In recent years, master’s degrees have grown rapidly and now account for a third of all post-graduate studies. The growth of these degree programs has been fueled by the acceptance of master’s degrees in professional fields such as business, education, and engineering and the rise of non-traditional disciplines for graduate study such as the arts and humanities.
As the market for graduate degree programs find out more continues to change, many institutions are responding by designing new and innovative master’s programs that aim to address key gaps in higher education. These new programs are designed to be more accessible and relevant for current working professionals, who want a degree that will allow them to make the transition from academic knowledge to applied knowledge in their field. In addition, these new master’s programs are being designed to help bridge the gap between theory and practice by focusing on applied research with direct benefits for society and industry.
But while these trends are exciting, it is also important to remember that the average master’s student will be several years into their career when they begin their graduate program. These students will have significant responsibilities at work and in their home life and will have to balance these demands with the rigors of a graduate degree. Hence, the design of a successful professional master’s degree must be grounded in meeting the needs of these students and allowing them to complete their degree with minimal disruptions to their work or family life.
In order to accomplish this, we must collectively-administrators, legislators, business leaders, donors and educators-invest in addressing the structural issues that have made graduate degree programs less accessible for working professionals while highlighting those programs that are doing well. We must support these programs and encourage them to expand and grow.
To better understand the characteristics of a Professional master we must look at the definition of the term, as defined by the National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation: “The professional graduation in Nursing focuses on the research and development of studies that allow to transform the nursing practice into a science of service”.
The Professional master is characterized by its multidisciplinary nature, it brings together notions from different areas with the aim of responding to new professional figures. It also enables the development of skills and competencies in specific vocational areas by combining them with the theoretical frameworks used for the research activities. The program can be thesis or non-thesis and can include a practicum, a capstone project or a combination of these components. The program is also a good option for graduates who wish to continue their studies after their graduation, either in order to achieve a PhD or in order to acquire advanced knowledge in other areas related to their profession.