Difference Between a Graduate & a Master's Degree


Graduate college degrees typically follow a bachelor's degree and require additional years of study. A master's degree isn't different from a graduate degree, because it's actually a type of graduate degree. A master's provides advanced study after the bachelor's that is focused on a specialty or major, such as English literature. The other type of graduate degree is a doctorate, which takes more time to complete than the master's and is the most advanced college degree.

Master's Degree Programs

  • You can earn a master's degree immediately following the bachelor's degree. Full-time master's programs typically take two years, but some programs are designed for completion in only one year. Examples of master's degrees are a Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Fine Arts and Master of Business Administration. A typical master's program includes 30 or more semester units of work, and some programs require preparation of a thesis.

Doctoral Degrees

  • A doctorate is the highest college degree and usually takes four years or more after the bachelor's. Depending on the university and major, you can enter a doctoral program after the master's degree or directly after the bachelor's. Professional doctoral degrees are those that prepare you for specific jobs. Some examples include the Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Law. The Doctor of Philosophy, or Ph.D., is an academic degree that emphasizes original research and requires the preparation of a thesis.


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