Many working professionals consider going back to college to earn a master's in a different field than their bachelor's degree. Get expert advice on how to earn an unrelated master's degree and explore popular industries and salary potential.
Choosing a college major is always a bit of a gamble. For some of us, our initial choice turns out to be the wrong one. A 2017 report from the National Center for Education Statistics suggests that nearly 30% of all undergraduates change their major at least once. Many others, however, see their initial choice through to graduation, only to discover their true career interests lie elsewhere. Suddenly, a graduate degree seems harder to obtain.
Sound like you? You're not alone. Keep reading to discover key considerations and expert tips on how to get a master's degree in a field that differs from your bachelor's.
Often, pursuing a master's in a different field than a bachelor's takes a great deal of commitment and effort, but it can be done. First, you should expect to spend more time preparing for the admissions process than other prospective students. Keep the following considerations in mind before applying, during admissions, and after acceptance.
While unrelated master's degrees can be obtained, the process is much easier for applicants with some relevant crossover from their undergraduate program (i.e., switching from one science discipline to a different science discipline).
Not all master's programs require standardized test scores for admission. If pursuing an unrelated discipline, consider taking a relevant test and providing scores anyway to show your initiative and current knowledge/skill level.
The graduate admissions statement is your opportunity to make a convincing argument for your acceptance. Sell your interest in the new discipline, and discuss any work you've done to help bridge the academic gap.
Undergraduate prerequisites are an inescapable part of most master's degrees. Fortunately, some colleges offer prerequisite tracks specially designed for new students who need to "beef up" their transcript before starting core courses.
Consider earning a non-degree certificate to boost your fundamental knowledge of the new subject. Online colleges and massive online open courses (MOOCs) offer certificates in countless specializations.
Proven experience often carries the most weight in a master's program application. Whether job shadowing, interning, or pursuing entry-level work, try to gain as much relevant, real-world experience in your desired subject as you can.
Once enrolled, focus your attention on successfully completing the learning outcomes of your master's program. Although gaining additional experience in your new field is important, staying focused on your education is key.
Remember, college advisors are there to help you. Don't be afraid to reach out with questions. Advisors can provide invaluable insight to help you navigate prerequisites, admission, and degree completion.
Is an unrelated master's degree right for you? Deciding whether and when to pursue advanced education is a highly personal decision often impacted by a number of factors, including budget, career goals, and local employment trends. To help assess your desired pursuit of an unrelated master's degree, consider the questions below.
Let's put aside research and self-evaluation for a moment to hear from the experts. Read on to gain valuable tips and actionable advice to prepare you for the pursuit of an unrelated master's degree.
Still unsure about earning a master's degree in a different field than your bachelor's? Check out the links below. Resources include grad school application tips, scholarship information, and networking sites.