• EN Action Another action
  • Course Match


Types of Master’s Degrees


By Hasna Haidar

Types of Master’s Degrees main image

Generally speaking, there are two main types of master’s degrees: course-based (taught) and research-based. Course-based master’s degrees are based on structured course modules taught through lectures, seminars, laboratory work or distance learning, while research-based master’s degrees require the student to carry out their own research project(s) in a specialized field of study. Research master’s degrees normally take a little longer than taught master’s degrees to complete. 

It is also possible to categorize master’s degrees in terms of subject matter, level of specialization, type of coursework and entry requirements, as you will see in the lists below…

What are the types of master’s degrees by subject/coursework type?

The following list describes the distinct types of master’s degrees based on the most common course names used in university listings. As there is no single standardized system, you may find variations between institutions in terms of both naming and course content.

Master of Arts (MA)

A Master of Arts (MA) is usually awarded in disciplines categorized as arts or social sciences, such as communications, education, languages, linguistics, literature, geography, history and music. Candidates are taught through a combination of lectures and seminars and assessed through an examination and/or a dissertation based on an independent research project .

Master of Science (MS, MSc)

A Master of Science (MS, MSc) is usually awarded in disciplines categorized as the sciences, such as biology, chemistry, engineering, health and statistics. Certain fields such as economics and the social sciences can fall under both arts and sciences, with the individual institution deciding on what to call their master’s degree program. In such subjects, it may be the case that the MS has a stronger research component and can be perceived to hold more weight than an MA in some industries.

Master of Research (MRes)

A Master of Research (MRes) degree is designed to provide training in how to become a researcher. Containing a significantly larger research element than MA or MSc programs, an MRes may give candidates an advantage if they wish to pursue a PhD or enter a career in research. Note that some institutions may refer to MRes-style degree programs as an MSc, so it’s worth checking the course content carefully before applying.

Master by Research (MPhil)

A Master by Research (MPhil) is an advanced research-based degree which allows the candidate to focus on a particular topic in-depth and independently, to complete a single large research project. An MPhil is often seen as a precursor to a PhD and is often used by institutions to allow students to ‘test the water’ before commencing a PhD degree program. This often takes longer to complete than other types of master’s degrees – though the length of time and the status awarded to an MPhil varies significantly depending on the country and institution.

Master of Studies (MSt)

Taught in only a few places (including the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge ), a Master of Studies (MSt) degree is comparable to the MA or MSc, requiring both classroom learning and the completion of a thesis and an examination. An MSt can serve as a provisional enrolment for a PhD in some cases. The need for this category of master’s degree partly stems from the fact that at Oxbridge universities students who have completed a Bachelor of Arts are automatically awarded an MA after a defined time-period has passed. In contrast, those with a MSt have completed postgraduate coursework to gain the title.

Specialized and professional master’s degrees

There are also more specialized types of master’s degrees, often focusing on a specific professional area. These are sometimes known as ‘tagged master’s degrees’, because they are ‘tagged’ to a certain field, or professional master’s degrees, because they focus on career development in a particular profession. Some professional master’s degrees start with the word Professional in the title, such as the Professional Science Master’s Degree (PSM), a hands-on degree with a heavy practical component giving students the skills and knowledge needed to work professionally in their chosen field.

As ever, classifications and course details will differ depending on the country and institution. Here are some of the most common examples of specialized and professional master’s degrees:

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

The Master of Business Administration   (MBA) is designed to give students the skills and knowledge required for career progression in business and management roles. Candidates are given broad training in all aspects of business, allowing them to apply their learning to a variety of careers. Many MBA candidates are mid-career professionals, with most programs requiring at least three years’ professional experience. You can also choose to combine an MBA with a specialization such as accounting or finance, and tailor the degree to a specific field of interest. Related master’s degrees include the Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) and Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS).

Master of Library Science (MLS, MLIS, MSLS) 

The Master of Library Science is designed to give students both academic and professional knowledge for entry into the workplace – in this case, libraries. Taught at an accredited library school, an MLS includes theoretical components along with a practicum (supervised practical teaching) or internship, ending with a research project or thesis. The MLS is often a requirement for professional librarian positions in the US and Canada.

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

The Master of Public Administration is a public policy degree similar to an MBA but focusing on the public sector rather than the private sector. Students can specialize in areas such as the environment, international administration and science and technology with an aim to work for the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), not-for-profit organizations and in consulting. The MPA combines academic and professional elements, with a focus on policy analysis and management. Other public policy master’s degrees include Master of Public Policy (MPP), Master of Public Affairs (MPA) Master of Urban Planning (MUP) and Master of International Affairs (MIA).

