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How Do Master's and Doctoral Programs Differ?

Whether you will apply for a master's or a doctoral program depends upon the career path that you want and what you hope to do with the degree.

Joan Isaac MohrJoan Isaac Mohr
Vice President and Dean of Admissions

Quinnipiac University
Whether you will apply for a master’s or a doctoral program depends upon the career path that you want and what you hope to do with the degree. In some fields, the doctorate is the ultimate degree; in others, it may be the master’s. Most doctoral programs are several years (three or four) of full-time coursework. Most master's degrees can be accomplished in a year of full-time study or two years of part-time study, which you can accomplish along with working. More and more programs are available online each year from reputable institutions. Paying for graduate degrees can be quite challenging, so you’ll need to check to see if your employer would pay (e.g., tuition reimbursement for a B or higher grade in each course) or if the college or university offers stipends or graduate assistantships that cover tuition or pay you for hours worked on campus or for teaching assignments. Lastly, students can take out loans to cover tuition and living expenses. So plan as to what your options (and salary!) might be for the field you’re planning to study!

Start exploring amazing graduate programs that align with your goals using our featured grad schools lists!

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