Graduate Fields of Study

  • Financing Graduate Education

    Graduate Fields of Study

    For the purposes of this guide, graduate fields of study are grouped under 52 broad categories. Listed below are descriptions for each graduate major with information on the coursework associated with the programs and related career opportunities with median salaries.


    Students who have an interest in the study, design and manu­facturing of aircraft can pursue a graduate degree in the aeronautics field. Programs vary by school, but areas of focus can include aerospace atmospheric science, aircraft engi­neering, as well as aviation science and admin­istration.
    These interdisciplinary tracks re­quire students to combine know­ledge of mathe­matical and scientific principles with tech­nical knowledge of air and spacecraft, as well as the business as­pects of the aviation industry. A grad­uate degree in Aero­nautics may allow air traffic control personnel, flight ope­r­ations special­ists and other aviation pro­fessionals to advance their careers.
    Some aerospace engineers work on projects that are related to national defense and thus require security clearances.
    Median Annual Salaries:

    Aerospace Engineers: $121,110

    Air Traffic Controllers: $127,440

    Airline and Copilots and Flight Engineers: $186,870


    Individuals who wish to advance their agriculture-related careers in the business, government and education sectors can enroll in graduate degree programs in the fields of agriculture, natural re­sources and animal sciences. Pro­grams at the master’s and doctorate levels can focus on topics such as agricultural leadership, technology and research. Students may take courses such as plant and soil science, animal husbandry and breeding, as well as management and public policy.
    Those who complete a doctorate de­gree can assume roles as agri­culture professors or agri-business leaders. Pro­fes­sionals can also use the knowledge they gain to work on international initiatives.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Conservation Scientists: $69,020
    Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists: $70,510


    Professionals in the field of archeology will face better career prospects after completing an education at the master’s and doctorate levels. Students who have an interest in this subject will gain an understanding of past civili­zations by studying the materials they left behind.
    Many programs allow students to focus on a specific area of expertise on their path to becoming an archaeologist or professor. In a master’s track, students take courses that cover subjects such as archaeological laws, theory and methods of investigation. These individuals also gain hands-on experience through fieldwork.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Archeologists and Anthropologists: $69,960
    Search for Archaeology Graduate Programs

    Architecture and Related Programs

    A Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree program provides students with an oppor­tunity to expand on the architectural know­ledge that they acquired at the under­grad­uate level. Graduate programs in this sub­ject tend to be interdisciplinary and focus on the theories and methods that are used to design, create and alter internal and external spaces.
    The Architectural Registration Exam is required for licensure. Students who complete either an undergraduate degree in archi­tecture or a M.Arch are qualified to take this exam. The M.Arch degree typically takes between one and three and a half years to complete and can lead to a career as a professional architect or a teacher at the post­secondary level.
    Median Annual Salaries:

    Art: Fine and Applied

    Creative students who wish to enhance their chances of pro­fessionally suc­ceeding in the artistic field of their choosing can enroll in a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree program. Schools provide a wide variety of MFA pro­grams including: creative writing, photography, illustration, interior, industrial design, and graphic design.
    To gain entry into these graduate pro­grams, applicants typically have to provide a portfolio of their work and talents. Career opportunities following the completion of these tracks depend on a graduate’s par­ticular focus area. For example, graduates with an MFA in Theater can go on to work as an actor, director or educator.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Art Directors: $114,490
    Commercial and Industrial Designers: $76,290
    Fashion Designers: $87,210
    Graphic Designers: $58,370
    Interior Designers: $61,400
    Special Effects Artists & Animators: $88,080

    Biological/Life Sciences

    A Master’s Degree in Biology program is a research-intensive course of study that requires students to engage in both labor­atory and field work. At the grad­uate level, curricula tend to focus on biochemistry, cell biology, ecology and other related subjects. Students may be able to customize their course of study depending on the school.
    A variety of specializations are avail­able, including zoology, marine biology and botany. Master’s Degrees in Biology typically take two years to com­plete and are a requirement for many doctoral programs in the subject.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Biochemists and Biophysicists: $104,810
    Chemists: $86,410
    Materials Scientists: $104,450
    Microbiologists: $91,840

