What is an MA degree?
The Master of Arts degree is a postgraduate qualification that students can take up after completing their undergraduate degree. This degree is generally offered in the fields of humanities, arts and social sciences. The MA qualification is known to be one of the oldest professional qualifications and interestingly it actually originated as a teaching qualification. As the name suggests, obtaining an MA degree would actually make you a ‘master’ in your chosen field. MA programmes usually consist of essay writing, research, discussions and practical exercises as the study methods. Master’s degree abroad are generally for one or two years, and this duration varies from one university to another. Take a look at some of the MA course categories that were popular in 2018: Political Science; Design; Mass Communication; Fashion; Business; Social Sciences; Leisure and Hospitality; Art. An MA degree is usually considered to be a stepping stone to teaching. People who are interested in teaching will usually earn an MA degree and follow that up with a PhD in the same field.

Eligibility criteria for studying MA abroad

  • Universities abroad generally demand a strong undergraduate academic performance from applicants as it is used as an indicator of their future performance. Students having high scores in their undergraduate programme are usually shortlisted without looking at any further criteria.

  • If you do not possess a strong undergraduate academic score, universities would then look at your work experience to determine if you would be a good fit for them. In such cases, applicants should possess at least 2 – 3 years of relevant work experience.

  • This is applicable for those people who are native English speakers or have completed their education in English in an English speaking country. Those students who have to prove their English language proficiency are advised to take the IELTS or the TOEFL.

MA Programmes vs. M.Sc. Programmes

  • Teaching methods: The first thing that pops in the minds of people when thinking about the variances between MA and M.Sc. is that an MA deals with humanities and arts, while M.Sc. comprises proper science. This is partly true, but in today’s time, a variety of programmes are offered in both MA and M.Sc. An MA programme combines dedicated research with essay writing, discussions and practical exercises. On the other hand, an M.Sc. programme emphasises on theory, reading and research.

  • Course overview: Generally, an M.Sc. degree provides students with a broad understanding of a particular domain, while an MA degree provides students with an in-depth perspective about a specific topic in a particular domain.

  • Disciplines: Master of Arts subjects usually include human resources, sociology, architecture, music, tourism and administration. Conversely, M.Sc. programmes offer specialisations in sciences like engineering, mathematics, information security and information technology. However, there are some specialisations that are common to both programmes and differences between them is the course structure, teaching style and the expected outcome. Some of these specialisations are economics, political science, marketing and finance. 

 Benefits of studying an MA degree abroad

  • Hands-on teaching approach: Universities abroad are renowned for providing a hands-on teaching experience to students. MA programmes abroad combine knowledge with practice while teaching students. This method of teaching helps students in learning better and provides them with a practical learning approach that will help them in their future careers.

  • Member of an exclusive international network: Studying an MA degree abroad makes you a member of an exclusive global network. Studying abroad provides you with opportunities to share experiences, ideas and knowledge with peers from across the world. You may also meet like-minded individuals that might lead to business partnerships in the future.

  • Global employment prospects: Universities abroad usually have placement partnerships with a number of top organisations. Hence, studying at these universities can help you obtain a job in any of these organisations, thus kick-starting your international career and making you a part of the global workforce.

  • International exposure: Studying an MA degree abroad helps in boosting your overall resume and profile. Even if you return to your home country, your profile would be in demand since organisations are always looking to hire students who have international exposure and an international perspective. 

Funding for MA degrees abroad

  • Scholarships from universities: Universities worldwide offer scholarships to deserving candidates. There are several types of categories of scholarships like academic merit, work experience, nationality-specific, gender-specific and more. The scholarships offered to students can be partial or full in nature, and this depends on one university to another.

  • Education loans from banks: Obtaining an education loan is one of the most common methods for funding your master’s studies abroad. In order to obtain an education loan from a nationalised or private bank, you have to provide the bank with the admission letter, which is followed by the discussion with the bank manager. Once the bank manager approves the loan, you are required to provide some sort of collateral against it. One drawback of education loans are the comparatively high-interest rates.

  • Education loans from non-banking institutes: Individuals can also obtain educational loans from non-banking institutions, on the condition of providing collateral. Some options for obtaining education loans from non-banking institutes include:

    • Credila;

    • Avanse Financial Services;

    • Global Student Loan Corporation (GSLC);

    • International Student Loan Program (ISLP);

Career opportunities after an MA abroad

Your career opportunities after completing a master’s degree abroad will depend upon your field and chosen specialisation. Some Master of Arts job opportunities may include:

  • Business Analyst;

  • Chemical Engineer;

  • Data Scientist;

  • Film Director;

  • Financial Risk Analyst;

  • International Marketing Manager;

  • Photographer;

  • Research Scientist.

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