Master's degree

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An English-language master's degree diploma from India

A master's degree is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice.[1] Within the area studied, graduates are posited to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently. The degree is awarded upon graduation from a university.[1][dead link]

Titles[edit]

The two most common titles of master's degrees are the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S., MSc, M.Si., or M.C.A.); these may be course-based, research-based, or a mixture of the two. Some universities use the Latin degree names; because of the flexibility of syntax in Latin, the Master of Arts and Master of Science may be known as magister artium or artium magister and magister scientiae or scientiae magister, respectively. Harvard University, University of Chicago, and MIT, for example, use A.M. and S.M. for their master's degrees. More commonly, Master of Science often is abbreviated MS or M.S. in the United States, and MSc or M.Sc. in Commonwealth nations and Europe.

Other master's degrees are more specifically named ("tagged degrees"), including, for example, the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master in European Business (MEB), Master of Counselling (MC), Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of Public Policy (MPP), Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Music (M.M. or M.Mus.), Master of Information (MI), Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.).

Some are further general, for example the M.Phil., Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS, MLA/ALM, and MLS), and the Master of Studies (Advanced Study / Advanced Studies).

See List of master's degrees.

Types[edit]

Structure[edit]

There are a range of pathways to the degree, with entry based on evidence of a capacity to undertake higher degree studies in the proposed field. A dissertation may or may not be required, depending on the program. In general, the structure and duration of a program of study leading to a master's degree will differ by country and by university.

Duration[edit]

In some systems, such as those of the United States and Japan, a master's degree is a strictly postgraduate academic degree. Particularly in the U.S., in some fields/programs, work on a doctorate begins immediately after the bachelor's degree, but the master's may be earned along the way as a 'Master's degree "en route"', following successful completion of coursework and certain examinations. Master's programs are thus one to six years in duration, with two to three years being a common length of time to complete.

Under the Angloamerican systems many master´s degrees are differentiated either as 'Master (Thesis)' or as 'Master (Non-Thesis)' programs. Regardless of a de jure minimum period of a master degree program in the same discipline, the required de facto duration to complete the program may vary highly significant by university. One of the main reasons of this is the fact that the required level of courses or research complexity and quality of a thesis also can vary greatly, e.g. in "very high research activity" elite universities students who are admitted to a "very high research" Master (Thesis), have to fullfil course and thesis level requirements at a regular PhD level, however.

By contrast, in some cases, such as the Integrated Master's Degree in the UK, the degree is combined with a Bachelor of Science, as a 4-year degree. Unlike a traditional MSc, the fourth year finishes at the same time as undergraduate degrees in the early summer, whereas traditional MSc students typically spend the summer vacation completing a dissertation and finish in September. Examples include MMath (see also Part III of the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge), MEng and MSci (not to be confused with an MSc).

In the recently standardized European System of higher education (Bologna process), a master degree programme normally carries 90 - 120 ECTS credits, with a minimum requirement of at least 60 ECTS credits at master level (one- or two-year full-time postgraduate program) undertaken after at least three years of undergraduate studies. It provides higher qualification for employment or prepares for doctoral studies. As one ECTS credit is equivalent to 25 hours of study this means that a master's degree programme should include 2250 hours of study. Current U.K. MSc/MA programmes tend to include 1800 hours of study (or 180 UK credits), although many claim to be equivalent to an ECTS accredited master degree.

Admission[edit]

In countries in which a master's degree is a postgraduate degree, admission to a master's program normally requires holding a bachelor's degree, and in the United Kingdom, Canada and much of the Commonwealth, an "honours" bachelor degree.[citation needed] In both cases, relevant work experience may qualify a candidate. In some cases the student's bachelor's degree must be in the same subject as the intended master's degree (e.g. a Master of Economics will typically require a bachelor's degree with a major in economics), or in a closely allied, "cognate", discipline (e.g. Applied Mathematics degrees may accept graduates in physics, mathematics or computer science); in others, the subject of the bachelor's degree is unimportant (e.g. MBA) although, often in these cases, undergraduate coursework in specific subjects may be required (e.g. some M.S.F. degrees require credits in calculus for admission, but none in finance or economics); see also under Business education#Postgraduate education. Most competitive programs also have a grade point average (GPA) that the student must have achieved in their undergraduate degree.