    Business and Commerce

    A Master of Business Admin­istration, or MBA, provides a broad business edu­cation covering many areas, including man­agement, ac­counting, finance, economics and entrepreneurship. Earning an MBA can lead to oppor­tunities for career advance­ment, as graduates of this program gain lead­ership and managerial skills.
    Depending on a school’s aca­demic programs, stu­dents can choose either a general MBA or a specialized degree, which focuses on a specific area of study. Some business schools may require stu­dents to have several years of work experience for entry into a full-time MBA program, which typically take two years to complete.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Accountants and Auditors: $81,660
    Advertising and Promotions Managers: $147,560
    Budget Analysts: $82,690
    Financial Investment Analysts: $96,630
    Industrial Production Managers: $118,190
    Insurance Underwriters: $80,390
    Loan Officers: $76,930
    Management Analysts: $97,580
    Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists: $73,970
    Personal Finance Advisors: $122,490
    Property Appraisers and Assessors: $65,630
    Public Relations and Fundraising Managers: $135,580
    Sales Managers: $147,580
    Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents: $96,540


    Individuals who wish to practice as chiropractors can gain the know­ledge they require by enrolling in a Doctor of Chiropractic program. Students who pursue this pro­fessional degree will further their understanding of this form of alternative medicine, which employs the manipulation and adjustment of body structures to provide patients with relief from pain and physical discomfort.
    Chiropractic theory, as well as var­ious science and medical topics, are addressed in the program’s courses. Students are re­quir­ed to participate in extensive clinical ex­per­i­ence. Following the com­pletion of their studies, graduates are eligible to seek licensure.
    Median Annual Salaries:


    A Master of Arts in Com­muni­cations is designed to analyze the ways in which people create, use and interpret the different forms of media. As com­munication is vital to most industries, this knowledge can be applied to a variety of careers. Graduates of com­mun­i­ca­tions pro­grams can go on to assume positions at media outlets, such as news­papers, tele­vision or radio stations, or the Web-based com­ponents of these mediums, as well as in the ad­vertising, pub­lic relations and tele­com­muni­cations fields.
    Depending on the school, stu­dents can pursue a Master’s degree in Com­muni­cations with a special­ization in advertising, journ­alism, public relations, film and television, in addition to several other media-related options.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Editors: $73,910
    Marketing Managers: $154,470
    Public Relations and Fundraising Managers: $135,580
    Media and Communications Workers: $55,540

    Computer Science/ Information Systems

    Master’s degrees in the field of computer science and information systems involve the study of the theoretical foundations of infor­mation and computation. Students who pursue a degree in this field learn to design, develop and operate hardware and software systems, in addition to finding ways of ap­plying these principles to different industries.
    Depending on the school, a Master of Science in Computer Science and Infor­mation Systems degree program may allow students to specialize in such areas as artificial intelligence, software engineering and computer theory. Graduates of programs in this field can work as software engineers and developers.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Computer and Information Systems Managers: $161,730
    Computer Programmers: $95,640
    Database Administrators: $101,090
    Information Security Analysts: $107,580
    Computer Systems Analysts: $99,020
    Software Developers, Applications: $114,270

    Criminal Justice and Criminology

    Individuals who wish to expand their knowledge in the areas of criminal justice and criminology can pursue a graduate degree in either subject. Upon completion of criminal justice and criminology programs, students will be equipped with the skills necessary to work in areas such as law enforcement, the legal system, the federal government and academia.
    Depending on the school, students may be able to pursue specialized degree programs. Courses cover a wide range of topics, including the justice system, cor­rectional systems, crime analysis, homeland security, safety administration as well as forensic science and psychology.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Forensic Science Technicians: $64,890
    Detective and Criminal Investigators: $89,300


    Before individuals can become dentists, they must complete a professional degree, such as the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Over the course of these programs, students acquire knowledge of the essential skills required as professional dentists, including diagnostic methods and surgical techniques.
    These tracks combine time spent in a classroom setting with experience in school dental clinics where students gain hands-on experience under the supervision of a licensed professional. Following the completion of their chosen program, graduates must receive licensure in order to practice in the dentistry field.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Dental Hygienists: $78,050
    Dentists: $180,830
    Orthodontists: $237,990


