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Education and Career

Master’s Degree Programs: Are you considering a postgraduate degree?

Are you trying to figure it out which is the most likely to help you achieve your career goals? If it’s time to decide whether you want to study in your home country or abroad, we recommend considering a range of options to help you make the right choice.

From a university abroad to somewhere more local, this article will give you an insight into all the different kinds of postgraduate degrees to help you decide with no regrets.

Postgraduate Degrees: one for everyone

Differentiating between Postgraduate Degrees will help potential applicants better identify the master programs they are looking for. Although there is a tendency to standardize titles at an international level to easily establish equivalence and ensure compatibility between different educational systems, differences do still exist. With this in mind, it is essential to understand that each country—and in some cases, each university, department or state—organizes degrees independently.

When evaluating which Postgraduate Degree Program you are interested in, it is crucial to understand the acronyms used in the program name, independent of the subject of study, as this will determine the direction of your Postgraduate Program. The essential characteristics of international degrees are as follows:

Career-Oriented Master’s Degrees

Career-oriented Master’s Degrees: This category includes the Master of Science – MSc (Magister Scientiae) and the Master of Arts – MA (Magister Artium), which have a hands-on approach, are research-based, and allow students to directly access the labor market (without excluding the possibility of a doctorate). This classification is applied in the United Kingdom and in some institutions in the United States. In Australia and Canada, professional master’s degrees are described as Master’s by Coursework or Taught Master’s.

However, in countries such as Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands the differentiation is not expressed by the name of the degree but by the type of institution that teaches it. An MA or MSc at a university of applied sciences (Hochschule or Fachhochschule – Hogescholen in Dutch) has a professional orientation; while an MSc or MA at a university (Universität -Universiteit in Dutch-) has a research orientation (Please note that some universities of applied sciences are focused on research).

Research-Oriented Master’s Degrees

Master’s degrees with a research orientation: the most representative degrees in this category are the Master of Philosophy – MPhil and the Master of Research – MRes, which have an emphasis on research as they prepare students who may continue with a doctorate. Again, in the case of the United Kingdom, this difference is explicit in the degree, but in most Australian, American, and New Zealand institutions, this is not the case, as research degrees can also be called MSc or MA. Similarly, as explained in the previous point, in the case of Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, the Research Orientation depends on the type of institution or the specific program, in some cases.

Master’s Degrees Specialized by Subject

In certain areas of study, some degrees gather and correspond to the specific professional position and research perspective of each subject. For example, in administration and business, one of the most recognized degrees is the MBA (Master of Business Administration), in law the LLM (Legum Magister), in public administration the MPA (Master of Public Administration), and in music the MMus (Master of Music), among others. Although many of these Master’s Degrees appear as generalist degrees in the field of study, it is increasingly common to combine them with in-depth lines of research in specific subjects.

Doctorate Degrees

Doctorates or PhDs (Philosophiae Doctor) are investigative degrees carried out under expert supervision (one or two supervisors). Their final result is a new contribution to knowledge in a specific field. They are generally classified by either the structured model—doctorates with a pre-defended curriculum and a thesis at the end—or the apprentice model—doctorates without a curriculum but with work to assist an expert and the development of a thesis in parallel. There are also professional doctorates (lasting for two or three years), whose objective is to generate a practical contribution in a field of study. Finally, Honorary Doctorates refer to Honorary Degrees awarded to those who have made significant contributions to an area of research without having completed the formal requirements of the institution.

Whatever the case, we recommend you start by finding out how it works in the country where you’re hoping to study before contacting the host university to ask them about the particular features of each degree.

If you want to continue your university career in Europe, why not consider attending an American university such as Franklin University Switzerland? They can offer you the opportunity to live on an American Style Campus while directly experiencing European culture. Check out the homepage and find the right course for you!

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Education and Career - Master’s Degree Programs: Are you considering a postgraduate degree?
Anna Papadopoulos
Anna Papadopoulos is a senior money, wealth, and asset management reporter at CEOWORLD magazine, covering consumer issues, investing and financial communities + author of the CEOWORLD magazine newsletter, writing about money with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. You can follow CEOWORLD magazine on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn for musings on money, wealth, asset management, millionaires, and billionaires. Email her at