A master’s degree is a graduate degree earned after completion of an undergraduate degree such as Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Typically the master’s degree requires 30 credits of coursework and takes 2 years of full-time study beyond the bachelor’s degree to obtain.

The master’s degree involves completing comprehensive exams and a thesis in addition to the course work. Master’s degrees are commonly Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS), although some fields have discipline-specific degrees such as social work (Master of Social Work) and art (Master of Fine Arts).

Unlike the undergraduate programs, master’s programs often allow students to focus in on their field of study. There is no need to take general core curriculum courses like mathematics, science, and literature.

Another difference between master’s and bachelor’s degrees is that the amount of classes offered is different between the undergraduate and graduate programs. Whereas undergraduate schools offer most general interest classes like English and Physics, masters schools only offer courses focused to the degree itself.