Master of Public Health (MPH)

The Master of Public Health has academic and professional elements, taking an interdisciplinary approach to areas related to public health. Students are taught how to monitor, diagnose and regulate the health concerns of communities through public policies. Many MPH degree programs are specialized in areas such as epidemiology, global health, occupational health, and nutritional sciences. While some countries accept students with accredited bachelor’s degrees for the MPH, others only accept medical graduates.

Master of Social Work (MSW) 

The Master of Social Work degree prepares students for careers within the field of social work, focusing on improving the quality of life for individuals, groups and communities. The MSW is offered either as a clinical degree allowing students to work directly with clients, or as a macro-practice degree preparing students for work in political advocacy and community organizing.

Master of Laws (LLM)

The Master of Laws degree is usually taken after having graduated from a professional law degree and gives candidates the chance to combine their knowledge of the basic skills needed to become a lawyer with specialist knowledge gained through research in a particular area of law.

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MA, MALS, MLA/ALM, MLS)

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide rigorous teaching in the liberal arts. Candidates graduate with both depth and breadth of postgraduate knowledge, with MALS programs drawing from courses and instructors from across the university’s postgraduate curriculum. Typically, liberal arts students choose the course for an opportunity to intellectually challenge themselves, explore ideas and pursue knowledge, rather than to pursue a specific career path.   

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The Master of Fine Arts is a creative degree granted in disciplines such as the visual, performing and studio arts. This may include creative writing, graphic design, photography, filmmaking, theatre and painting. Assessment and study are both practical, culminating in a major work or performance.  

Master of Music (MM/MMus)

Awarded by universities and music conservatories, the Master of Music degree combines advanced studies in a specialist applied area chosen by the student (such as music performance, composition or conducting) with advanced studies in musical theory. MM degrees could be preparation for teaching music or to become a professional in a chosen field.

Master of Education (MEd, MSEd, MIT, MAEd, MAT)

The Master of Education   degree prepares students for careers in education. Some Master of Education degrees prepare student teachers to become certified, while others are more suited for experienced, already certified teachers to specialize in areas such as curriculum, instruction, special education, counselling and administration. The MIT and MAT degrees include coursework and a student teaching internship and lead to the teacher certification qualification needed to teach in public schools.

Master of Engineering (MEng) 

The Master of Engineering   degree can be either academic (with a focus on engineering theories and practice) or professional (with a focus on preparing students for work in the engineering field). While some MEng programs require students to become published in an industry journal, others involve training periods in industry or laboratories, or a combination of the two in order to graduate.

Master of Architecture (M.Arch)

The Master of Architecture   is a master’s degree in architecture that assesses students through practical internships, final examinations and/or a thesis or final project in order to receive a license. As M.Arch degrees vary in kind, you may find different names for different types of programs. Students are required to produce coursework in subjects such as design, building science, structural engineering, architectural history and theory and professional practice.

Master's degree requirements 

Finally, master’s degrees also vary in terms of the entry requirements applicants need to meet. To meet the requirements of a master’s degrees it’s usually necessary to have graduated with a bachelor’s degree (though not always), and some programs require a certain amount of professional experience. See below for the most common requirements for different types of master’s degrees.  

Postgraduate master’s degrees (MA, MSc, MLA, MSW, etc) 

These master’s degrees are usually open to anyone who holds a bachelor’s degree.

Business or management master’s degrees (MBA, MSc, MIM, MSM, MA, MEM)

For these types of program, master’s degree requirements usually include a certain amount of professional experience, especially in the case of an MBA (Master of Business Administration). An MSc in Management (MSc, MIM, MSM) typically requires a bachelor’s degree in social sciences, while an MA in Management is more likely to accept candidates from all backgrounds. The Master’s in Engineering Management (MEM) is specially designed for engineering students.

Executive master’s degrees (EMBA, EMS)

Designed specifically for mid-career executive professionals, executive master’s degrees require candidates to have gained significant professional experience – even more than in the case of an MBA. The most common are Executive Master’s in Business Management (EMBA) or Executive MSc programs.

Postgraduate research master’s degrees (Master by Research)

Master by Research programs are designed for those who hold a bachelor’s degree with a significant research component and/or have several published research papers.

Integrated master’s degrees (MEng, MMath, MSci, etc) 

These are master’s degrees that follow on directly from an undergraduate degree program, most commonly available in scientific and technology subjects. It’s possible to apply for an integrated master’s degree program directly after completion of secondary-level education. Integrated master’s degree programs usually last a year longer than it would take to earn an undergraduate degree, and students may have the option to skip the final year and just graduate at bachelor’s level instead.

There is also the option (particularly in countries such as the US) to earn a master’s degree alongside your undergraduate studies. This is called ‘en route’, ‘in passing’ or ‘in course’ and is awarded following the successful completion of coursework and certain examinations.

