What are the Different Types of Graduate Degrees in the US?

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Many universities and colleges in the US offer different graduate degrees in a wide variety of subjects. Graduate degrees include master’s degrees, specialist degrees, and doctoral degrees. Their duration and requirements vary from university to university, according to matchcollege.com.

Graduate School

A graduate school is an educational institute that grants its students postgraduate degrees (such as master’s and doctorate programs). You need an undergraduate degree in order to apply to a graduate school.

Here, students focus on a defined area and complete research to create original work and publish research papers. Most students choose their college degree field in graduate school to get in-depth knowledge of that particular area.

Some students may go for a different field if they want a change career, or want to learn different skills. There are certain conditions associated with changing fields, and not all graduate schools allow it.

Graduate schools are usually within universities. But, they can also exist independently as colleges aiming to provide postgraduate education.

Different Types of Graduate Degrees

There are three levels of graduate degrees in the US. Degree courses, duration, requirements, and pathways differ from institute to institute. You should get complete information before applying for a graduate degree in a particular school.

Here is a brief introduction to the different types of graduate degrees.

Master’s Degree

Universities award a master’s degree to show that the student has mastered a set of knowledge within a particular area. It usually takes up to 2 years to earn a master’s degree if the student does not take breaks during the program. A master’s degree is offered in several areas of education. It leads to a doctorate degree.

Specialist Degree

This is a post-master’s degree that students can acquire before a doctorate degree. Some universities offer it with a master’s degree. To achieve this degree, students have to do additional research, and get internship experience. It helps students advance their careers and expand their knowledge base.

Doctorate Degree

This is the highest earned academic degree offered by graduate schools. Doctoral degrees take 4 to 7 years to complete. This duration can vary, as it mainly depends on the complexity of research work and other degree-related requirements. A doctorate degree student has to perform independent research projects to produce new work.

What is the Difference Between Graduate and Undergraduate degrees?

  • Undergraduate degree: Students earn this degree after the completion of higher school education. A bachelor’s degree takes 4 years to complete, while a master’s degree completes in 2 years.
  • Graduate degree: A graduate degree focuses more on teaching the core area. It is more concentrated and usually requires completion of original research. Here professors analyze your work more deeply to offer suggestions for improvement. On the other hand, a student has to study many elective subjects to get an undergraduate degree. It gives general information regarding your major subject.