MBA Vs. MS

Individuals with a completed bachelor's degree may consider furthering their education by obtaining a Master in Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Science (MS). Assessing key differences in these degree options will give a learner the tools needed to make an appropriate selection. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Change the header to; Evaluating the MBA and the MS degree options.

Evaluating the MBA and MS degree options.

The MBA and the MS are both master's degree programs with the potential to change one's career opportunities and compensation. Pursuing either degree path can make good sense for students interested in enhancing their education and career prospects. Here is a comparison of these two paths:

Master of Science Degree Program

An MS program is typically comprised of a bevy of courses that focus on specialized skill sets for a specific function in business and emphasizes learning skills for this role or occupation. Conventional entrance requirements for this degree include an application, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, some Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements (depending on the program), experience in the specific course of study and transcripts showing bachelor's degree completion. The degree program length can vary based on the program one selects, but in general programs can be completed in 12-24 months. Common coursework can include Statistical Quantitative Analysis, Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation, Probability, Statistics and Simulation and, Optimization Models and Methods, although specific courses are dictated by the program the student selects. Some career options include Corporate Trainer, Business Analyst, School Principal, Software Engineer, Computer Analyst or Sales Manager.

Master of Business Administration Degree Program

An MBA degree program includes courses that are focused on broader business concepts to give students a high-level overview about the business environment and the potential role that graduates can play in their occupation. Program requirements are comprised of an application, undergraduate transcripts, resume submission and some schools require the GRE or GMAT and professional experience, but this varies from school to school. Completing the MBA program can vary from 13-24 months depending on the program and the individual student's availability to complete the course sequence required by their school. Courses that are a part of the program can include Business Ethics, Strategic Marketing, Legal Environment of Business and, Organizational Behavior and Development and some MBA programs offer a discipline specific curriculum. Career opportunities for MBA graduates can also include Financial Manager, Product Manager, Marketing Director, Consultant and Medical or Health Services Manager.

Similarities and Differences - MS Degree

The MS degree has a distinct focus on giving students the deep knowledge they need to succeed in a specific area of business or industry expertise for their chosen field of study. Traditional and non-traditional students may opt to pursue the MS degree but must understand program requirements and flexibility needs prior to enrollment. Further, these degrees, in general, tend to be a bit pricier and may take students longer to complete. This degree can be pursued online, in-person or a hybrid of both depending on the program and the student needs.

Similarities and Differences - MBA Degree

The MBA degree focuses on providing students with fundamental knowledge about business or industry in a more general sense which gives students the foundation for engaging in business. This degree program also has both traditional and non-traditional students and has similar completion requirements to the MS degree. Some MBA programs also offer specific tracks that offer a focus in a discipline of business, for example, healthcare, marketing, finance or business analytics. MBA programs can be a bit less expensive and can offer students a bit more flexibility, but this really depends on the program the student decides pursues.

Quick Comparison Between the Degrees

Degree Program NameTypical Program RequirementsRelated CareersCommon Course OfferingsAverage Tuition costs
Master of ScienceAn application, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, some Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements, experience in specific course of study and undergraduate transcriptsCorporate Trainer, School Principal StatisticalQuantitative Analysis, Financial Statement Analysis and ValuationAbout $10,000-47,000 per academic year dependent on program*
Master of Business AdministrationAdmission application, professional experience, letters of recommendation, an essay, resume, transcripts, and GMAT or GRE scores, interview and application feeProduct Manager, ConsultantBusiness Ethics, Strategic MarketingAbout $3,600-10,000 per academic year dependent on program*

*Source - NCES - National Center for Education Statistics

The MS and MBA degrees both offer appealing education pathways for students who desire to expand their education and career opportunities. Knowing more about each program helps students to make an informed choice which can support future success.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

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  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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  • Liberty University

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  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

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  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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  • University of Alabama at Birmingham

    University of Alabama at Birmingham responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Alabama at Birmingham:

    • Master

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    • Alabama: Birmingham
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