The reasons or objectives for seeking a master's degree can be very practical. People pursue master's degrees for a variety of different objectives. A master's degree means different things in different fields of study. In some fields of study, it can be the highest degree you need, while in others it may only be a stepping stone to another degree.
One objective for pursuing a master's degree is to expand your knowledge in your current field of work. In some cases master's degree students pursue degrees in areas of study different from their bachelor's degree studies. Whichever the case may be, a master's degree can expand your knowledge in a particular field and give you a greater level of expertise and aptitude. In some fields such as business where the master's has become a standard degree for upper-level management, the master's degree shows that you have the knowledge necessary to perform your job correctly.
Another objective for seeking a master's degree is to prepare for doctoral level studies. Most master's degree programs introduce you to advanced studies in your field of intended expertise. In preparation for doctoral studies, most master's degree programs cover a wide range of theory, introducing you to what the major experts in the field have contributed to the discipline. This is important preparation for many doctorate degrees because many doctoral qualifying exams will test you on your knowledge of the entire field of study. Also, because master's degree programs usually require a thesis, this can provide the perfect preparation for the doctoral dissertation.
A third reason for pursuing a master's degree is to make more money. More knowledge and greater expertise in the area in which you work or plan to work can qualify you to make more money. Salary.com notes that the median annual salary for those holding a master's degree is about $10,000 more per year than for someone holding a bachelor's degree. Over the course of your entire lifetime, that additional $10,000 can add up to an additional $200,000 over 20 years of work. This difference in pay is most readily apparent in certain vocational fields such as business or if you work for the government where higher degrees can allow you to reap financial benefits.
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