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The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

Guide to a Master of Science - what you need to know

We tell you everything you need to know about a Master of Science


A master of science (MSc) is an academic postgraduate degree awarded by a university. This degree is normally awarded for studies focusing on scientific and mathematical subjects.   Though it depends on the course, a master of science will typically require a thesis. Graduates who have earned a Master of Science degree tend to go on to pursue a doctoral degree after completion of their study, while some choose to start on their career.


What can I study?


This degree is typically focused on science and technology-related subjects, such as economics, medicine, IT, finance, management, physics, business, mathematics, engineering, aviation, accounting and health sciences. There is a wide-range of subjects within this field, and as you go deeper into the different subjects you can specialise in almost anything. Finding the perfect master's programme for you can be a time-consuming task, but you should view it as an investment in your future. The most popular countries for studying MSc are the UK, the USA, the Netherlands, Sweden and other European countries.


Who can study a master of science?


You would normally need to have a Bachelor of Science (BSc) before you can embark on a Mater's of Science (MSc) programme. Sometimes you will also be required to have specific majors, for instance a major in mathematics, business or physics. It all depends on what Master's program you choose and what their requirements are. You do not have to have overly similar bachelor programmes and master programmes, and many uses their master to specialise in a certain field. Master's lessons often enhance the teachings of undergraduate programs.


How is it taught?


As with most Master's programmes, students are expected to do a lot of self-studying and research. A big project, sometime preferred to as a thesis will take up a lot of time in the programme and may last for a few months to a year. In some countries a master is finished in a year, and in some countries it will take you two years (read article on master's degrees). After training in the relevant research methodology, the student will start collecting their own data. Once the data is assembled, students will be analyse their findings and present them in a written thesis (dissertation). MSc students might also be expected to present their findings in a presentation to professors and/or their peer group. The thesis project is often seen as one of the most valuable experiences in an MSc program, and if the findings are noteworthy enough it might get published. Not bad!


What happens next?


An MSc degree can allow students to advance in a career of their choice, making them more equipped for specialist tasks. A Master of Science degree provides a scientific, technical or professional entry level competence, and usually a higher salary than a plain bachelor's degree. Many also see their master's degree as a passage way to their PhD programme. It is also quite normal to do both -  spend a few years working and then go on to do a PhD.


If you think an MSc might be for you, find out more about what courses are available.

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