Master's Degree Schools

So you made it through high school and earned your Bachelor's degree in your favorite course of study. Think you know it all now? Yes, you could be chock full of valuable knowledge, but there is always more to learn. That is when further graduate studies come into play. A master's degree is awarded to students who "have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice." That's a fancy way of saying you just got smarter!

If you accept the fact that a Bachelor's degree is going to provide you with an elevated opportunity for career and salary advancements, then it only stands to reason that going for a master's degree will take you to the next level of rewards in your chosen profession.

Popular Types of Master's Degrees

As with the Bachelor's degrees, the two most popular master's degrees are the Master of Arts or M.A. and the Master of Science or M.S. When you enter into a master's degree program you'll be focusing on course work, research or a combination of the two. Beyond those two, you can also opt for a Master of Music, Master of Communications, Master of Fine Arts or a Master of Physician Assistant Studies just to name a few.

You can only earn a master's degree if you've already earned a Bachelor's degree. However, there are some colleges which offer a dual track program that allows you to go for both types of degrees at the same time. Instead of four years, you can expect to be enrolled for five or six years. Yes, this means you'll be entering Van Wilder territory if you stay at the same school.

Master's Degree Rankings

U.S. News and World Reports has a comprehensive listing of American colleges and universities that offer master's degree programs. It is not uncommon for a student to transfer from the college where they achieved their Bachelor's degree to another university to get a master's degree. These choices can be made based on the school's reputation, who is teaching the course or even merely the proximity to a favorite living environment. The following are the tops schools in select master's degree programs.

The top three schools for a Master's in Business Administration are Harvard University, Stanford University and the Sloan School of Management on the campus of MIT. A MBA can prepare a graduate for work at any Fortune 500 company. Within this area of study there are specific focuses that can be applied to the degree. The umbrella of an MBA can also mean a masters in accounting, finance, marketing, nonprofit organizations, management, human resources and entrepreneurship.

For a Masters in Education the top ranked schools are Vanderbilt University, Teachers College at Columbia University and Harvard. Although you can certainly find a teaching job with a Bachelor's degree, having a Master's in Education could move you to the top of the resume pile. Just like you can specialize in different areas of business, this degree program will allow you to focus on elementary, middle or high school education. You can also concentrate on education administration or curriculum writing.

Becoming a lawyer means passing the bar. First you'll have to go to law school and get a Master's in Law. The big three for this are (and have been for some time) Yale, Harvard and Stanford. These are the schools that have graduated the most Presidents, judges and congressmen and women. Studying the law at these or any other master degree universities will give you the option of immersing in dispute resolution, environmental law, healthcare law, trial advocacy and corporate law.

Just as a lawyer needs to continue their studies at law school, a doctor needs to continue onto medical school. The leading universities in this realm are once again Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. By the time you enter into a Masters in Medicine degree program, you might be close to picking your area of specialty. Would you be concentrating on internal medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, women's health, surgery, oncology, rural medicine or general practice? It all depends on what kind of doctor you want to be.

For a Master in Fine Arts you could pick from the top three of Rhode Island School of Design, Yale University or the School of Art Institute Chicago. A Fine Arts Degree is often associated with the entertainment arena such as theatre, cinema and television. But this degree can also allow you to specialize in graphic design, photography, printmaking, interior design, sculpture and industrial design. In other words, there is a lot of art to go around.

Because master's degree programs are more specialized areas of study, not every college or university offers these types of programs. You don't have to decide on a master's program at the beginning of your college career. However, it is certainly something to consider the further you advance in your studies. This is especially true for someone who appreciates higher education. If you are eager to get out into the work force, you can find many master's degrees programs that can be accomplished through night classes or online. It might take longer, but you'll still get your degree.