Comparable European degrees[edit]

In some European countries, a magister is a first degree and may be considered equivalent to a modern (standardized) master's degree (e.g., the German and Austrian university Diplom/Magister, or the similar 5-year Diploma awarded in several subjects in Greek, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, and other universities and polytechnics).

South America[edit]

Brazil[edit]

In Brazil, after a regular graduation, students have the option to continue their academic career through a Master (a.k.a. strictu sensu) or Post-graduation (a.k.a. latu sensu) degrees.

At the Master's degree ("mestrado", in portuguese, also referred as "strictu sensu") there're 2–3 years of full-time graduate-level studies. Usually focused on academic research, the Master's degree (on any specific knowledge area) requires the development of a thesis, presented (and defended) to a board of PhDs after the period of research. Differently, the "Post-graduation" degree (also referred as "latu-sensu"), also comprehends a 1–2 years studies, but do not require a new thesis to be purposed and defended, being usually attended by professionals looking for a complimentary formation on a different knowledge area than their original graduation.

In addition, a great part of Brazilian universities offers a MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree. Those, nevertheless, are not the equivalent of US MBA degree though, as it does not formally certifies the student/professional with a Master's degree (strictu-sensu) but a post-graduation degree instead. A regular post-graduation course has to comply with a minimum of 360 class-hours, while a MBA degree has to comply with a minimum of 400 class-hours. Master's degree (strictu sensu) does not requires minimum class-hours, but it's practically impossible to finish it before 1,5 year due the workload and research required; an average time for the degree is 2,5 years.

Post-graduation (latu sensu) and MBA degrees can be also offered as distance education courses, while the Master's degree (strictu-sensu) requires physical attendance.

Often serves as additional qualification for those seeking a differential on the job market, or for those who want to pursue a PhD. It corresponds to the European (Bologna Process) 2nd Cycle or the North American Master's.

Asia[edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

MArch, MLA, MUD, MA, MSc, MSocSc, MSW, MEng, LLM[edit]

Hong Kong requires one or two years of full-time coursework to achieve a master's degree.

For part-time study, two or three years of study are normally required to achieve a postgraduate degree.

MPhil[edit]

As in the United Kingdom, MPhil or Master of Philosophy is a research degree awarded for the completion of a thesis, and is a shorter version of the PhD.

Pakistan[edit]

In Pakistani education system, there are two different Master degree programmes:

Both MA and MS or MSc are offered in all major subjects.

India[edit]

In the Indian system, a Master's degree is a postgraduate degree following a Bachelor's degree and preceding a Doctorate, usually requiring two years to complete. The available degrees include:

Israel[edit]

Taiwan[edit]

In Taiwan, bachelor degrees are about four years (with honors) and there is an entrance examination required for people who want to study in Master and PhD degrees. The course offered for Master and PhD normally is research-based.

The most Foreign Friendly Programs in Taipei, Taiwan are at

1) National Taiwan University College of Management- Global MBA (MBAs in Finance, Accounting, Managemenet, International Business and Information Management)

2) National ChengChi University - IMBA

Programs are entirely in English and Tuition fee cost less than would be paid in North America. As little as US$5000 for an MBA.[citation needed]

As an incentive to increase the number of foreign students, the government of Taiwan and universities have made extra efforts to provide a range of quality scholarships available[citation needed] These are university specific scholarships ranging from Tuition waivers, up to NT$20,000 per month. The government offers the Taiwan Scholarship ranging from 20,000-30,00 per month for 2 years. (US$18,000 - US$24,000 for a 2 year program)

See also[edit]

References[edit]