Master’s degree programs require students to have a bachelor’s degree. Some graduate programs need the undergraduate education to be in a field that is related. Other programs may accept any bachelor’s degree from an institution that has accreditation.
Prerequisites for a Master’s Degree Program
Admission criteria relevant to most master’s degree programs require students to meet a 3.0 grade point average standard in their undergraduate education. Additionally, applicants for admission have to submit letters of recommendation, college transcripts, and a written essay on career and educational goals. Varying by the program, prerequisites may also include submission of scores for evaluation exams.
There are several tests that are commonly required to be taken by incoming students. The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), which is a requirement for students keen on business management. The GRE (Graduate Record Examination), which examines a student’s readiness to handle graduate-level work. The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), which assesses the communication ability of a foreign student.
The LSAT (Law School Admission Test) has to be taken by prospective law students while MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) scores have to be submitted by potential medical students.
Defining a Master’s Degree
Schools in the United States offer four main degree types, these include master’s degrees in addition to associate’s, bachelor’s and doctoral degrees. Students usually complete the program within 2-3 years. Master’s degree candidates in many schools are required to complete a research paper or thesis before they obtain the master’s degree; a non-thesis option is available through some schools. Schools offer various types of master’s degree programs including:
•Master of Arts (M.A.)
•Master of Science (M.S.)
•Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
•Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)
•Master of Music (M.M.)
•Master of Education (M.Ed.)
Job and Wage Outlook
Master’s degree graduates often seek careers such as human resources director, teacher, physician and software engineer (PayScale.com). Most commonly, program graduates aspire to become human resources directors, physician’s assistants, teachers, and software engineers.
The following displays the average annual wages earned by these workers in 2014:
•$99,348 – Senior Software Engineer
•$81,794 – Physician’s Assistant
•$78,075 – Human Resources Director
•$60,497 – Executive Director for Nonprofit Organizations
•$56,038 – Architect (excluding landscape and naval)
•$44,079 – High School Teacher
•$40,435 – Elementary School Teacher