Master degrees are post-graduate degrees that require between one and three years of advanced study in specialized subject-matter knowledge. The Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS) and Master of Science in Law are the most-common degree designations. Candidates may pursue a master degree to further their understanding of their original degree field, to change the focus of their general field, or to become a specialist. They may also desire a master degree to advance in their profession, attain promotions, or move into management.
Master degree programs are unlike undergraduate programs where general and broad studies are required. During the master degree program, students take only classes in their field, perform detailed research, and--in some cases--prepare a scholarly thesis reflecting their research results. Entry into a master degree program may require a satisfactory score on an admissions test, the completion of an undergraduate degree, and/or pertinent work experience. Many students choose to enter a PhD program, earning a master degree along the way.
The two most-common master degree specializations are in education and business. Would-be teachers holding a bachelor degree in their field can complete a master degree in education to become classroom certified. The fields are wide and extensive. One can earn an master degree in accounting, aviation, anthropology, finance, fine arts, biology, business, computer science, criminal justice, counseling and social work, engineering, earth studies, English, mathematics, history, human resources, public administration, nursing, information technology, health care administration, communications, design, marketing, hospitality and travel, telecommunications, eCommerce, medical technology, physical therapy, advertising, theology, music, physics, sociology, and more.