Introduction to master’s degrees
A master’s degree is an academic qualification that is awarded at the postgraduate level to students who have completed their studies and experts in the field of their choosing. Students who obtain a master’s degree generally possess advanced knowledge, skills and expertise in their field of specialisation. The duration of a master’s degree is either one year or two years and it varies from one programme to another. Three years master’s programmes also exist, however these are part-time in nature. Master’s degrees can be characterised by the following: Offers greater flexibility with regards to modules and study method; Focuses on a specific area of a broader subject, thus providing students with more specialist knowledge. Fast-paced and advanced compared to bachelor degrees.

Reasons to study master’s programmes Abroad

  • Universities abroad are renowned for providing a hands-on teaching experience to students. Master’s 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.

  • Studying a master’s degree abroad makes you a member of an exclusive global network. Studying abroad will provide 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.

  • 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.

  • Studying a master’s 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. 

Types of master’s degrees

  • MBA: The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a globally recognised degree that equips students with the knowledge and the skill set required to excel in their business and management careers. Earning an MBA degree helps students learn how to effectively manage, organise, lead and improvise in a host of business environments.  It is important to keep in mind that the value of an MBA degree is not just restricted to the business world and it can be used to pursue careers in the government and the public sectors.

  • MA: 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. MA programmes usually consist of essay writing, research, discussions and practical exercises as the study methods.

  • M.Sc.: The Master of Science degree is awarded to students in the domain of natural and social sciences like engineering, physics, chemistry, economics and statistics. The teaching method in M.Sc. programmes generally consist of reading, research and theory. Usually, M.Sc. degrees provide students with a broad overview of their chosen specialisation as compared to an in-depth perspective of a particular topic in the chosen domain.

  • MRes: The Master of Research degree is commonly referred to as a research-based postgraduate degree that gives greater importance to independent study over taught instruction. An MRes gives more emphasis to research expertise as compared to expertise in subject knowledge. MRes is usually meant for those people who want to be professional researchers or want to earn their PhD. MRes programmes do have study modules such as Methodological Principles and Research Techniques.

  • LLM: The Master of Law is a full-time one year course that offers law students a chance to specialise in domains like human rights law, intellectual property, taxation and environmental law. Usually, LLM is open to those students who have earned their bachelors in law.

Eligibility criteria for studying master’s abroad

  • Undergraduate academic qualifications: 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.

  • Work experience: 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.

  • English language requirements: 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.

  • Standardised test scores: Standardised test scores are usually required for MBA or M.Sc. programmes. Universities abroad usually require students to take the GMAT and GRE to see if they will be a good fit in the school. In addition, these universities have a cut-off score that students have to achieve in order to be eligible for admission. 

Funding for Master’s programmes abroad

  • Scholarships from universities: Universities worldwide offer master’s degree 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);

  • Sponsored by organisations: At times, organisations in India provide opportunities to their top performers to an MBA or M.Sc. abroad. In these case, employees have to sign a bond of a predetermined duration with the company, who will then sponsor the master’s programme for the employee.

Career benefits of studying a master’s degree abroad

  • Communication skills: Studying abroad provides you with the ability to communicate across several language barriers. During your master’s abroad, you will get opportunities to interact and become friends with people from different parts of the world, who speak different languages. This would provide you with an opportunity to communicate in a variety of scenarios and overcome any language barriers. Being able to communicate properly is an attractive skill for any employer and is one of the most important skills that students can develop after studying abroad.

  • Problem-solving skills: While staying alone abroad, you will be faced with multiple issues — whether it is overcoming the language barrier, taking care of yourself when sick or cooking food using unfamiliar ingredients. Facing these issues will force you to take an initiative and eventually solve them. Thus, boosting your problem-solving skills that will be of great help to you in your future professional career.

  • Boost in confidence: Studying abroad helps in boosting your confidence as you will face multiple challenges, leading to an increase in your maturity level, resilience and self-reliance. 

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