Difference Between Graduate and Masters

Graduate vs Masters

Difference between graduate and masters is a knowledge that every student who wishes to continue higher education after a bachelor’s degree should known about. A graduate degree is usually referred to as master’s degree and is undertaken after the completion of undergraduate course, also referred to as bachelor’s degree. While a bachelor’s degree is undertaken after school education, master’s degree is undertaken after completion of undergraduate course. Bachelor’s degree requires full-time study for 3-4 years whereas master’s degree course is of two years duration. However, graduate degrees are not just master’s degree but also involve doctoral degrees. There are differences in master’s and doctoral degrees that will be highlighted in this article. That is because a graduate degree can be either a master’s degree or a doctoral degree.

What is a Graduate Degree?

Graduate courses can be formal or informal, involving presentations, discussions, participation, research papers, seminars involving groups of students and so on which is quite different from the style of learning in undergraduate courses where lectures by faculty members is the primary mode of dissemination of knowledge. More in-depth study of a subject is the hallmark of all graduate courses, whether master’s or doctoral. Though both a masters and a doctoral degree combine coursework and research, a doctoral degree is considerably different from master’s degree. In general, both courses assume that a student is well versed with the basic concepts of the subject and is ready for advanced learning in the chosen field of study.

Difference Between Graduate and Masters

University of Cambridge offers graduate degrees.

Doctoral degrees are undertaken mostly by those who choose to make teaching a profession as one can very well be absorbed in the industry after the completion of the master’s degree and industries do not in general require someone who has done his doctoral degree. Doctoral degree is one graduate degree that is considered to be the highest point of learning in the subject. After submitting his thesis and completing the doctoral degree, one is eligible to become a lecturer in a college or a university.

What is a Master’s Degree?

Master’s degree courses can be purely academic in nature such as MA or MSc, or they can be professional in nature such as M.Tech (called MS) in US and MBA. Professional master’s degrees have specific names as described above (MFA, MSW, or M.Ed). Professional master’s degree courses require more. Some of the professional master’s degrees are terminal in nature in the sense that they do not automatically lead into doctoral work after their completion, though students can still decide to pursue thesis in their chosen subject.

University of Sussex offers master's degree.

University of Sussex offers master’s degree.

What is the difference between Graduate and Masters?

• Graduate degrees are the degrees undertaken after completion of a bachelor’s degree. There are two types of graduate degrees. They are the master’s degree and doctoral degree.

• Master’s degree is what anyone who has completed a bachelor’s degree can follow. However, not every bachelor’s degree holder can follow all the graduate degrees. That is because to follow a doctoral degree sometimes some universities require you to have master’s degree too. Some universities allow you to follow a doctoral degree as soon as you have finished your bachelor’s degree. So, it depends on the university which offers the course.

• Graduate and Master’s both focus on one subject. They do not follow several subjects as in a bachelor’s degree. These are very specialized degrees.

• From among the graduate degrees, master’s is not the highest degree. Doctoral degree is the highest graduate degree.

• For jobs, having a master’s degree is more than enough. Having both graduate degrees that is completing doctoral degree is also important if you are planning to become a university lecturer. This is the accepted qualification in many countries.

• The duration of a master’s degree is normally two years. This two years can be a combination of lectures and student work such as presentations and such. For graduate degrees, the duration can be up to four years. This is including the doctoral degree. To have a doctoral degree, which is the highest graduate degree, you have to usually study for four years after your bachelor’s (two years master’s + two year doctoral). Most of the doctoral degrees contain research work. So, graduate degrees contain research apart from lectures.

• Master’s degree is one of the graduate degrees.

When it comes to graduate and master’s degrees just simply remember this. Graduate degrees are the degrees you follow after having your first degree. There are two types of such graduate degrees. They are master’s and doctoral.

Images Courtesy:

  1. University of Cambridge, Peterhouse via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. University of Sussex Budynek Arts A by Joolz (CC BY-SA 2.5)