    A Master of Science in Economics can prepare students for careers in the business sector, including positions as financial analysts, budget analysts and policy consultants, as well as roles in higher edu­cation. Admission to a graduate Eco­nomics program generally requires students to hold a bachelor’s degree in addition to com­pleting the Graduate Record Examination.
    Courses cover a range of topics that are related to the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services, including macroeconomics, microeco­nomics, economic regulation, qualitative analytical systems as well as money and banking systems.
    Median Annual Salaries:


    Education graduate programs are de­signed for instructors who wish to broaden their teaching knowledge and gain skills that can help them advance their careers. Most education graduate programs prepare students for positions as elementary, middle and high school teachers, as well as roles instructing the physically, mentally or emotionally disabled.
    This area of study also provides preparation for leadership positions such as supervisors and administrators. Though it depends on the degree, Master’s of Education programs typically take between two and five years to complete. Earning this degree can also prepare individuals to pursue their Doctor of Education which can lead to the position of Superintendent of a School District.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Education Administrators, Kindergarten through Secondary School: $103,010
    Education Administrators, Postsecondary: $115,200
    Elementary School Teachers except Special Education: $65,420
    Postsecondary Teachers: $86,430
    Special Education Teachers: $66,490

    Engineering and Technology

    Students who enroll in a Master of Engi­neering degree program draw on their knowledge in areas of study such as science and mathematics to advance in their careers as engineers. The degree program exposes students to the different aspects of engi­neering, including design, systems anal­­ysis, manufacturing, research and development.
    Depending on the school, students may have the opportunity to focus their studies in one specific field, such as aerospace, architectural, chemical, electrical, environ­mental, mining or nuclear engineering. A Master of Engineering is considered to be a terminal degree in this field and typically takes two years to complete.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Architectural and Engineering Managers: $158,100
    Biomedical Engineers: $98,340
    Civil Engineers: $95,440
    Environmental Engineers: $96,890
    Industrial Engineers: $93,610
    Mechanical Engineers: $95,560
    Petroleum Engineers: $154,330

    English and Literature

    Individuals who wish to expand their know­­ledge in the areas of writing and the literary arts can enroll in graduate degree programs in English & Literature. Students who focus on writing may take courses in technical writing, creative writing, and nonfiction.
    Those who study literature or poetry will be exposed to works from different cultures and periods in history. Earning a Master’s degree in English can prepare individuals for careers as professional writers or editors within various industries, including publishing, business and technology. In addition, graduates can go on to assume positions in the education sector.
    Median Annual Salaries:

    Environmental Sciences

    Students who enroll in a Master of Science in Environmental Science degree program are equipped with the skills and knowledge required to study and protect the environ­ment. These programs typically take two years to complete and can focus on conservation, as well as environmental biology, policy, education, and resource management. Students are typically re­quired to complete environmental research and experiments, in addition to attending classes.
    Depending on the pro­gram, courses may cover pollution control, sustainability, and forest conservation. Grad­uates of these tracks can go on to work as environmental or climate control scientists, in addition to geoscientists and physicists.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Conservation Scientists: $69,020
    Environmental Scientists and Specialists: $80,090


    Students who have a passion for film or television broadcasting have multiple academic options at the graduate level, depending on their specific area of interest. Those interested in the history and theory of filmmaking can enroll in a Master of Arts in Film Studies degree program.
    Those interested in Broadcasting can pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Producing for Cinema-Television. In a track of this nature, courses will cover the pre- and post-production aspects of this field, such as video making, cinematography, production, screenwriting, directing, editing and sound.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    News Analysts, Reporters and Journalists: $66,000
    Film and Video Editors: $83,880
    Producers and Directors: $96,690


    Individuals can earn both a Master’s degree and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Geography. These programs allow students to study the physical world and the humans who inhabit and transform it. Students can narrow their focus to align with their professional goals.
    At the graduate level, courses cover topics such as demography, global posi­tioning, topography, natural resources, cartographic methods, and remote sensing, as well as population distribution and studies. Individuals with graduate credentials will have the skills necessary to assume roles such as research scientist, or in academia, as a geography professor.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Cartographers and Photogrammetrists: $72,420
    Geographers: $85,620


    The field of gerontology is the study of the various aspects of aging. Those who wish to assume leadership roles in this field can earn a Master’s of Science in Gerontology. Courses may focus on the psychological and sociological aspects of aging, as well as topics such as public policy and nutrition. After completion of a program in gerontology, graduates can create, implement and deliver initiatives and services to older populations or assume research roles.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists: $101,800
    Search for Gerontology Graduate Programs

