MA vs. MS
When pursuing higher education, graduate school students are often faced with the dilemma of choosing between two widely popular online degree programs – the Master of Arts degree and the Master of Science degree. Understanding each of these master’s degrees is essential to make the right decision that will lead to rewarding careers. Both graduate programs prepare students for various roles, with the MA program usually preferred by those who wish to pursue doctoral degrees and the Master of Science preferred for a career path that demands strong logical and technical skills.
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What is MA?
So, what is MA? Put plainly, the MA or Master of Arts degree is a graduate degree that focuses predominantly on disciplines such as the humanities and liberal arts. Communications, English, Teaching, Literature, Linguistics, Art, and Languages are among the subjects where most Master of Arts degrees are available. Seminars, which are firmly based debates about the topic matter, are the primary learning mode for Master of Arts degrees, along with research and discussion.
The Master of Arts master’s degree program usually requires about two years to complete and sometimes requires a thesis to be submitted towards the end of the program.
What is an MS?
Moving on to the next question of what is an MS? The MS degree, meaning Master of Science degree, is typically reserved for more scientific or mathematical programs. Computer Science, Biochemistry, Engineering, Economics, Mathematics, and Public Health are examples of these types of studies. Students who pursue a master’s degree in science should expect to spend much time with lab work, doing scientific research, analyzing data, and evaluating it.
Unlike the MA degree type, where a thesis may not always be required to be submitted, it is pretty standard for the MS degree to insist on one, depending on the program. The thesis can last anywhere from six to nine units and will need a substantial study on the chosen topic and the use of various research methods. Students must defend their thesis by synthesizing what they have learned in class, along with other data obtained from their own lab work.
The Master of Science usually requires about two years to complete but may sometimes take longer under certain circumstances and typically requires a thesis to be submitted towards the end of the program.
Master of Arts vs. Master of Science
The main difference between a Master of Arts vs. Master of Science lies in instructional methods. While the MA is more discussion, debate, and seminar-oriented, the MS relies heavily on research, analysis, and evaluation. Another critical difference between MA and MS is that the MA is more theoretical in its approach, with its roots in humanities, while the MS is more scientific in its approach, with its roots in sciences.
Fortunately, employers generally do not differentiate between the two fields of study and regard them equally. While choosing a degree type, it is essential for the student to know his/her personal objectives and professional and career goals. For those who prefer taking up subjects in humanities, the Master of Arts is the ideal option. On the other hand, for those with good logical and mathematical skills and a keen interest in sciences, the Master of Science is more apt – an example being a counseling degree.
Overall, however, the distinction between both a Master of Arts and Master of Science degree programs is minor and insignificant. In the end, obtaining either master’s degree that leads to a rich and rewarding career is the accurate measure of accomplishment.
FAQs about MA vs. MS
|Q: Do companies care if it is a MA or a MA?|
|A: In most cases, employers do not care much for the type of degree the jobseeker holds; the two programs are equally recognized. However, there might be certain niche areas in which some careers will require a MA or MS. It is always best to do some self-research and determine if either/both degree types are suited for one’s career goals.|
|Q: Why do an MA?|
|A: Master of Arts programs are best suited for students who have a leaning towards subjects in humanities, such as Communications, English, Teaching, Literature, Linguistics, Art, and Languages, and who enjoy discussions, debates, and exchange of views. This degree may also interest those who prefer not to submit a thesis, as most MA programs do not require one. Finally, careers related to humanities benefit from a Master of Arts degree program.|
|Q: Why do an MS?|
|A: For students who are interested in the sciences that, for example, include Computer Science, Biochemistry, Engineering, Economics, Mathematics, and Public Health, and who exhibit a flair for logical and mathematical skills, along with conducting research and analyzing data, the MS degree is an ideal choice. Like MA degrees, MS degrees are also suitable for students who wish to pursue doctoral programs.|