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
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.