    Government/Public Administration

    Individuals who wish to assume leadership roles within the government at the local, state and national levels can enhance their career opportunities through a Master of Public Admin­istration degree program. Through this advanced track, which typically takes two years to complete, students acquire and hone the skills that they will need to assume positions within the government and their communities.
    These graduate programs can focus on human services, public affairs and homeland security, as well as teach decision-making, organizational and communications skills. Depending on the school, individuals may be able to focus their studies on health care, urban planning and other fields within the public sector.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Emergency Management Directors: $84,310
    Political Scientists: $124,100
    Chief Executives: $197,840

    Health Professions & Medical Science

    Health Professions & Medical Science is a broad major that encompasses several different health delivery fields, including acupuncture, community health, genetic counseling, exercise and sport science as well as various therapies including art, music, occupational and physical therapy.
    A wide variety of graduate programs are available in this field. For instance, the Master of Arts in Art Therapy provides students with the skills they need to utilize creativity and psychoanalysis to rehabilitate patients. Students who pursue this degree option may also focus on research in the biomedical sciences, health services research and clinical laboratory sciences. A Master of Medical Science typically takes one to two years to complete.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Audiologists: $89,230
    Genetic Counselors: $89,710
    Medical and Health Services Managers: $118,800
    Occupational Therapists: $87,480
    Orthotists and Prosthetists: $74,120
    Physician Assistants: $116,080
    Physical Therapists: $91,680


    Individuals who have an interest in pursuing a career as a historian or archivist can enhance their career prospects by enrolling in a Master of Arts in History degree program. Students may be able to focus their studies on a specific geographic area, population or time period.
    Programs include the study of world history, American history, European history, the history of Puerto Rico, as well as the history of the military and the history of medicine. Following the completion of a master’s program, individuals can work towards a Doctor of Philosophy in History which will allow them to pursue professorships at the college level.
    Median Annual Salaries:

    Humanities/Liberal Studies

    Students who have an interest in academic subjects such as history, literature, philosophy and the arts may want to pursue a graduate degree in humanities. Students at the master’s or doctoral levels can prepare for careers in various fields, including teaching and publishing.
    At the master’s level, students can typically focus their studies on subjects such as creative writing, music or religion. These courses can help enhance students’ analytical thinking abilities, as well as their research and critical writing skills. At the doctoral level, programs typically prepare students to teach in higher education settings.
    Search for Humanities Graduate Programs

    Industrial/Labor Relations

    A Master of Industrial and Labor Relations (MILR) is ideal for students who wish to assume leadership roles in human resources and workforce management and development. To prepare students for professions such as labor relations managers and mediators, coursework typically covers topics like employee compensation and benefits, occupational health and safety, labor relations law and collective bargaining.
    Furthermore, those who have an interest in pursuing careers in research and education can continue their studies at the doctoral level.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Labor Relations Specialists: $74,870
    Search for Industrial/Labor Relations Graduate Programs


    Interdisciplinary studies at the master’s and doctoral levels is the combining of two or more disciplines to create an area of study for which there is no self-contained major. In some schools, the major is interdisciplinary, such as Chicano Studies or Women’s Studies. In other graduate degree programs, Inter­disciplinary Studies involves the student creating a unique program of study for personal or professional fulfillment.
    Those who choose this option typically work with an advisor to select courses that align with their professional aspirations. Using the advanced knowledge and skills they gain across multiple academic disciplines, graduates of degree programs of this nature often go on to work in fields such as business, politics and higher education.
    Search for Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs

    International Affairs

    Those who wish to play a role in shaping global policies or resolving foreign disputes may have an interest in pursuing a graduate degree in international affairs. Courses will cover topics such as diplomacy, foreign policy, global finance, foreign languages and international law. With this knowledge, graduates of master’s degree programs can go on to pursue careers as diplomats, consultants and policymakers, or continue their studies at the doctoral level to assume roles as professors or international relations researchers.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators: $76,440
    Search for International Affairs Graduate Programs


