Graduate Programs

Considering Graduate School: Types of Graduate Degrees

"Between my job and family, which includes three children, I thought it would be impossible for me to accomplish my goal of becoming a psychotherapist. But Cal State East Bay's flexible class schedule allowed me to get a bachelor's degree in psychology, and the night and weekend schedule will make it possible for me to complete a master's in counseling in just two years." -- Heloisa S. Wade

Types of Graduate Degrees
There are two traditional categories of graduate degrees—master's and doctoral. Many universities also offer combined degrees programs and certificate programs at the postbaccalaureate level.

Master's: Master's degree programs are offered in a wide range of fields and may offer advanced professional or academic training. 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 Arts, are designed for intellectual growth and are sometimes a prerequisite for doctoral work within a given field. Master's degrees usually take two to three years to complete.

Doctorate: Doctoral degrees, the highest earned academic degree, can also be professional or academic. Professional doctoral degrees, such as the Doctor of Education (EdD), stress the practical application of knowledge and skills. Academic doctoral degrees, such as the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), focus on advancing knowledge through original research in a given academic field. Doctorates usually take three to six years to complete.

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Tarita Varner

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Last Update: June 02, 2016