How are master programs different from bachelor programs ?

With the exception of being more advanced and more focused, how are they different? Do master courses too require taking unrelated courses? Why are they so much more expensive in the US?

9 Answers

  • MS
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    A master's degree is specialized in your field and there are no gen-ed courses, per se.  There may be a "core" of courses that is required for all graduate students in that program, but they are all related to the subject area.  The nature of the courses and their work tends to differ too.  There is a move away from lecture and toward discussion, and student-led discussion is common.  Textbooks are less commonly used in favor of journal articles and other primary sources.  All of this certainly varies by the specific program - some still lend themselves better to lecture and textbooks.  

    They are not necessarily that expensive.  I didn't pay a cent for my master's degree or my doctorate.  At the university where I teach, graduate tuition is only slightly higher than undergraduate tuition.  It is often justified because of the additional resources that graduate instruction requires.  If nothing else, there are almost always far fewer students in graduate courses, so more faculty resources are needed to cover the curriculum.  Some graduate programs require additional experiences (labs, clinicals, practicum, etc.) and the costs of supporting those are often folded into graduate tuition rates.  

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    more reading, more writing, more interaction with the professors, less beer-bongs, less coeds, less dorm parties, less football tailgates. 

  • 1 month ago

    To get into a master's level program, you have to have received a bachelor's degree already. In my experience, electives are still required but are related to your program. For instance, I have a masters in counseling, so my elective options were things like sandtray therapy, play therapy, family therapy, couples therapy, EFT, etc... specific modalities. One reason for the expense is because the requirement for teaching at the masters level is higher than undergrad, the university has to pay their educators. 

  • 1 month ago

    You need a bachelor's degree before you can get a master's degree. While a master's degree can take less time than a bachelor's, you'll get a deep specialized knowledge area, with no requirement of general education.

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  • 1 month ago

    There are two types of master's degrees in the U.S.

    The first type is academic. It is often the first part of a doctorate degree: some doctorate programs require a master's for admission. Those that admit students with a bachelor's degree will often award a masters for a "failed" PhD (that is, the student would have had to have passed their coursework, but if they failed to successfully defend their dissertation). 

    Academic master's degrees typically require advanced coursework in the field, and a thesis (which is an analysis of existing research, as opposed to the original research required of a dissertation). There are no unrelated classes. 

    Graduate students in academic programs typically serve as research assistants and teaching assistants for professors, and these positions often come with a stipend and tuition assistance. 

    The second type of master's degree is professional, that train people for particular careers: education, social work, library science, etc. (I'll include MBAs in this category, even though there's no particular job that comes along with them, but they nominally prepare you for a career in business). These mostly require advanced classes in the field, and may or may not require a thesis, depending on the university (or they may have thesis and non-thesis options). The classes required are all "related." 

    Generally, research assistantships and teaching assistantships are not available for professional degrees.

    Why are they so expensive? A few reasons include:

    1. The U.S. puts a *lot* more of its budget into the military than most other countries, so there is a lot less to spend on education (while this applies to state universities, not private ones, there's something of a "domino effect").

    2. I can't stress this enough: you really have No. Idea. what your education will cost in the U.S., until you receive your financial aid offer. Very few people pay "full sticker price" tuition rates that you see on the university web page; most students get some sort of financial aid. Those that can afford to pay full price often subsidize those that cannot. 

    3. Since subsidized student loans became available to a greatly expanded category of students (1978), universities can charge what they want, knowing the students can take out loans to cover the entire amount, plus living expenses. Since then, university tuition has increased at a rate that greatly exceeds the rate of inflation. 

    4. It's a seller's market. In fact, the most selective universities often have the highest tuitions. Why should they lower the price when they can find more than enough people willing to pay it? That includes international students, willing to pay any price to get a university education in the U.S. 

    That said, some of the most selective universities, like Harvard and MIT, provide financial aid to international students based on need, same as U.S. students.

  • DON W
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Graduate level courses generally have lower class sizes than those for undergraduates.  You are expected to have learned the basic of your subject area prior to admission into the program.  There's usually greater interaction between students and professors.  There is virtually no use of teaching assistants at the graduate level--the teacher will be the professor himself/herself.  A large number of students will be working adults.  Many of the students will be there on fellowships or graduate assistantships.  There will be no unrelated courses, although your program may allow you to take one or two electives from outside your exact program, provided they are related to your specialty.  

  • drip
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Masters degrees can vary depending on the subject studied. There are no unrelated classes. University tuition is expensive on the USA. There isn’t the amount government funding other countries have for their universities.

    Many student can get stipends. They can have teacher assist jobs, or do research for a project, 

    My son in law received a five year scholarship to complete his Masters and Doctorate degrees. He also got a Stipend/salary. Sometimes he had to work, mostly in a lab or TA work. Sometimes the department was awarded Grant money and he didn’t have work. 

    Many companies will send an employee to get their Masters degree and pay the tuition costs. My friend had her Masters degree in a science field and worked for a huge major corporation. They sent to back to school to get her Masters degree in a business area  and paid all expenses. 

  • Tavy
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    There are no courses. It is study in one subject.

    My son was funded in the U.K. for his in Nuclear Physics. It took one year.

  • Expat
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    They are more focused and advanced courses, but no, they do not include unrelated subjects. Why are they so expensive in the US? Who knows! I chose to go to Australia for my Master’s and later to the UK for my PhD because costs were far too high in the US. I was able to go to top 20 universities in the world for graduate school for a fraction of the cost of any state university in the US. 

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