This article was first published in January 2014 and most recently updated in January 2020.

This article was originally published in January 2014 . It was last updated in January 2023

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

Hasna image

+ 44 others saved this article

+ 45 others saved this article

Share this Page


Get assisted by higher education experts

Our expert teams can help start your academic journey by guiding you through the application process.

Related Articles Last year

graduate courses name

How I found my dream university in the United States

CN Laura image

Scholarships around the world for first-generation students

Aisha image

Six tips for choosing the right master’s degree for you

Pratibha image

How to do a Research Project: 6 Steps

Zain image

Six great benefits of being a mature medical student

Baurzhan image

What is a PhD?

Most shared last year.

graduate courses name

33 useful websites for students

Laura image

Future Skills You’ll Need In Your Career By 2030

Stephanie image

7 Time Management Tips for Students

Guest image

6 reasons to go on a student exchange programme

Chloe image

10 Study Tips That Will Make Nursing School Easier

Laura image

Most Read Last year

graduate courses name

How much does it cost to study in Canada?

Sabrina image

What is a Dissertation?

graduate courses name

What Is Graduate Education?

Whether they teach in an inner city public school or research diabetes at the National Institutes of Health, our graduate alumni are changing the way we live. A graduate education gives people the tools and connections they need to make a difference in our communities, from the neighborhoods of Seattle to the towns of Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Chances are, all of us have benefitted from graduate education.

Graduate education encompasses research, study and teaching beyond the bachelor’s degree. While undergraduate education leads to a bachelor’s degree, graduate education leads to master’s degree and doctorate, also called a doctoral degree.

Often, graduate degrees help people advance further in their careers and earn more over a lifetime. Some fields — such as physical therapy — require graduate degrees. Others, such as engineering, encourage them. Students may pursue a graduate degree immediately upon completing a bachelor’s, or they may return to graduate school later.

To pursue an academic career — teaching and conducting research at the university level — a doctorate degree is essential in nearly all fields of study. Teaching at a community college may require a master’s degrees and professional work experience. For those teaching kindergarten through 12 th grade, graduate degrees are highly recommended.

Nearly all researchers, whether they work in higher education, government or private industry, earn their doctorates, the most common of which is a doctor of philosophy degree, or Ph.D. Upon completing a doctorate, researchers, particularly in the sciences, may pursue a postdoctoral fellowship in which they continue study and research before getting a job as a professor.

What can you study in grad school at the UW? Anything you can imagine — and more.

Bachelor’s Degree

Master’s Degree

Doctoral Degree

Upcoming Events

Support the Graduate School

Be boundless

© 2023 University of Washington | Seattle, WA

All Souls College, Radcliffe Camera and Brasenose College at dawn

A-Z of courses

Use this A-Z and search tool to explore all of Oxford's graduate courses. 

Important notice

Please note that websites external to the University of Oxford may hold information on our courses.  Those websites may contain incomplete and inaccurate information. Please refer to this website which provides the definitive and up-to-date source of information on any graduate course offered by the University.


Before contacting us, consult our website and FAQs to see if your question has been answered:

Select from the list:

If you still have a question, contact us using our online form  and we'll reply by email. If you would prefer to contact us by phone, please consult our telephone support hours .

Privacy Policy

Postgraduate Applicant Privacy Policy

There's a wider range of courses available at postgraduate level. The way that you can study is also much more varied. Generally, there are three types of Masters degree.

Taught Masters such as Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MSc) degrees include a series of modules delivered in classrooms or laboratories followed by a final dissertation. Research Masters such as Master of Research (MRes) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degrees focus on independent project work rather than seminars and lectures.

More professional and vocational qualifications includes Masters of Business Administration (MBAs) as well as postgraduate teacher training, law and pre-registration nursing courses. These involve more practical placements and accredited training.

Shorter postgraduate courses, which cover Masters-level content but do not require a dissertation include postgraduate certificates and diplomas .

The guides here explain all of these types of Masters degrees and other postgraduate courses in much more detail. You can also jump straight below to a comparative list of Masters degrees and a short summary video.

graduate courses name

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a popular way to get into teaching, training graduates as qualified teachers. Our guide explains how the PGCE works.

graduate courses name

What is an MPhil? How does it differ from a PhD? And should you study one as a postgraduate? Our guide will help you choose the right Masters degree.

graduate courses name

Want to study a Masters with the freedom to do your own research? Our guide to the MRes degree will help you choose the right Master of Research.

graduate courses name

What is an LLM? Will a Masters in Law help you pursue a career in law as a solicitor? Choose the right postgraduate legal course with our detailed guide.

graduate courses name

What is a Master of Science? What's it like to study an MSc? Our guide will help you choose the right postgraduate degree for you.

graduate courses name

An integrated Masters is a programme that combines a Masters with a Bachelors or PhD. Find out more about how integrated Masters courses work.

