Technology
- Master of Engineering
- Master of Engineering Management
- Master of Enterprise
- Master of European Law
- Master of Finance
- Master of Financial Economics
- Master of Financial Engineering
- Master of Financial Mathematics
- Master of Fine Arts
- Master of Geospatial Science & Technology
- Master of Health Administration
- Master of Health Science
- Master of Humanities
- Master of Industrial and Labor Relations
- Master of International Affairs
- Master of International Business
- Master of International Economics
- Master of International Public Policy
- Master of International Studies
- Master of Information
- Master of Information Management
- Master of Information Systems
- Master of Information System Management
- Master of Islamic Studies
- Master of IT
- Master of Jurisprudence
- Master of Laws
- Master of Studies in Law
- Master of Landscape Architecture
- Master of Letters
- Master of Liberal Arts
- Master of Library and Information Science
- Master of Management
- Master of Management of Innovation
- Master of Mass Communication and Journalism
- Master of Mathematical Finance
- Master of Mathematics
- Master of Mathematics and Computer Science
- Master of Mathematics and Philosophy
- Master of Medical Science
- Master of Medicine
- Master of Military Art and Science
- Master of Music
- Master of Network and Communications Management
- Master of Occupational Therapy
- Master of Pharmacy
- Master of Philosophy
- Master of Physician Assistant Studies
- Master of Physics
- Master of Political Science
- Master of Professional Studies
- Master of Psychology
- Master of Public Administration
- Master of Public Affairs
- Master of Public Diplomacy
- Master of Public Health
- Master of Public Management
- Master of Public Policy
- Master of Public Relations
- Master of Public Service
- Master of Quantitative Finance
- Master of Rabbinic Studies
- Master of Real Estate Development
- Master of Religious Education
- Master of Research
- Master of Sacred Music
- Master of Sacred Theology
- Master of Science
- Master of Science in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience
- Master of Science in Athletic Training
- Master of Science in Bioinformatics
- Master of Science in Business Analytics
- Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology
- Master of Science in Computing Research
- Master of Science in Cyber Security
- Master of Science in Education
- Master of Science in Engineering
- Master of Science in Development Administration
- Master of Science in Finance
- Master of Science in Governance & Organizational Sciences
- Master of Science in Government Contracts
- Master of Science in Health Informatics
- Master of Science in Human Resource Development
- Master of Science in Information Assurance
- Master of Science in Information Systems
- Master of Science in Information Technology
- Master of Science in Leadership
- Master of Science in Management
- Master of Science in Nursing
- Master of Science in Project Management
- Master of Science in Quality Assurance
- Master of Science in Risk Management
- Master of Science in Supply Chain Management
- Master of Science in Teaching
- Master of Science in Taxation
- Master of Social Science
- Master of Social Work
- Master of Software Engineering
- Master of Statistics
- Master of Strategic Studies
- Master of Studies
- Master of Surgery
- Master of Theological Studies
- Master of Technology
- Master of Theology
- Master of Urban Planning
- Master of Veterinary Science