What is a master's degree?

A master’s degree is a postgraduate degree which is awarded by universities or colleges after the completion of study in a specific subject. Within that area of study, graduates are assumed to have advanced knowledge as well as higher skills in analysis, critical thinking, and professional application. A master's degree usually takes 1-3 years to complete, and is the prerequisite to a doctorate degree. A bachelor’s degree is required for admission to a master’s degree program. A master’s degree is essential for some careers while optional for others, but will almost always expand opportunities for leadership roles and increased earnings.

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Updated March 2014