Online Masters Degree

Earning a master's degree usually requires one to three years of postgraduate or graduate study. The two basic types of online master’s degrees are the Master's of Arts and Master's of Science. A master's level education can mean entry into a profession, the chance for promotion in an existing position, or personal enrichment and achievement.

At the master's level, graduate students take advanced courses, some write a thesis (a significant scholarly work based on independent research), and others have internships or practical work experience, depending on their field of study.

Though some master level degree programs lead directly to a career, others do not. An M.A. in Family Counseling qualifies its holder to serve an internship leading to testing and a counseling position. An M.A. in History, by contrast, prepares its holder to go on to doctoral study and a university career, but the connection between the degree and a career path is indirect. That History master's won't qualify its holder to teach, unless he or she has an additional teaching credential and experience.

Some master's degrees are considered "terminal degrees," meaning no further degree is expected or needed for professional advance in that field. The MFA, or Master of Fine Arts, is a terminal degree for painters, photographers, sculptors, and creative writers.
Most campus-based M.A. and M.S. degrees take three to four semesters (about 30 semester hours) of full-time study to complete. However, some master's degrees can require up to 60 semester hours, especially those such as the MSW (Masters of Social Work), which prepare their holders to intern in their profession upon completion of their degree. Still, time to completion runs 16-36 months.

M.A. and M.S. degrees in fields other than education attract 29 percent of advanced-degree seekers. Some remaining master's degree information is given below.


Business (MBA; M.S. in Business)
Nearly one in five students pursuing a master's degree is working on an MBA. It is the most popular degree choice for online graduate study. The MBA can be either a general business administration degree or a specialized degree with a focus on finance, globalization, e-business, and the like. Dozens of sub-specialty MBA programs help online students tailor their business educations to fit their existing positions.
The M.S. in Business is a research-oriented degree. Students frequently choose this degree when they ultimately want to go on to a Ph.D. in business in order to research and teach at the university level.
Education (MEd; MAT; MSEd)
At least 28 percent of the students pursuing master's degrees focus on education. The Master of Education degree is a generalist degree that includes educational psychology and theories of education. Like the MBA, the MEd degree has specializations. The MEd in Corporate Training or E-Learning goes hand in hand with online study and a technology oriented teaching career.
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) prepares the graduate to teach a specific subject at a specific level, middle school or high school. The MAT is more hands-on, often including practice teaching or related classroom experiences.
The MSEd degree is for those who want to work in administration. It's a popular degree with teachers who are ready to transition from the classroom to the principal's office.

Other Master's Degrees (MSW; MLS; MPH)
The remaining 24 percent of master's degrees are granted in fields such as social work (MSW) or library science (MLS). Master's degrees in nursing and the health professions are available for medical practitioners and medical administrators as well. The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is for health professionals.

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