A Master of Arts (MA) degree pertains to any of the several postgraduate liberal arts degrees including political science, English, economics, and other social sciences. A person planning to take a postgraduate degree is required to have completed a bachelor’s degree in the same discipline as that of the chosen MA. Usually, a master’s degree requires a thesis (a detailed piece of academic writing), although there are instances where a thesis is not required.
Types of Master of Arts Degrees
1. Master of Arts in History
A Master of Arts degree in history involves one year of traditional study and another year of pure research and writing a thesis, much like literary criticism studies. The study can be specifically focused on archive management or public history.
Graduates with this degree usually work in archives, museums, historical document preservation, and other fields where the management and maintenance of such require the expertise of people with a higher degree of understanding in history. A graduate may also become a professor aimed at teaching higher level education to undergraduate and graduate students.
2. Master of Arts in English
A master’s degree in English usually focuses on either literary criticism or writing. Writing programs expose students to writing and studying literary arts as well as criticism. However, literary criticism programs usually provide a more traditional approach through discussion groups and lectures. Those who take writing as their main focus are required to write creative literature. On the other hand, students who focus on literary criticism are required to study written works of literature and write argumentative papers about them. Graduates of this field can choose a career in writing, literary criticism, or teaching.
3. Master of Arts in Political Science
An MA in Political Science often requires a year of seminars and another year of thesis work. Since students in this particular field of study are expected to work in politics, schools usually provide opportunities for students to take internships abroad. As long as you choose your school wisely, you can land a job easily after graduation due to excellent experience and exposure in the chosen field.
4. Master of Arts in Economics
Not all Master of Arts degrees in economics require thesis work. In fact, you can choose to have a thesis program or a non-thesis program. In a non-thesis program, the coursework is focused on providing education in high-level techniques involved in the research and analysis of economic data. Classes, discussions and assignments are provided to hone your analytic skills in economics. These activities are done through both solo and group work. Graduates of this program can step into a promising career path as an economist or economic analyst, teach economics to college students, or pursue a PhD.
Master of Arts degree programs usually require a minimum of two years. These programs also provide a stepping stone towards getting a PhD, which is a much higher educational degree. Getting a master’s degree paves the way towards obtaining high paying jobs.