Elaborate student’s guide to master’s degree

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by Will Martins / Updated February 13, 2024

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After finally getting their bachelor's, no wonder so many students immediately find themselves exploring master's degree options. There are so many interesting academic fields with myriads of riddles and numerous opportunities to conduct research that can become groundbreaking and change the world for the better. What can be more tempting than that?

But how not to lose your head when there are so many types of master’s degrees available? So many majors to choose from? The fact that this decision will influence your whole life, as well as your future, makes the choice extremely difficult and puts those pursuing knowledge under heavy pressure.

That's why we recommend doing some research before applying for various programs. Understanding master's degree specializations is crucial if you want to make sure you are choosing the right master's degree.

What are the types of master's degrees?

Depending on the country you are in, programs may differ. However, thanks to globalization, the education system is less or more similar even in different parts of the world since everyone tries to keep up with international standards and competes for the title of most educated nations.

For example, in the U.S., there are two different master’s degree types students can pursue:

1. Research (M.A./A.M. or M.S.)

Research programs usually last a year or two, and a lot of attention is devoted to developing students' ability to work with a huge amount of information and learn to process and analyze it properly.

These programs primarily aim to instruct students in the art of conducting independent research and equip them with a range of tools and strategies essential for the journey. They cater to individuals keen on delving deeply into their interests and making a notable contribution to the academic realm. Additionally, opting for research-oriented master’s degrees serves as a solid foundation for those aspiring to pursue a Ph.D.

Besides, research types of master’s degrees can be a good start for those who want to pursue a Ph.D. or other doctoral degrees in the future. What can be more self-assuring than rightfully calling yourself a professor, huh? So, if you want to devote your life to making discoveries and snatching people's wigs with your brilliance, you should definitely sign up for this one.

Plus, while working on your own papers, you can hone your skills and even join the crew of a fabulous writing service speedypaper (a real lifesaver for students who have to juggle work and studies) to make some extra cash on the side. Only the best writers can join this platform, and trust me, there's a good reason for that.

However, observing and analyzing are not the only things you'll have to do to get such a master’s degree. While you're rocking the research, there's still some coursework to amp up your knowledge. The big finale is your masterpiece thesis or dissertation you'll have to write to show how well you've learned to apply different research techniques.

Isn't it a perfect option for those who have the heart and brains of a scientist looking forward to exploring places no man has gone before?

2. Professional (e.g., M.E./M.Eng., M.B.A.)

For those looking for more practice than research, professional types of master’s degrees are a perfect fit. They are basically a crash-course tour into a specific career, providing expertise in numerous master's degree study areas. Why waste time burning the midnight oil if you already know what job you want to have? Forget about just researching and focus on practical skills. Abandon your books and get tons of hands-on experience in the real world.

If you choose this option, you'll get various internships available to start honing vital skills early so you can be prepared when you finally get your first real job offer. Besides, you can customize your path with specializations that align with your career plans, whether it's healthcare management, finances, or techs, and get industry-relevant specializations that will keep you an attractive candidate to hire. Yes, even in this economy.

What types of master's degrees by coursework type are there?

Everyone has at least one talent. That's how life works. Haven’t found yours yet? Well, there's only one sane explanation for that – you haven't looked hard enough for it. And now is the best time to correct this grave mistake.

By the time you graduate from university with your bachelor's degree in hand, you already have some understanding of what to do in your life. And even if you don’t – it’s okay. Everyone has their own pace. Eventually, you will get there.

Are you having problems finding your way? Worry not! Now that you already know your A.B.C.s about the types of graduate degrees, it's time to learn more about master's degree fields of study to figure out what to do next.

To make it easier for you, we've prepared a list of various master’s degrees:

1. Master of Arts (MA)

When choosing a master's degree, many literature and history lovers or those obsessed with psychology or philosophy usually apply for an M.A. program. This degree offers social sciences, arts, languages, and many more majors people with inquisitive minds love so much. So, if you have a soft spot for arts, it's the best option for you.

2. Master of Science (M.S. or MSc)

Have you ever heard of Turing? Maybe read some interesting things written by Stephen Hawking? Okay, okay, we believe you. Chances are, you are on your way to reaching the full potential of your genius and getting the Nobel Prize for inventing a cure for cancer or finally proving the Big Bang Theory was right all along.

3. Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

Those who love to observe this world and appreciate it fully can’t help falling for the beauty of Philosophy. They spend their lives trying to figure out the purpose of life and dwelling on Nitsche's or Hegel's ideas (just insert your favorite philosopher here). Why not make it a job and get paid for it? Just settle for a master's degree in Philosophy. This will give you a chance to enjoy the dimension of ideas and theories. Who knows, maybe you are the one who will explain why everything is the way it is.

4. Master of Research (MRes)

MRes programs aim to cultivate students' ability to conduct independent research. This involves formulating research questions, designing methodologies, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing meaningful conclusions. So, if you have the soul of a meticulous researcher, this one is for you.

