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July 26, 2011 Is the Master’s the New Bachelor’s?

Nov 1st, 2013 | Changes, Grad School, GRE, Money, New York Times

Yes, according to The New York Times. The master’s is currently the fastest-growing degree, and is on its way to becoming the entry degree to a wide variety of professions, especially now that degrees are specific and utilitarian (think supply chain management) and often with internships built in.

So why the trend? Some blame the devaluing of the college degree. As colleges turn out more grads than the market can hire, a master’s becomes almost essential if you don’t have a Bachelor’s from a highly elite undergrad institution.

It’s not exactly bad news for the universities, for whom master’s programs tend to be unfunded (unlike the PhD track) and therefore cash cows. For students, some of the programs provide direct access to potential employers, who draw from the programs they know to provide effective job training.

Some worry that the trend signals a shift in graduate work from an intellectual pursuit to job training. But in an age when grad-school-as-intellectual-pursuit is landing students hardly any jobs, this shift seems practical. In fact, it seems to yours truly that the only graduate degree worth pursuing at this point is one that has a reasonable chance of helping students obtain a job that will allow them to pay off the debt accrued in grad school.