    Individuals who have a knack for languages may want to pursue a career as a foreign language teacher, translator, or find employment in global business or homeland security. They can begin their path towards these professions by earning a graduate degree in a language.
    While degree offerings vary depending on the school, students can often major in Spanish, French, Russian, Japanese and Arabic. Some programs also focus on the study of Latin, romance and Biblical languages. In addition to enhancing their grammar and speaking skills, graduate students may focus on the history of a language, as well as the countries where it is spoken.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Interpreters and Translators: $58,140
    Search for Languages Graduate Programs


    Individuals who are interested in careers in the legal field can enroll in a Juris Doctor (JD) degree program. This program exposes students to the applications of civil and criminal law, in addition to focusing on other areas, such as legal writing, tort, patent law and ethics.
    After completing a Juris Doctor program, which typically takes three years to complete, and passing the bar examination, graduates can go on to practice law in the private sector or at the municipal, state or federal level. Those holding a Juris Doctor, as well as other qualified individuals, may choose to pursue a Master of Laws (LLM) degree.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators and Hearing Officers: $102,050
    Lawyers: $148,910

    Library & Information Science

    In order to work in most public and academic libraries, individuals must earn a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). Students who enroll in this program acquire the skills they will need to assume roles as librarians. Courses teach aspiring librarians how to organize information, use technology and offer educational and other library services.
    Programs also allow students to specialize in specific areas, including archives management and preservation. Graduates of the master’s program can continue their studies at the doctoral level, where they learn about the types of advanced research methods that will help them become library science professors or researchers.
    Median Annual Salaries:


    Individuals who wish to advance their mathematical knowledge beyond a bachelor’s degree can pursue graduate degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels. These programs provide students with an opportunity to obtain specialized knowledge in various mathematical areas, including algebra, calculus, geometry, logic and number theory.
    Many employers prefer that individuals hold a graduate degree in mathematics for positions in fields such as biostatistics and financial mathematics. A Master’s degree in Mathematics typically takes two years to complete, while a PhD can take four. Earning both degrees can also prepare individuals for teaching careers in higher education.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Actuaries: $123,180
    Mathematicians: $112,530
    Operations Research Analysts: $92,280
    Statisticians: $97,170


    Medical schools offer students a chance to earn their Doctor of Medicine, leading to practice as medical doctors in the roles of general practitioners or specialists. These programs typically take four years to complete and are followed by a clinical internship and residency that can last between three and eight years.
    Although program curricula differ, students typically spend their first two years focusing on topics such as biological sciences, psychology, pharmacology and medical ethics. In the final two years of the program, students acquire hands-on training in hospitals and clinics under the supervision of experienced physicians.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Anesthesiologists: $271,440
    Epidemiologists: $83,620
    Medical Scientists: $101,800
    Surgeons: $251,650

    Music & Music Performance

    Students who have a passion for music can pursue a wide variety of graduate degrees focused on the different aspects of this discipline. Schools that offer a Master of Arts in Music, or a Master of Music Education (MMEd) provide courses for students who are interested in the study of this discipline and are interested in teaching music.
    Master of Music programs are broader in nature and allow students to focus their studies on a genre of music, such as jazz, instruments including the piano and guitar, musical performance, or musical techniques, like conducting. Graduates of these programs can go on to become professionals musicians, performers and composers.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Music Directors and Composers: $65,720
    Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary: $84,780


    A master’s degree in nursing, or MSN, provides the instruction necessary to assume advanced roles in the health care industry, including those of nurse practitioners, certified clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse anesthetists, clinical research administrators and nurse educators.
    Graduates of nursing programs work in settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, clinics, schools and patients’ homes. Advanced nursing positions, such as those of educators, researchers, and administrators, require a doctoral degree, either a PhD, or a DNP. Students who pursue this degree are typically required to complete both classroom and clinical work. Full-time programs consist of 18 to 24 months of study.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Nurse Anesthetists: $189,190
    Nurse Midwives: $115,540
    Nurse Practitioners: $114,510
    Registered Nurses: $80,010

    Nutrition / Family & Human Ecology

    If students want to help others improve their quality of life, they can pursue graduate degrees in nutrition or family & human ecology. When students enroll in these programs at either the master’s or doctoral levels, they typically specialize in subjects such as family studies, textiles and apparel design or nutrition. Students who wish to become nutritionists or dietitians can further their understanding of the science between one’s diet and disease.
    Graduates of these programs can go on to assume roles in various industries, including business, human services and education.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Dietitians and Nutritionists: $64,150
    Search for Nutrition Graduate Programs


