Can you get a masters in something different than your bachelors?
Right now, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to take a master’s degree in a subject different to your undergraduate bachelor’s degree. It’s in fact very possible. In simpler terms, your bachelor’s degree doesn’t need to be in a field related to what you want to study when you enroll in a graduate school. You see, it’s fine if your career and academic interests and goals change over time.
And then cases of career switch have been rampant in the recent past, yeah? Well, that’s why colleges are trying to come up with ways to make such crucial transitions feasible.
Can You Get a Masters in Something Different Than Your Bachelors?
Your main concern would be, now that “Can you get a masters in something different than your bachelors?’’ has a YES for an answer, isn’t a non-philosophy student extremely behind those with an undergrad degree in Philosophy? Typically, such a student is a bit behind, but not as much as you’ll realize. It’s in fact very easy.
Now, there are many graduate courses out there that don’t require related bachelor degree. They include: Master of Arts in Humanities, Master of Arts in English, Education, Master of Arts in Interior Design, Master of Science in Cybersecurity, Master of Science in Legal Psychology, Master of Science in IT, MBA, among others.
So, do you want to shift gears in your academic ladder? Wait, before that, and before starting to do your homework, you may want to know a few things that may come in handy when you finally decide to pursue a master’s that’s unrelated to your first degree experience. Keep reading.
Embrace a Change of Mind
The key to a longer and a fulfilling career is to first of all embrace your change of heart and mind. You know, many high school leavers are always struggling to find their ideal career choice when they sign up for college. Subsequently, they settle on a major, but they mature in their goals later on. It’s therefore not uncommon to find that what was once right for a person is no longer ideal for them in the following college years.
This is fine in life, but you shouldn’t feel chained to a ‘’wrong’’ career forever. Yes, it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Nearly all grad schools accept students with undergraduate degrees from totally different fields. But this is possible only if the degree major was offered by an accredited institution. It also boils down to the grad school’s admission policies. Do you get the idea?
Check the Admission Requirements
As we’ve said a few seconds ago, enrolling in a grad school for a master’s in a field different from your bachelor’s is indeed easy, but it all depends on a school’s admission requirements. What this means is that your very first step should be checking admission requirements and policies with the academic registrar’s office of the grad school you want to join.
You actually don’t have to place a lot of effort here, as many college websites contain this crucial information in a format that’s easy to understand. If, however, you can’t find this information online, you may want to personally talk to the relevant officers at the school. Also, there are many career experts and admissions counsellors who can advise you accordingly on the best career paths.
Do You Meet the Minimum Requirements for a Master’s?
This may come as a surprise to you and many other prospective master’s students, but truth be told, most grad schools are mostly not concerned with your undergraduate degree. What is more important, bearing in mind that prerequisites and priorities differ depending on the school, is to prove that you actually obtained a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, you’ve relevant years of experience, and a test score. Though a school may prefer candidates with a proven interest in a certain field, that’s not always the case.
GRE and Other Standard Tests
If the grad college you’re considering to join requires standard tests before admission, the most common acceptable test is the Graduate Record Examination, or what is popularly known as the GRE. It is a general standardized test that helps admissions officers to determine whether or not you’re prepared to undertake your post-graduate studies.
Some institutions offer a more specialized test especially if your master’s is in a specific field. For example, a master’s in medicine may require a Medical College Admission Test, a law school may ask students to submit their Law School Admission Test, and MBA programs and business grad schools may require a Graduate Management Admission Test.
This is, however, not to mean that the grad school you’re considering must require a standardized test before admission. Most are the colleges that require only a few years of proven work experience. Additionally, and as we said earlier on, schools are finding ways to make admission easy for students irrespective of their undergraduate experience.
In addition to the requirements above, some schools require that an applicant should have a minimum professional experience (usually counted in years), especially if your bachelor’s degree is closely related to the master’s field you’re considering. Typically, professional experience must be related to the undergraduate degree, so a master’s degree in Law would likely be pegged to a bachelor’s degree in Law or a few years of proven practice of law. Some schools may even require both. Again, check for this prerequisite with the school you intend to join.
If You’re an International Student…
As a rule, students from areas of the world for which English, French, Chinese, Germany, or any other international language of instruction is not their native language will have to pass fluency tests before admission. These tests can be administered with the standardize tests we talked about above. For instance, fluency in English can be tested using the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System IELTS, for which most grad schools require a minimum score before admission.
The accepted standard tests and minimum scores differ depending on the school, but the language fluency tests are not likely to be excluded from the admission prerequisites. In real terms, such schools as the GISMA Germany requires neither the GMAT or GRE nor experience, but it does require a set score from IELTS, TOEFL, and other English fluency tests.
While it’s not an admission requirement, it’s important to sharpen some of the skills that your peers already learnt as part of their bachelor’s major. Practice with a few GRE tests, at least to help you determine whether your score can beat the minimum acceptable score that most grad schools require before enrolling students. It will also reveal to you the areas that you need to brush up on.
You see, if you pass such tests, you may not need additional preparatory tests or classes to help you align your skills with those of your peers. Ultimately, you’re the one to judge whether or not you’re adequately equipped to kick off your studies. Just make sure that you don’t fall behind in a professional program of your choice, as this would make it difficult for you to catch up.
Fortunately, and in some cases, you can cash in on the help of your school to transition smoothly to a master’s degree in a field different from your undergraduate degree.
Enhance Your Application
There’s no better way to boost your odds than to enhance your application. That’s in case you are worried about not getting admitted into a grad school you want because your preferred master’s degree is unrelated to your bachelor’s degree. In this case, go the extra mile and put some effort into enhancing your admissions packet.
Most graduate colleges want to see some recommendation letters, declaration of personal interest and such documentation, in addition to proving that you actually obtained a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Make those documents to appear their best, and that’s how to improve your odds of getting accepted.
Now, Make the Move
Having answered the question, ‘’Can you get a masters in something different than your bachelor?’’ you’re now in the know about what you should expect. After making your case to your preferred school, you’re now ripe to take a new direction with your post-graduate work. Before that, you need to grow a commitment and interest in the field you intend to pursue a master’s degree in.
Secondly, it’s worthwhile noting that there’s no one-size-fits-all here. Everyone’s case is different. You may have changed your mind after obtaining your bachelor’s degree, or maybe you may be battling a burnout and you want to switch careers.
No matter the situation you’re in right now, you can always talk to career and guidance experts who will answer your questions and advice you properly. Who knows? You might be surprised to learn that your worries can easily be fixed. Also, make sure to network with peers who share the same experience as you.