What is a Master’s Degree?

What is a Master’s Degree? This might just be one of the most difficult questions in the world to answer. If you ask Google, you’ll come across more than 3,210,000,000 answers. Understandably, this could be a bit discouraging. We decided to break down the world of master’s degrees for you, hoping to bring you closer to an answer.

In short

A variety of academic disciplines

There are several types of master’s degrees, offered in all academic disciplines. Broadly classified, these disciplines are defined within business, humanities, natural and applied sciences, and social sciences.
Within social sciences, you will find degrees in:

  • Education
  • Geography
  • Law
  • Psychology

Applied sciences offer degrees in fields such as:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering

In humanities, you will see degrees in fields like:

  • Literature
  • Art
  • Music
  • History
  • Philosophy

Finally, the business discipline offers degrees in fields such as:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Management

 

It is important to note that the definition of academic disciplines can differ between different institutions. The lists of academic fields within the disciplines are also by no means exhaustive, but it gives you a sense of the types of degrees you will find in different academic disciplines.

Business discipline

We will focus only on the business discipline. Within this discipline, you will find a wide array of business fields. There are some that are traditionally found in business education and a few up-and-coming ones. As always, it is good to do your own research since there might just be a niche program out there for you not covered in mainstream explanations of master’s degrees.

Master’s of Accounting

If you wish to gain an in-depth understanding of the world of accounting and are wishing to pursue accounting jobs, this is the degree for you. It will provide you with the grounding in specialist skills and knowledge necessary to work in accounting and related fields and most Master’s of Accounting will lead you to qualify as a certified public accountant (CPA).

Master’s of Finance

Looking for a career in finance? Then the Master’s of Finance is certainly for you. As the name indicates, you will immerse yourself in the specialized field of finance. You will cover all finance-related subjects and gain the skills and network to make it in the world of finance.

Master’s of Marketing

Marketing is interwoven with and crucial to the success of every business. In a Master’s of Marketing, you will learn all the theories, principles, technologies, and skills associated with this essential business function. Learning how to create great marketing strategies with the tool kits to successfully execute them is one of the key things you will take away from this degree.

Master’s of Entrepreneurship/Innovation

There has been a rise in the number of master’s degrees related to entrepreneurship or innovation (or both!) in recent years. This degree is designed for you if you wish to develop ideas for a new business or if you wish to innovate within existing organizations. The degree often has an incubator and/or business accelerator as part of the program experience, meaning you can develop and launch your business while studying.

Master’s of Information Systems/Data Analytics/Business Analytics

 Call it what you want – this degree is becoming increasingly important in our data-driven world. It will teach you how to apply modern data science and digital tools in business. You will learn how trends such as machine learning and AI can help solve business solutions and how the analysis of business data can shape and improve business operations.

Master’s in International Business

If you are a globally-minded student wishing to learn more about the intricate workings of international business, a Master’s in International Business is an option for you. Managing across geographies, cross-border transactions, negotiation skills, global supply chain – all these and more will be covered in the program, ensuring that you will become a truly global leader.

If you are a globally-minded student wishing to learn more about the intricate workings of international business, a Master’s in International Business is an option for you. Managing across geographies, cross-border transactions, negotiation skills, global supply chain – all these and more will be covered in the program, ensuring that you will become a truly global leader.

Based on Fordham’s Class of 2021, the average exit salary of a master’s graduate from the Gabelli School of Business is US$63,987. With most students having secured a job shortly after graduation – and some of them even before – the return on investment (ROI) of Fordham University master’s programs remains high.

Zoya adds, “We have a great networking system. We have a wonderful Career Center that’s going to do all they can to make sure that our students graduate with a job by the time they graduate. But really, the community that you can find at Gabelli is going to be hard to find anywhere else, and networking is so important, especially when it comes to the business world. The connections that you’ll make at Gabelli [are] lifelong connections. It’s not just transactional. It’s a very, very supportive community.” (09:18)

Master’s of Information Systems/Data Analytics/Business Analytics

If you share the belief that we need to do more to ensure that businesses look at more than just business alone, a program in these fields is where you can learn how to do this. There are some general programs covering sustainability issues at large while others focus on specific areas such as green energy or climate change.

Structure of a Master's degree

It is impossible to explain the structure of all master’s degrees – making the answer to “What is a master’s degree?” a bit difficult. But, in general, they tend to follow a similar “pattern.” You will start by following courses in most cases (although some programs offer flexibility in this regard – check your specific program) in what is called a “lock-step” format. This means that the degree is set up in a structured way where you need to complete specific courses and obtain the associated credits before continuing with the following courses. Once you have completed all the required courses, you could have the option to choose some elective courses to suit your specific career goals. 

A thesis, also called a dissertation, is often required as part of the program. The thesis is a research report written based on research you’ve conducted individually and independently on a topic in your subject area. An internship can also be a required part of the program. The internship is a work placement where you spend some time working for a company to gain practical experience as part of your degree.

Financing & application tips when applying to Fordham University master’s programs

It is impossible to explain the structure of all master’s degrees – making the answer to “What is a master’s degree?” a bit difficult. But, in general, they tend to follow a similar “pattern.” You will start by following courses in most cases (although some programs offer flexibility in this regard – check your specific program) in what is called a “lock-step” format. This means that the degree is set up in a structured way where you need to complete specific courses and obtain the associated credits before continuing with the following courses. Once you have completed all the required courses, you could have the option to choose some elective courses to suit your specific career goals. 

A thesis, also called a dissertation, is often required as part of the program. The thesis is a research report written based on research you’ve conducted individually and independently on a topic in your subject area. An internship can also be a required part of the program. The internship is a work placement where you spend some time working for a company to gain practical experience as part of your degree.

Master’s of Information Systems/Data Analytics/Business Analytics
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