What can you get a Masters degree in?

Taught Masters degrees involve studying a set schedule of lectures and seminars. Although they share plenty of similarities with undergraduate programmes, they involve a much greater level of independent study than you’ll be used to at Bachelors-level.

These are the main types of taught Masters degree and other postgraduate qualifications delivered by coursework:

Research Masters degrees are even more independent in nature than taught programmes. Students on these courses will typically focus on their own research work rather than following a set timetable of modules.

The main kinds of research Masters degrees are:

Professional Masters degrees are vocational courses aimed to prepare students for a career in a particular sector.

These are some of the most popular professional postgraduate qualifications:

Looking for a quick way to compare different types of Masters courses, side by side? Check out our list of degrees below.

Please note that individual degree programs can vary and it’s possible that a specific course at a given university might be slightly different to the typical guidelines above.

FindAMasters. Copyright 2005-2023 All rights reserved.

Unknown    ( change )

Have you got time to answer some quick questions about Masters study?

Select your nearest city

You haven’t completed your profile yet. To get the most out of FindAMasters, finish your profile and receive these benefits:

Or begin browsing FindAMasters.com

or begin browsing FindAMasters.com

*Offer only available for the duration of your active subscription, and subject to change. You MUST claim your prize within 72 hours, if not we will redraw.

graduate courses name

Already have a my FindAMasters Account? Log in

Create your account

Looking to list your Masters programmes? Log in here .

Modal image

Let us help you find a Masters

Never miss a course

Enter our ambassador competition

Get funding news, tips and advice

Hear about upcoming events

Sign up to our newsletter today

We've been helping students find the right postgraduate course for over a decade.

Login to your account

Enter your username below to login to your account.

The University of Maryland Graduate School

You are here

Contact information.

The Graduate School, University of Maryland

2123 Lee Building 7809 Regents Drive College Park, MD 20742 301-405-3644 [email protected]

Course Catalog

Graduate majors and concentrations.

Back to Top

Print Options

Send Page to Printer

Print this page.

Download Page (PDF)

The PDF will include all information unique to this page.

2022-2023 Catalog (PDF)

A copy of the full 2022-2023 catalog.


  1. Name List Graduate Training

    graduate courses name

  2. Undergraduate vs. Graduate Degree Programs [2022 Guide]

    graduate courses name

  3. 46 Free Graduate Courses You Can Take Online in 2022

    graduate courses name

  4. The Four Main College Degree Types

    graduate courses name

  5. Graduate Programs

    graduate courses name

  6. Graduate Courses

    graduate courses name


  1. Supporting & Engaging Graduate & Professional Students

  2. Application and Admission

  3. Guess the Indian City Name 😆

  4. Finally Itni Saari Demnd Pr Mai Lene Chla Gya Modify Scorpio🥴😵‍💫 Mini Vlog✨ #shorts #vlog

  5. Everything Graduate School

  6. New Graduate Student Orientation


  1. Types of Master's Degrees

    Master's degree requirements · Postgraduate master's degrees (MA, MSc, MLA, MSW, etc) · Business or management master's degrees (MBA, MSc, MIM, MSM, MA, MEM).

  2. List of master's degrees

    List of master's degrees · Master of Accountancy · Master of Advanced Study · Masters of Agricultural Economics · Master of Applied Finance · Master of Applied

  3. List of Professional Courses after Graduation

    For those exploring the list of professional courses after graduation to establish a career in the education sector, Post Graduate Diploma in Educational

  4. What Is Graduate Education? |

    Means you have gained more depth of knowledge in your field of study · Generally requires one to two years of study beyond the bachelor's degree · Some programs

  5. Introducing our courses

    You can browse our graduate courses A to Z or the list of courses organised by department. As a graduate student you'll belong to a department or faculty – a

  6. Graduate courses A-Z listing

    Use this A-Z and search tool to explore all of Oxford's graduate courses.

  7. Types of Masters Degree

    What can you get a Masters degree in? · Master of Arts (MA) · Master of Science (MSc) · Master of Fine Arts (MFA) · Master of Letters (MLitt)

  8. List of Programs (A to Z)

    List of Programs (A to Z) ; Business Administration and Real Estate Development, MBRE, Business ; Business Administration and Social Work (Joint Program with UMB)

  9. Graduate Majors and Concentrations

    Course Name Course Title Degree Name [email protected] Course Website. Advisor Name [email protected] 123-867-5309 123 College St. Champaign, IL 61820.

  10. Structure of the U.S. Education System: Master's Degrees (MS Word)

    Only if undergraduate courses are taken for graduate credit – requiring additional ... NOTE: This is only a partial list of such titles for informational