Master of Science Degrees

Higher education can pay off. In particular, graduate degrees such as a master’s or Ph.D. can provide a route to a challenging and fulfilling career, whether in academia, research, or another field.

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Master of Science degrees, abbreviated as M.S., MS, MSc, or M.Sc., are among some of the most practical graduate degrees. Graduate degrees in fields such as science, computer science, and mathematics tend to be highly ranked when it comes to their usefulness in preparing students for a well-paid and challenging career in the field. The following Master of Science degrees are some of the most popular in the United States.

Master of Science in Data Science

A Master of Science degree in Data Science gives students both the technical know-how and the practical skills to analyze big data in business, science, and digital media settings. Data is being produced at a rapidly accelerating rate. Organizations and businesses now rely on data more than ever to make operations, marketing, sales, finance, and human resources decisions. In numerous other fields, such as science, healthcare, technology, climate change, and transportation, data analysis is behind significant advances.

A Master of Science in Data Science prepares the student with a foundation in mathematics, statistics, machine learning, and data mining. This knowledge is combined with practical skills, such as computational techniques used to analyze large sets of data. During the program, students should practice applying their knowledge and skills to data from real-life settings with the guidance of their professors. This program takes one to two years to complete and is offered at universities around the world.  

After graduation, students looking to begin a career in Data Science will enter a rapidly growing field. They may choose to work in fields such as social sciences, marketing, finance, business, retail, medicine, science, and government. Armed with practical skills, knowledge, and experience, graduates should not have difficulties finding fulfilling work.  

Master of Science in Business Analytics

A Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) offers students the skills they need for a career in a data-rich business setting. This usually includes challenging, hands-on training to prepare students to use data and analytic techniques and apply them to business questions, situations, and opportunities. This includes using predictive analytics and optimization software to drive decision-making in fields such as finance, management, operations, marketing, and sales. MSBA students gain skills that allow them to collect, clean and analyze data, as well as visualize potential outcomes based on data. This may involve using programs such as R, Radiant, or Shiny to run statistical and optimization analyses. In an MSBA program, students will also work on developing the leadership skills required to manage a team of employees, as well as effective communication skills to be used transferring information to stakeholders throughout every stage of a business project. This program takes one to two years to complete. This program is offered at over one hundred universities across the United States, including Iowa State University, Bellevue University, Fordham University, the Rady School of Management, American Sentinel University, Arizona State University, and others.

Graduates of MSBA programs will enter a competitive and growing field. Businesses need professionals capable of using data on operations, suppliers, transactions, and customers to help them make the best possible decisions and ultimately gain advantages over their competitors.

Master of Science in Business Accounting

An MSc in Business Accounting or Accounting will thoroughly prepare the student for a career in a business environment, offering a comprehensive background in accounting, economics, statistics, and finances. Coursework includes strategic cost analysis, business strategy, tax strategy, financial statement analysis, advanced audition, and other relevant topics. Master of science programs cover both the technical and the practical aspects of accounting—training which can benefit individuals who already have experience in the field. The program can take one to two years to complete, depending on the university. Cost varies.  

Graduates may move on to work as consultants, managers, entrepreneurs, chartered accountants, business strategists, auditors, financial officers, investigative accountants, personal financial planners, controllers, and financial analysts, among other professions. They may work for large corporations, law enforcement agencies, or other government-run organizations. Accountants with a master’s degree are more likely to work in higher-level positions and have higher salaries than those who have only completed a bachelor’s degree. In addition, an MSc prepares students to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, as well as other examinations and evaluations that may be required by future employers. The management and business operations training offered throughout the program prepares students to work in high-level positions or even run their own business.

Master of Science in Computer Science

An MSc in Computer Science provides in-depth training, knowledge, understanding, and skills pertaining to computers and related systems. The goal of an MSc in Computer Science is to prepare students for an advanced career in a related field. Programs may include various modules and/or coursework, and further specializations are available. Common subjects include system development, mathematical foundations, software engineering, natural computation, and artificial intelligence. Students are required to undergo extensive training using a variety of pedagogical tools and methods, including lectures, group work, peer-based training, and research under the supervision of a faculty member. For these programs, a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science is a common prerequisite. Students may take up to three years to complete an MSc in Computer Science, depending on whether they wish to study full- or part-time. The cost varies according to the institution, its location, and accessibility.

Opportunities in the field of computer science and information technology are wide-ranging. Students who complete the program are qualified for sought-after jobs, and should have advanced problem solving, software development, and critical thinking skills. There is a high demand for professionals with graduate degrees in the field. Graduates may end up working for software development and IT companies, governments, and business settings. Other students may wish to start their own technology business, or opt for further education. 

Master of Science in Finance

An MSc in Finance is an advanced degree offered by educational institutions around the world. Students who opt for this course of study gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of finance, economics, and accounting. They may also study mathematics, operations research, engineering, computer studies, statistics, business, financial philosophy and ethics, firm valuation, statement analysis, and portfolio management, among others. This one- to two-year commitment offers graduates who wish to work in the financial industry several significant advantages, including advanced knowledge and technical skills. Students may complete an internship with a national or international corporation, which can lead to useful contacts and/or a potential job following graduation. Graduates generally earn more than those with an undergraduate degree in the field. The cost of the program varies from institution to institution.

An MSc in Finance offers numerous potential career routes and significant opportunities for career growth. Graduates may work in business or banking settings as financial analysts, financial controllers, finance department managers, chief financial officers, investment bankers, and real estate managers, among other job titles. The field is highly competitive and highly lucrative, and having a graduate degree is one way to stand apart from the crowd.

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