MA Degree

MA Degree

One of the two most commonly awarded Master’s Degrees, an MA degree is also known as a Masters of the Arts. This distinction separates an MA degree from a science-based MS degree.

Obtaining an MA degree shows employers that an individual is truly committed to their chosen field. Here, we’ll explore this postgraduate degree. We’ll review how long an MA degree takes to obtain and what is involved, take a look at some common specialties, and help you determine whether this degree is right for you.

What’s Involved in Obtaining an MA Degree?

MA Degree

Before enrolling in any Master’s program, a student must first have completed a Bachelor’s Degree. A Master’s Degree is a level of academic achievement which is above a Bachelor’s Degree and below a Doctorate.

Depending on which school you attend, prior work experience may take the place of a Bachelor’s Degree. You may be admitted into an MA degree program without a Bachelor’s Degree if the school determines that you have sufficient work experience in the field in which you’ll be pursuing your degree.

Admittance into an MA degree program may require a high GPA during your previous college experience. In addition, some MA degree programs require that your Bachelor’s Degree be in the same or a similar field. For example, if you wish to pursue an MA degree in social work, your school may require a background of study in some type of related humanity.

Obtaining your MA degree will involve a different level of classroom work, research and work-study, depending on your chosen field. A subject which is heavily reliant on reading and research will involve more classroom study. On the other hand, a subject which benefits from real-world experience will rely more heavily on work study, internships, and other types of non-classroom study.

Today’s world of education is highly individualized. While Master’s Degrees are more traditionally defined than Bachelor’s Degrees, some schools are beginning to offer an individualized MA degree, as well as individualized MS degrees. These degrees are essentially designed by the student, working with their advisor. They are then approved by the appropriate faculty members.

On average, it takes two additional years of study to obtain an MA degree. Typically, this time is divided between classroom and outside study. A thesis is often required at the end of this two year period; a thesis is some type of project, such as a written paper or a research project, which demonstrates your cumulative learned knowledge.

What are Some Common MA Degrees?

It should be noted that by working with your advisor, an individually designed MA degree is possible. However, the following are some of the most common.

  • Master of Arts in English – This degree focuses on the study of the English language, and students will become familiar with classic works of English literature as well as grammar.
  • Master of Arts in History – Focused on a particular period of history or a general overview.
  • Master of Arts in Geography – Focused on the human side of geography. Place names, different cultural groups and other similar aspects are studied, with a less intense focus on scientific aspects such as topography.
  • Master of Arts in Philosophy – Focused on the study of famous philosophers and their works, as well as popular current philosophies.
  • Master of Arts in Fine Arts – This degree can be generalized or specialized. A student may want to have their degree encompass the world of fine arts as a whole. They can also choose to focus on a particular field, such as sculpture or dance.
  • Master of Arts in Social Sciences – The social sciences focus on the science of humans. Possible focuses are greatly varied, and include criminology, law, anthropology, archeology, economics, government, education, linguistics, political science, international relations and psychology, among many others.
  • Master of Arts in Theology – The study of world religions past and present, this degree may also be generalized or highly specialized. Often pursued by clergy members to further their knowledge of their own religion and others.

Is an MA Degree Right for You?

There are many reasons to pursue an MA degree. Many students are seeking to advance their education before venturing into the professional world, in order to give themselves the best possible start. Others are working adults who want to increase their advancement and earning potential. Still others are seeking a career change, or want to shift their focus within the same career field.

If you’re considering an MA degree, chances are good that you fall into one of these groups. Focusing your attention on your chosen career, whether it’s your current profession or a new venture, can only benefit you in the long run. Studies have shown that professionals who hold an MA degree are looked upon more favorably when it comes to job opportunities. In addition, they typically earn more than those with a Bachelor’s Degree or less.

Anytime an MA degree is financially possible, experts agree that it should be pursued. Advancing your education will benefit you in many different ways, and obtaining an MA degree is a time honored and respected way to achieve your goals.

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