The Difference Between a...

The Difference Between a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Many people say that an education is the key to a good job, a high income and a good life. That might not always be true, but earning a bachelor’s or a master’s degree is a good idea for anyone who wants to work in professions like education or law. Sometimes a bachelor’s degree is enough, but sometimes a master’s degree is necessary. How can you know how much education to get? Knowing the difference between a bachelor’s and master’s degree can get you started on making a decision.

How much education you need for your chosen profession depends very much on what level of work you want to do. A Bachelor of Education, for example, is all that most teachers need to work in the classroom. If they want to work as supervisors or school principals, however, they might need to work towards a master’s degree. In fields like English literature, psychology or sociology, a bachelor’s degree is usually only the first step towards further training and rarely leads directly to a job. In programs such as nursing, however, a bachelor’s degree is considered a high level of education. Each field has somewhat different requirements and job possibilities.

Despite all of these differences, most bachelor’s or master’s programs have some elements in common. Bachelor’s degrees are general introductions to the field and cover a wide variety of topics. Usually, students in these programs take some classes outside their chosen field, at least in the first year or two. A science student might be required to take an English literature or history class, for example, and an English literature student might be required to take a science class.

Bachelor’s programs might be three years or four years long. Completing these programs normally involves relatively small assignments like research papers, tests, experiments and exams. Students get the information they need mainly through lectures the professor gives during class and through reading the textbooks and other materials, with an occasional student presentation to give others a chance to teach.

At the master’s level, things begin to change. Most master’s classes use a seminar style, with students giving longer presentations and participating in discussions on each day’s topic. Class size is usually much smaller than at the bachelor’s level, but the assignments are more difficult. One of the biggest assignments is usually the thesis, which is a long paper of anywhere from about thirty to a hundred pages on a topic that the student chooses. Sometimes students can complete another major assignment instead of a thesis, but both choices involve a lot of work.

If you find studying and research very difficult, a master’s degree might not be right for you. If your chosen career has few job prospects, you might need to consider your options carefully. However, if you are willing to do a lot of hard work, a bachelor’s or master’s degree might be good choices for you.

Leave a comment!