Most masters courses are taught in modules, and last one year full-time, at least in the UK; in many European and North American universities a masters course may take two years to complete, or occasionally even longer. Flexible part-time options are available at some institutions. A masters course can allow you to extend your knowledge of a specific area of interest, or to explore new topics unrelated to your first degree.
The masters degrees you will most commonly come across are:
- MA – generally arts, social sciences or business
- MSt - generally arts, social sciences or business, common at Oxford
- MSc – science and technology disciplines (MS in the USA)
- MRes – research techniques, often as a precursor to a PhD/DPhil programme
- MBA – management and business, usually after a few years of business experience
- MPhil – includes a substantial piece of individual research
- Subject-specific degree titles such as MEd, MEng
Some postgraduate courses lead directly to a professional qualification required for entry into a particular career. Examples include the PGCE or PGDE for teaching and the GDL for law. However, there are a whole series of other further study options which could be classified as vocational, ranging from six-week courses in computer skills through to the PhD or DPhil in Clinical Psychology, necessary to work as a Clinical Psychologist.
Find out more about study routes into specific career areas in sectors and occupations.