If you want to take the next step forward in your career, an online master’s degree is an option to consider. While earning a bachelor’s degree on top of your high school diploma can increase your weekly income by 65%, earning a master’s degree more than doubles your income from that of a high school graduate (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Online master’s degree programs are ideal for students who are considering graduate school, but do not want to jeopardize their careers by dropping everything to attend class full-time.
Online degree schools predominantly offer master’s degrees. It makes sense—the students who need to keep up their skills in the workplace or need online graduate degrees to move ahead in their professions are the most likely to have jobs and families. Online education is a great fit for their busy lifestyle, because online master’s degree programs offer more flexibility than traditional brick and mortar colleges. Additionally, as online learning becomes commonplace, more and more schools are offering online courses.
What is the Online Master’s Degree?
Some online graduate programs today are among the most rigorous and prestigious available. The online master’s degree is the first academic or professional degree earned after the bachelor’s degree. For a traditional, full-time master’s degree, students may take a year or two to earn the required 30 or so credits.
In some master’s degree programs, students are simply expected to take advanced-level courses, and perhaps, pass a culminating exam. In others, original research and a thesis are required. Some online master’s degrees have a brief residency requirement, and many of the online master’s degree programs are professional in nature.
Janet Poley, PhD and president of the American Distance Education Consortium in Multiple Disciplines, maintains, “You can get a master’s degree in almost anything you want to study. The professional master’s degrees are relatively easy to set up, as are associate degrees, which also have lots of offerings.”
Online MA Degree or Online MS Degree?
The online master’s degree types that are available, include a Master of Arts (MA), a Master of Science (MS), and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Students who earn an online MA degree will have elected to choose a major in the arts or humanities, whereas online MS degree holders will have majored in a science discipline. Similarly, the MBA degree has a business and management focus.
Another type of online master’s degree that is available as a graduate program is the interdisciplinary degree, which offers students the option of designing their own course of study based on their particular interests. Some are offered in liberal studies or humanities and are granted for advanced study and a culminating project or thesis. Others combine academic and professional areas of study. For instance, students with interests in psychology and sociology can combine the two programs for their online degree.
With all of the benefits of a classroom environment and none of the commuting and scheduling hassles, online master’s degree programs are a convenient option for adults who are considering a graduate degree.
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