5. Master by Research (MbyRes)

Like other research-oriented master's degrees, a Master by Research program places a significant emphasis on research skills development and the completion of an independent research project. With this background, be sure your analytical skills will surpass even those of the most professional writers from essaypro, which is actually one of the best essay writing platforms out there.

6. Master of Studies (MSt)

While the primary focus is on research, Master of Studies programs may also include a coursework component to provide students with a solid theoretical foundation and methodological training relevant to their research interests. Besides, MSt programs are known for their academic rigor, and admission is often competitive, so if you are up for a challenge, it's a good choice. All Mst students are expected to engage in advanced academic inquiry and contribute to the scholarly discourse in their chosen master's degree disciplines.

The list of specialised and professional master’s degrees

Each profession requires specific knowledge, that’s why, when choosing your major, you should know what professional master’s degrees are there. The list below will give you a general idea about master's degree varieties:

Master of Education (MEd)

This one is for the classroom poets, shaping minds with advanced teaching methods, innovative curricula, and a dash of educational leadership. You might have seen a lot of writing services reviews (if not, go to the website and view it now if you are a fan of fact-checking), and trust me, the best of them mention those who learned all the secrets of academic writing in the process of getting their master's degree in Education.

Master of Project Management (M.P.M.)

Probably one of the most attractive master's degree majors for aspiring leaders. Mastering the principles of project management is a must, so these courses are designed specifically for those ready to lead and take responsibility.

Master of Information Technology (M.I.T.)

Adore techs? Say no more! IT crowd and aspiring engineers seeking enlightenment who genuinely believe that decoding the secrets of technology is the best pastime ever will find this option thrilling especially thrilling. Hacking neighbor’s wi-fi, building a robot - whatever you choose. Just be sure to use your superpowers for good.

Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)

To become a respectable diplomat or an ambassador somewhere far away in a foreign land, one must learn a lot about other countries and cultures as well as master several languages. As hard as it may sound, such education opens countless opportunities to improve international relations with countries to establish a partnership that can benefit all parties involved.

Master of Laws (L.L.M.)

If you are a bit of Daredevil inside and want to become a knight guarding justice and law with a flaming sword… Well, they don’t teach how to wield such weapons here, all they do is give you a master's degree. But feel free to slap trespassers with a pocket edition of The Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence right in their faces (please, don’t do it unless you are prepared to get charged with an assault).

Master of Human Resources (M.H.R. or MHRM)

Dealing with people is not for everyone, but some people seem to be so good at it that it almost looks like a pleasant thing to do. Surprising, right? And yet, those who find communication effortless should choose this master's degree since it’s designed specifically with people who possess the best soft skills in mind.

Master of Science in Analytics (M.S.A.)

This is a holy grail for the data whisperers keen on deciphering the intricate language of advanced data analysis and interpretation.

Master of Engineering (MEng)

If you like various mechanisms more than people (no judgment, really) and love to make things from scratch, this is a master's degree for you. Specializations such as civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and aerospace engineering await you.

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Are you the chosen one who can save us all? Study epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, and health policy to find out. Who knows, maybe your studies can save millions of people one day.

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Are you the next Michelangelo? Well, who knows? If you feel a need to express yourself in creative and performing arts, you should choose this master's degree to realize your full potential and show them all how masterpieces are made.

Master of Arts in Communication (M.A.C.)

With M.A.C., you have all the chances to become a Cicero of your time after acing advanced communication theories and learning to navigate the complex tapestry of human connection.

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

Ready to deal with Karens and Kevins? Well, you had it coming. To get a white-collar job, you should pursue an M.P.A. It's specifically designed for those who want to get a job in public service, administration, and management or want to work for the government in the future and finally make a change (we hope, a positive one).

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Those who feel the need to contribute to society and make the world a slightly better place are recommended to get a master's degree in social work-related areas. This way, one can learn how to help others by doing counseling and working on community development.

Explore the brave new world of academic achievements

The list of said master’s degrees encompasses the most popular master's degree programs, but if you feel that none of those mentioned here is for you, we suggest looking for more options. New and new opportunities arise daily, adding to the number of disciplines one can master.

Luckily, today, there are many master's degree education options to help students become a step closer to their academic dreams. Now that you know about different master’s degree types and varieties of majors available for you worldwide, choosing your path shouldn't be a problem.

However, try to always keep in mind that your academic journey is not a sprint. Actually, it's a marathon. So, if you have doubts, consider taking a gap year. Talk to people who are already in this field. In other words, test the waters before pursuing any master's degree courses.


The main types of master's degrees include Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Education (MEd), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and many more. Each type focuses on specific fields of study and may have different requirements and career outcomes.

When choosing a master's degree program, consider factors such as your career goals, interests, academic background, location preferences, accreditation of the program, faculty expertise, cost, financial aid options, and opportunities for internships or research.

Determine which master's degree program is the best fit for you by researching different programs, comparing their curriculum, faculty, facilities, and alumni outcomes. Additionally, consider reaching out to current students or alumni for insights, visiting campuses or attending virtual information sessions, and seeking guidance from academic advisors or mentors. It's essential to choose a program that aligns with your goals, values, and interests for a fulfilling educational experience.

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