Graduate academic and professional degree programs
These degrees are offered at four-year colleges and universities and at graduate academic and professional schools. You must have a Bachelor’s degree before you can move on to pursue a graduate academic or professional degree. Students studying to earn one of these degrees must take highly advanced and specialized courses in a specific academic or professional field. It generally takes two years of full-time study for a master’s degree, and three to four years of full-time study for a doctorate degree.
- Graduate academic degree programs require advanced study in an academic field. They emphasize theory, as opposed to practical application, with the goal of contributing to the body of knowledge on a subject. Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are examples of graduate academic degrees.
- Graduate professional degree programs require advanced study in a professional or vocational field. They emphasize the practical application of knowledge to a professional practice, and are usually required in order to get a license to work in that profession. Master of Engineering (M.E.) and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) are examples of graduate professional degrees.
U.S. Dep’t of Educ. Office of Vocational and Adult Educ., Take Charge of Your Future: Get the Education and Training You Need (2012); see also Quick Guide: Your College Degree Options, College Board, www.bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/college-101/quick-guide-your-college-degree-options. ↑