Masters Studies Overview

If you are considering masters degree studies, below are some general quick tips and facts that will help you decide on your approach for applying for graduate school. If you are considering going to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree, there are a few things that are important to keep in mind.

Most masters degree programs take anywhere from one (1) to three (3) years to complete and often the intrinsic rewards as well as financial benefit make the whole investment worthwhile.

While the decision to pursue a master’s degree is generally a wise one with potential for career advancement, it is nonetheless imperative to verify that the program is indeed accredited. I.e. Accreditation is the affirmation that a college or university provides quality education that is recognized.

Keep in mind however that graduate school and masters degree studies require one to be self-motivated, driven, focused and organized in order to succeed.

General Entry Requirements

  • Entry requirements for a masters degree and other graduate school programs may include the following:
  • Graduate admission application
  • Statement of purpose or goal statement
  • Resume
  • Official masters and bachelor degree transcripts with a good GPA. This will vary from program to program but is usually at least 3.0 or 3.5.
  • Two (2) or three (3) letters of recommendation depending on the program
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for most graduate programs. The Graduate Management
  • Admission Test (GMAT) is required for MBA programs. Other entrance exams include the Miller
  • Analogy Test (MAT), The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) for law school, Medical College
  • Admission Test (MCAT) for medical schools, and Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) for Pharmacy schools admission.
  • Test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL) scores for international applicants
  • Documented evidence of financial support
  • Interview. Some graduate programs also require students to attend an interview, either face-to-face, via the phone, or video conferencing depending on location and proximity.

Quick Tips

  • A bachelor’s degree is often a requirement to join masters degree programs.
  • A master’s degree typically takes about 2 years to complete on a full time basis or 1.5 to 3 years part-time. This is equivalent to 30 to 36 semester credit hours or around 45 to 60 quarter credit hours. Exceeding this time line may require students to reapply or petition to remain in the program. In many programs you also start to lose earlier credits if the timeline is exceeded.
  • In addition to coursework, masters degree programs typically require students to complete one or more of the following: Masters thesis, practicum, comprehensive exams, internship, and exit portfolio.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 or 3.5 is often required for entry depending on the particular program.
  • Graduate exams such as the GRE, GMAT, and MAT are often required for admission.
  • Students can work as Graduate Assistants (GA), Research Assistants (RA), or Teaching Assistants (TA) when opportunities are available. Assistantships often offer tuition remission and/or a stipend during the academic year.
  • Many students keep their full time jobs and take part-time classes if they do not get assistantships.
  • Some masters programs require students to have some related work experience in their profession for consideration.
  • Many masters degree programs require students to maintain at least a “B” average to remain in the program.
  • Common masters degrees are: Master of Science (MSc.) Master of Arts (MA), Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Master of Education (MEd.), etc.
    In many masters degree studies and programs, courses are offered online, on campus or in both formats.