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4 Comments Already

Emily Said,
December 1st, 2010 @2:29 pm  

You can earn a masters in a different concentration than your bachelors.

Lili Said,
December 1st, 2010 @2:48 pm  

Social Work is one of several fields that does not require that you majored in it as an undergraduate in order to earn a master’s.

It is a misconception that you can earn a master’s only in a field in which you earned a bachelor’s. This is simply not true.

Miss T Said,
December 1st, 2010 @3:02 pm  

Yes you can. I majored in communications for undergrad and now I’m working on my masters in Higher Ed.

It’s always helpful if you have some experience in the area, but not required. They just want to see that you have a strong interest in it. Some programs may have you take intro level courses just so you have a foundation before you start the program, but only some programs require this. And it’s normally only a couple of classes.

CoachT Said,
December 1st, 2010 @3:39 pm  

This question is asked here so often that one has to wonder if colleges and universities are doing a very good job informing their undergrads of future options.

Simple answer: both of your choices generally admit students with an undergrad in any major as long as you have or take some prerequisite coursework.

Long Answer:
There are some generally accepted rules to follow here:

1) if your undergrad GPA and exam (GRE, GMAT, MAT) scores are high enough (top 2% in the world), you can study anything you’d like in grad school just about anywhere you want to. Most will even pay your way in return for some teaching or research.

2) as long as your GPA is over 3.0 and you do decently well on the exams then you’ll find a grad school that will have you in your major. The higher your GPA and exams the more likely you’ll get someone to pay your way. If your GPA is between 2.5 and 3.0 then you’ll have a hard time getting into a grad program and it won’t be a top school. It can be done though.

3) most grad school programs have specific requirements for entry that offers an exception to having an undergrad major in the subject. Sometimes this means as many courses as a major would have had (such as is the case in the sciences) and sometimes it’s as simple as a few leveling courses (such as with the MBA). [also see #1]

4) some grad programs are intended for people from any undergrad major. Both of your choices fall in that group (though school counseling often requires a teaching certificate first) as do public administration (MPA), business administration (MBA), Health Administration (MHA), Public Health (MPH), Human Resources, Teaching (MAT, not MEd), Information Technology, Library Science, … — you just may need to have some prerequisite basic work to be at level.

5) some are based entirely on your artistic ability and they could care less what your bachelor’s is in. The MFA (studio art, creative writing, theater) and MMus(performance) are examples – if you can prove appropriate ability then you’re in. Even if you have a top-school BFA, if you can’t prove ability then you’re not in. The reason is that this isn’t where you learn the art, it’s where you perfect it to a high level.

6) some are not receptive to people from outside their world at all. To make the transition you need something really compelling to force the decision. Not too many English grads are going to make it into an MS in Physics for example. Engineering tends this way too – you’re just not getting there easily with a BA in History.

7) the more the program is “Interdisciplinary XYZ Studies” the more likely they will take the widest range of undergrad majors. Also, the less likely the degree will lead to increased earnings.

8) the more math (quantitative methods) the master’s requires – the more the grads will tend to get paid. Degrees that required absolutely no math and analysis skill whatsoever result in jobs that don’t pay much better than a bachelor’s degree – and sometimes less.

9) the longer the degree (60+ hours) the more likely they won’t care what your undergrad is in. 30 hour MA’s in English tend to not have a lot of time to teach literary criticism in catch-up mode. A 60 hour MSW has plenty of time to teach social work.

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