Kentucky Virtual Campus

Selecting a Master's Degrees

Why should I go to graduate school?

Reasons to continue your education vary from person to person. Mostly it depends on your life goals.

  • If you want to teach, you need an advanced degree.
  • If you want to do research, you need an advanced degree.
  • If you want to improve your marketable skills - and your earning potential - an advanced degree can help.
  • If you want to switch careers, an advanced degree can help. And there's always the challenge of mastering a field of specialized knowledge and satisfying your intellectual curiosity...

Types of Online Master's Degrees Available

Master's degrees can be professional or academic. Professional degrees, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), are designed for employment or advancement within a given field. Academic degrees, such as a Master of Science, are designed for intellectual growth and (sometimes) a prerequisite for doctoral work within a given field. Master's degrees may take one to three years to complete.

Master's Degree Requirements

Requirements for a master's degree vary by school, but generally include between 33 and 45 credits of coursework and completion of a non-thesis project (consisting of a working model and project report) or a thesis (consisting of a small research project and a small book).

There are advantages to either route -- thesis or non-thesis. Some of the advantages of writing a thesis include:

  • challenge...gain a deeper, more specialized understanding of your topic
  • prestige...a thesis garners more respect in academia, research communities, and industry
  • networking...work more closely with faculty than you would otherwise and have more opportunities to be introduced to their colleagues
  • research experience...you'll have an advantage if you decide to pursue a Ph.D. or find a research-oriented job
  • writing experience...writing a thesis provides in-depth experience in writing a technical paper, excellent preparation for writing a Ph.D. dissertation
  • the experience of writing an M.S. thesis can help you decide if you want to pursue a Ph.D.

Advantages of going the non-thesis route include:

  • it's usually easier on you...you already know how to take classes
  • it's usually faster...finish in one year (if you're going to school full time) vs. up to two for the thesis option

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