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Guest Mary S

Structure : Duration

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Guest Mary S

There is a range of pathways to the degree with entry based on evidence of a capacity to undertake higher level studies in a proposed field. A dissertation may or may not be required depending on the program. In general, structure and duration of a program of study leading to a master's degree will differ by country and university.

Duration
Master's programs in the US and Canada are normally two years in length. In some fields/programs, work on a doctorate begins immediately after the bachelor's degree, but a master's may be granted along the way as an intermediate qualification if the student petitions for it. Some universities offer evening options so that students can work during the day and earn a master's degree in the evenings.

In the UK, postgraduate master's degrees typically take one to two years full time or two to four years part time. Master's degrees may classified as either "research" or "taught", with taught degrees (those where research makes up less than half of the volume of work) being further subdivided into "specialist or advanced study" or "professional or practice". Taught degrees (of both forms) typically take a full calendar year (180 UK credits, compared to 120 for an academic year), while research degrees are not typically credit rated but may take up to two years to complete. An MPhil normally takes two calendar years (360 credits). An integrated master's degree (which is always a taught degree) combines a bachelor's degree course with an additional year of study (120 credits) at master's level for a four (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or five (Scotland) academic year total period.

In Australia, master's degrees vary from one year for a "research" or "coursework" master's following on from an Australian honours degree in a related field, with an extra six months if following on straight from an ordinary bachelor's degree and another extra six months if following on from a degree in a different field, to four years for an "extended" master's degree. At some Australian universities, the master's degree may take up to two years.

In the Overarching Framework of Qualifications for the European Higher Education Area defined as part of the Bologna process, a "second cycle" (i.e. master's degree) programme is typically 90–120 ECTS credits, with a minimum requirement of at least 60 ECTS credits at second-cycle level. The definition of ECTS credits is that "60 ECTS credits are allocated to the learning outcomes and associated workload of a full-time academic year or its equivalent", thus European master's degrees should last for between one calendar year and two academic years, with at least one academic year of study at master's level. The Framework for Higher Education Qualification (FHEQ) in England Wales and Northern Ireland level 7 qualifications and the Framework for Qualification of Higher Education Institutes in Scotland (FQHEIS) level 11 qualifications (postgraduate and integrated master's degrees, with the exception of MAs from the ancient universities of Scotland and Oxbridge MAs) have been certified as meeting this requirement.

Irish master's degrees are 1 – 2 years (60 - 120 ECTS credits) for taught degrees and 2 years (not credit rated) for taught and research degrees. These have also been certified as compatible with the FQ-EHEA.

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