There are many different degree options at the master's level. Students can find programs at four-year universities around the country.
Top Ten Schools with Graduate Programs
Some of the top schools in the U.S. offering master's degrees include the following institutions:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Graduate Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Princeton University||Princeton, NJ||4-year, Private||$43,450|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, MA||4-year, Private||$41,832|
|Yale University||New Haven, CT||4-year, Private||$38,700|
|Columbia University||New York, NY||4-year, Private||$42,280|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, Private||$45,729|
|University of Chicago||Chicago, IL||4-year, Private||$51,624|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge, MA||4-year, Private||$46,400|
|Duke University||Durham, NC||4-year, Private||$47,590|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, Private||$31,068|
|California Institute of Technology||Pasadena, CA||4-year, Private||$43,710|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
University Selection Criteria
Here are a few factors to consider when seeking a graduate program:
- Schools offering flexible class schedules, including night, weekend or online courses, may be ideal for those with full-time jobs, a family or other responsibilities.
- Students who plan to enroll in a research-based program should find out if there are faculty members at the school with whom they share research interests, as they could act as thesis advisors.
- Students concerned with the cost of a graduate program should look into teaching positions, assistantships, scholarships and grants available through the school that could help defray expenses.
- Not every school offers the same graduate programs, so students should research schools to see if master's degrees are offered in their field of study.
Master's Degree Programs
Master's degree programs are available in almost every academic field of study. In order to enroll, students must have a bachelor's degree, and some programs require them to have taken subject-specific undergraduate coursework. Depending on the program, students may be able to choose between thesis and non-thesis tracks; students who choose not to write a thesis may be required to take additional classes or submit a final project. In total, master's degree programs usually take either two or three years to complete.
There are also many different types of master's degrees. Perhaps the most common are advanced education degrees - Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) degrees - which provide high-level courses and, in some cases, research opportunities in the student's chosen field. These may also be awarded as an intermediate degree within a broader doctoral program. Another option is a professional master's degree, such as a Master of Engineering (MEng), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Master of Education, which prepare students specifically for careers in that industry. For aspiring artists, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees provide the opportunity to hone their craft. Trained lawyers can specialize their education by pursuing a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in a particular subfield of law.
There are a number of factors that determine a student's choice in a master's degree program, including availability in their field of study and research opportunities. Students should also consider their long-term career goals when choosing between degree options.