Your First Year: Going For The MastersGo Back To Guides
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There are two kinds of master's degrees: those awarded on the way to the doctorate and those designated "terminal." The ominous-sounding label "terminal" just means that this degree is considered an end in itself, so it doesn't automatically launch you into a Ph.D. program. In some fields, this is because the master's degree is considered the "terminal professional degree" - that is, the master's provides the knowledge and training you need to join a profession.
Terminal master's degree programs are usually a lot like undergraduate school, only this time it's the program, and not your parents, that expects you to maintain at least a "B" average. Academic programs focus on coursework, research, and papers, and many require a thesis for graduation. Programs in social work and education also have a practical dimension, requiring candidates to work in classrooms, clinics, and other professional settings. These programs generally take longer to complete than other master's programs in order to allow for clinical work or practical training in addition to the classroom component.
Master's degrees are generally seen one of three ways. First, as "practical" degrees; they provide professional training or advancement. Second, as "entry" degrees; people may get a master's on the way to applying to a doctoral program to make admission more likely. Third, sometimes as a "consolation prize" awarded to those who are not admitted to a program's Ph.D. programs.Ready for a little pressure?
At the master's level, the operative word is probably pressure. Expect quite a bit more assigned reading than in college. Once you get past the introductory or foundation courses, you're usually evaluated on the basis of your papers and your in-class or practical work. You'll be expected to maintain at least a "B" average - getting less than a B grade often means no credit towards the degree - and you'll need markedly higher grades if you plan to move on to a doctoral program.
If you're on an academic track, also expect to write a thesis - a 50 to 100 page paper demonstrating your grasp of scholarship and research in your field before you can graduate. If you're on the practical track, fieldwork or additional coursework will likely take the place of the thesis.
Since master's programs often give relatively little financial aid, many master's students work at least part time and attend classes either part- or full-time. Juggling priorities is one of the first skills a master's student needs to develop.For more information or to enroll, visit www.kaptest.com