Prerequisites for Masters Degree Programs

Prior to enrolling in a master's degree program, students need to hold a bachelor's degree. Some graduate programs require that the student's undergraduate education be in a related field, while others accept any bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.

Master's Degree Program Prerequisites

Master's degree programs often require students to have maintained a 3.0 grade point average during their undergraduate education. Other prerequisites include providing college transcripts, letters of recommendation and a written essay on educational and career goals. Depending on the program, students may also have to submit scores for evaluation exams.

Common tests include the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), which assesses a student's readiness to tackle graduate-level work; the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), which is required for students interested in business; and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), which measures a foreign student's ability to communicate in English. Prospective law students need to submit LSAT (Law School Admission Test) scores, and potential medical students must share their MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) scores.

Master's Degree Types & Requirements

A master's degree is one of four main degree types in the United States, along with associate's, bachelor's and doctoral degrees. The length of a program is usually 1-2 years. Many schools require master's degree candidates to complete a thesis, or research paper, before they can graduate; although, some programs offer a non-thesis option. Numerous kinds of master's degree programs exist, such as Master of Science and Master of Arts. Other master's degrees include Master of Fine Arts, Master of Social Work, Master of Music, Master of Business Administration and Master of Education.

Career and Salary Information

According to PayScale.com, some of the more common jobs for employees with a master's degree include teacher, human resources director, software engineer, physician's assistant and architect. The median salaries for each of these workers in January 2016 were as follows:

  • Elementary School Teacher - $41,706
  • High School Teacher - $45,889
  • Architect (excluding naval and landscape) - $59,757
  • Executive Director, Nonprofit Organization - $61,781
  • Physician's Assistant - $87,342
  • Human Resources Director - $82,158
  • Senior Software Engineer - $102,779

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