What Are the Prerequisites for a Master's Degree?
Students interested in earning master's degrees will need to be aware of the prerequisites associated with their potential graduate programs. While all master's degree programs differ, the good news is that there are some general prerequisites that are common to many programs. Read on to learn more.
Typical Master's Degree Prerequisites
When you apply to a master's degree program in any field, you'll need to show that you've established the necessary background, or prerequisites, to be successful in the program. With very few exceptions, you must hold a bachelor's degree in order to be admitted to a master's degree program. The type of master's degree program that you're interested in will dictate the type of bachelor's degree you should earn.
Some graduate-level programs don't require you to have an undergraduate degree in a particular subject, while others, such as engineering and architecture programs, require a degree in a related discipline. Some programs will also require that you meet certain course prerequisites. As an example, art therapy master's degree programs often require you to have completed at least 12 credits of psychology coursework as an undergraduate.
Important Facts About Master's Programs
|Online Availability||Full programs are offered in areas such as business analytics, behavioral health, global technology and development, creative writing, and sports management|
|Possible Careers||Software engineering, human resources director, financial analyst, physician assistant, and IT project manager|
|Specializations||Areas such as mental health counseling, strategic communication, public administration, cybersecurity, and professional accountancy|
|Programs||National scholarships and fellowships are offered|
|Median Salary (2018)||$85,660 (Financial Analysts)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||11% growth (Financial Analysts)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Certain healthcare programs, such as physician assistant programs, will require that you have a predetermined amount of clinical or laboratory experience. Some graduate degree programs will require that you have graduated from a program that has been accredited by a particular agency. For instance, many engineering programs will require that you earn a bachelor's degree from a program accredited by ABET.
You might also need to provide proof of having maintained a certain GPA as an undergraduate. Because many of these prerequisites vary widely, it's important to learn about the requirements of the programs you're interested in applying to before you complete your undergraduate degree to make sure you have the background you'll need to continue your education.
Many master's degree programs will require that you submit your scores from a particular entrance exam. These exams may test your general knowledge, like the GRE, or they may be subject-specific, such as the LSAT for law students, the MCAT for medical students and the GMAT for business students.
You might be able to waive this testing requirement, however, by finishing a sequence of undergraduate courses or maintaining a high GPA. Some programs may also waive testing requirements for non-traditional students with significant career or life experiences.