Written By - Derick de Souza

Reviewed By OMC Staff

The primary distinction between a master’s degree and an executive master’s degree is the target audience, program format, and level of professional experience expected of participants, explained in the following table:

What is the difference between masters and executive masters?
Master’s DegreeExecutive Master’s Degree
Target AudienceTraditional master’s degree programs are typically designed for people who have recently completed their undergraduate studies and are looking to further their knowledge in a specific field.Executive master’s programs are designed for mid-career professionals with significant work experience who want to improve their leadership and management abilities.
Program StructureTraditional master’s programs are typically full-time or part-time, with a mix of coursework, exams, and a thesis or capstone project.Executive master’s programs are frequently designed for working professionals with a more flexible schedule. Some programs are delivered in a part-time, evening, weekend, or modular format to accommodate participants’ work schedules.
Program FocusTraditional master’s programs are designed to provide a thorough understanding of a particular academic discipline or field of study.Leadership, management, and strategic decision-making skills are frequently emphasized in executive master’s programs. Courses in organizational behavior, executive leadership, and business strategy may be included.
Work ExperienceTraditional master’s programs frequently accept students with little to no work experience. These programs are designed to provide a strong academic foundation in a specific discipline.Executive master’s programs typically require participants to have several years of relevant work experience. Real-world case studies and discussions that draw on participants’ professional experiences are frequently included in the curriculum.
Networking OpportunitiesTraditional master’s programs offer networking opportunities with peers and faculty, but the emphasis may be on academic research and learning.Executive master’s programs frequently use participants’ professional backgrounds to foster networking opportunities. Individuals from various industries and sectors may be included in the cohort of program participants.

It is important to note that terminology and program specifics can differ between institutions. When considering a master’s or executive master’s degree, it is important to carefully review the program details, admission requirements, and curriculum to ensure that the program aligns with your professional goals and experience level.

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Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

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