Master’s Degrees

A master’s degree is a type of postbaccalaureate credential, which in the United States typically requires credit hours equivalent to 1 or 2 years of full-time studies beyond a baccalaureate degree at institutions of higher education. Except for those who pursue first professional degrees in fields such as law and medicine, a master’s degree is often one’s first postbaccalaureate degree and is a requisite for attaining a doctoral degree. Internationally, master’s or equivalent level education is classified as International Standard Classification of Education Level 7 by the UNESCO, which offers advanced academic and/or professional knowledge, skills, and competencies.

Master’s degrees constitute no small part of U.S. postsecondary education. In 2015–2016, about 786,000 master’s degrees were conferred by postsecondary institutions in the United States, compared to 178,000 ...

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