Difference Between Graduate and Masters

Graduate vs Masters

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 in western countries such as US, UK, and Australia. While a bachelor’s degree is undertaken after 10+2, 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 masters and doctoral degrees that will be highlighted in this article.

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. 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 embers 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.

One major difference lies in the use of credits that are requirements of master’s level degree course. These are referred to as units or hours and a student needs to complete a minimum number of credits to complete a course.

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.

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 some one 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 and after submitting his thesis and completing doctoral degree; one is eligible to become a lecturer in a college or a university.