What Does MS After Your Name Mean?

Students throwing caps at graduation
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MS stands for Master of Science.  As you might expect, this degree involves study in some sort of area related to the sciences, such as chemistry, biology or engineering.  Another type of master's degree is a Master of Arts, or MA, which involves study in topics such as English, the fine arts, or history. 

In order to get a master's degree, a person has to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and skill within his or her chosen field.

  Those who obtain a master's degree in one of the sciences will generally first hold a bachelor's degree before being accepted into a master's program.  In addition, some programs allow students to complete a joint bachelor's and master's degree.  And, after completing a master's degree, some will proceed on to a doctoral program.

Why Do People Complete a Master's?

People choose to complete a master's degree for many reasons, including:

  • A passion for that field of study
  • Career advancement
  • A desire to participate in research
  • A desire to change to a different field of study
  • Networking opportunities
  • A desire for a greater challenge
  • Job requirements
  • A desire to teach at the college level

Work towards a master's degree may involve only coursework, only research or a combination of the two.  Often, it involves writing and defending a thesis or doing some sort of research project which represents the summation of a person's learning in the program.

Generally, it takes about two years to complete a master's degree if one attends classes on a full-time basis.  However, because most students are a bit older than their undergraduate counterparts and may already be in the workforce, master's programs tend to be quite flexible, offering online and part-time courses as well as evening and weekend classes.

For further information about mental health degrees and licenses, you can read Psychotherapy 101.


"Master of Science Designation:  What Does IT Mean?"  Study.com.  Study.com.  

Haidar, Hasna.  "What Is a Master's Degree?"   TOPUNIVERSITIES.  QS.  Published:  January 14, 2014.  

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