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Fresno State University graduate Shayla Smith was congratulated on receiving her master’s degree during the commencement ceremony for the Department of Social Work Education. Social work is an increasingly popular master’s degree. John Walker/Fresno Bee/MCT via Getty Images
Can You Work While Getting A Master Degree?
Libby Nelson is a political editor, leading coverage of how government actions and inactions shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of experience in political journalism, including Inside Higher Ed and Politico. He joined in 2014.
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A recent survey showed that most of today’s freshmen expect to earn a master’s degree. That makes sense: A master’s degree is the fastest-growing college degree in the United States.
More than 16 million people in the United States (about 8 percent of the population) now have a master’s degree; This is an increase of 43 percent since 2002.
As more and more graduate degrees came, so did the debts associated with them. The typical total debt for a borrower with a bachelor’s or master’s degree is now more than $57,000, up from $40,200 in 2004. (This includes medical and law degrees.)
However, the growth was not evenly distributed. The story of the past four decades is not just that master’s degrees have become as common today as bachelor’s degrees were in the 1960s. It’s about how the United States is redefining which fields require or reward a college degree.
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In 1970, the 15 most popular master’s degrees, representing 94 percent of all master’s degrees awarded that year, distributed their market shares as follows:
Education dominated, and most other master’s degrees were in traditional academic fields. They would lose their position in the professional rankings over the next four decades. And slowly but surely MBAs would take over the world.
By the time the Class of 1981 donned their graduation gowns, the titles that would dominate the next 30 years placed them at the top of the pile.
Two categories of career-focused degrees earned were health professions (public health, nursing, and related fields) and public administration and social services (public policy and social work). And computer science appeared for the first time.
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Although the number of master’s degrees continues to grow, the top 15 degrees have not changed much in the 1980s and 1990s. Here’s what the class of 2002 looks like:
While theology and history were losing ground, computer science was on the rise. Education, once much more popular than business, is now more or less at the same level.
The year 2000 saw a real rise in professional master’s degrees. In 1971, about 64 percent of master’s degree recipients earned either a business degree or a degree corresponding to a specific occupation (engineer, nurse, librarian, clerk). By 2012, they were almost 80 percent, and business continued to dominate, surpassing education in 2010:
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. The top 15 master’s degrees account for 91 percent of all master’s degrees awarded, but do not (yet) represent some of the fastest-growing fields in the 21st century:
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What do they get for their money? Almost regardless of college major, a master’s degree further increases earning power, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.
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Master’s Degree Programs
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Get our editors’ pick of the best in journalism to read, watch and listen to every week. (from the Latin magister) is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities or colleges after completion of a master’s or higher degree. Order an overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice.
A master’s degree usually requires previous study at bachelor’s level, either as a stand-alone degree or as part of an integrated course. Within the field of study, graduates of the master’s degree are expected to have advanced knowledge in a set of professional theoretical and applied subjects; high-level skills in analysis, critical evaluation or professional practice; and the ability to solve complex problems and think consistently and independently.
The master’s degree dates back to the beginnings of European universities with a papal decree in 1233 which stated that anyone admitted to a master’s degree at the University of Toulouse should be allowed to teach freely at another university. The original meaning of the master’s degree was that one who was admitted to the rank (degree) of master (i.e. teacher) at one university should be admitted to the same rank at other universities. It was gradually formalized as lictia docdī (license to teach). At first there was no distinction between masters and doctors, but from the 15th century it became customary in English universities to refer to teachers in the lower faculties (arts and grammar) as masters and teachers in the higher faculties as doctors.
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Originally, the bachelor’s degree (BA) was awarded for the study of the trivium and the master of arts (MA) for the study of the quadrivium.
From the late Middle Ages until the 19th century, the bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the lower faculties should therefore have a bachelor’s and doctoral degree at the higher faculties. The first graduate degrees (Magister Artium or Master of Arts) in the United States were awarded at Harvard University shortly after its founding.
In Scotland, the pre-Reformation universities (St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberde) developed to allow the Scottish MA to be the first degree; At Oxford, Cambridge and Trinity College Dublin the MA was awarded to BA graduates of some standing. This is an advanced exam from the late 17th century; Its main goal is to gain full membership at the university.
At Harvard, 1700 regulations required graduate candidates to pass a public examination.
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In the 19th century, there was a great boom in the number of master’s degrees offered. At the beginning of education, the only postgraduate degree was the master’s degree, which was normally awarded without the need for further study or examinations. The Master of Surgery degree was introduced by the University of Glasgow in 1815.
In 1861 it was adopted by all of Scotland, as well as Cambridge and Durham in Gland and Dublin University in Ireland.
When the College of Surgeons of Philadelphia was founded in 1870, it conferred the degree of Master of Surgery “the same as in Europe.”
But there was great doubt as to the quality of the Scotch degrees of this period. In 1832, Lord Brougham, Lord Chancellor and alumnus of the University of Edinburgh, told the House of Lords: “The Universities of Gland conferred degrees after a considerable period of residence, after much effort, and though not in every respect. the statute of the Universities?” “Strict as it was, the Master’s degrees could not be said to have been created without any residence or examination, as was the case in Scotland at Oxford and Cambridge. It was an invalid provision for universities. set conditions for awarding degrees.’
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Separate examinations for the M.A. in Cloth were re-introduced in 1837 at the newly founded University of Durham (although, as in the old English universities, this was to ensure full membership), and new universities followed suit in 1840. The University of London had power to confer degrees by examination only under its statutes.
However, halfway through the semester, the master’s degree with the second-level examination was again threatened; Durham began automatically awarding BAs to honors winners in 1857, following the Oxbridge MA and Edinburgh. other Scottish universities have awarded the MA as their first degree since 1858 rather than the BA.
At the same time, new universities were being established around the British Empire along London, including Masters: the University of Sydney in Australia in 1850 and the University of Que in Ireland and the University of Bombay (now Bombay University). university
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