    Prospective marine biologists, physicists and ocean engineers are typically required to hold degrees at the graduate level. Students who enroll in a Master of Science in Oceanography program learn about the science behind the ocean and marine environments, including their biological, chemical and geological elements.
    Courses may focus on topics such as ocean wave theories. Graduates of the master’s program who wish to continue their education at the doctoral level and pursue careers in research or education can typically customize their curriculum with approval from their school’s department.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Atmospheric and Space Scientists: $100,550
    Geoscientists: $112,110
    Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists: $70,510


    In order for students to become optometrists, they must earn a Doctor of Optometry from an accredited school of optometry. Over the course of this four-year program, students spend time in both classroom and clinical settings as they acquire the skills they will need to provide professional vision care to patients.
    During programs of this nature, students receive training in such areas as ocular disease, geriatrics, binocular vision, movement and vision perception. Those who wish to assume roles as educators can pursue a Master of Science in Vision Science or a Doctor of Philosophy in the same subject.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Optometrists: $125,440 Ophthalmologists: $218,850
    Search for Optometry Graduate Programs

    Osteopathic Medicine

    Osteopathic medicine is a branch of the medical profession that provides a patient-centered and holistic approach to the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illnesses. These professionals focus primarily on preventative medicine and the body’s musculoskeletal system. In order to practice as physicians in this field, professionals must hold a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Over the course of this four-year program, students acquire the skills and knowledge required to practice medicine and surgery in the U.S. through a curriculum that focuses on scientific principles, laboratory exercises and clinical training at hospitals and other medical settings.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Physicians and Surgeons: $208,000 Medical Scientists: $101,800
    Search for Osteopathic Medicine Graduate Programs

    Pharmacy & Pharmacology

    In order for individuals to work as pharmacists, they must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy from a college or school of pharmacy. Programs of this nature typically take four years to complete and prepare students for the series of examinations that are necessary to receive a license to practice pharmacy.
    This credential also allows these graduates to dispense prescription medicines, as well as manage and maintain pharmacies. Over the course of their studies, prospective pharmacists study medical chemistry, drug behavior, drug metabolism and drug therapy. In addition, they acquire the skills they will need when communicating with patients and health care providers.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Pharmacists: $125,460


    Students who have an interest in aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, logic or metaphysics can pursue a graduate degree in philosophy. Using the knowledge they acquire in programs of this nature, students learn how to address fundamental problems that relate to truth, matter and existence.
    Those who enroll in master’s degree programs in this subject can focus their studies on a specific area of this discipline, such as logic or ethics. Their courses, in topics like Greek philosophy, can prepare them for Doctor of Philosophy programs, or careers in the fields of law, education, public administration, medicine or science.
    Search for Philosophy Graduate Programs

    Physical Sciences

    If individuals have a greater interest in the science of non-living systems, they may want to continue their physical science studies at the graduate level. Subjects in this area include, but are not limited to, astronomy, atmospheric science and meteorology, chemistry, earth science, geochemistry, geology, metallurgy, nuclear science and physics.
    While each discipline has its own unique courses, students who pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics may focus on topics such as applied physics and kinetics and go on to work as an astrophysicist or professor. Those who choose to study chemistry at the doctoral level learn about quantum mechanics and physical biochemistry and may work as general or forensic chemists.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Astronomers: $126,250
    Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers: $112,110
    Hydrologists: $90,150
    Physical Scientist: $110,100


    Earning a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine allows graduates to diagnose and treat patients who have problems associated with the lower leg, ankle or foot. Before they can practice, students must complete this advanced credential, which typically takes four years to complete at a school of podiatric medicine.
    Students may take courses focused on scientific subjects, such as biology and chemistry, as well as topics like anatomy and pharmacology. By the end of their studies, graduates have an understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and malformations of the feet. In addition to classroom instruction, they are also required to complete clinical internships and residencies.
    Median Annual Salaries:

    Psychology & Behavioral Sciences

    A degree in psychology & behavioral sciences at the graduate level explores the social, emotional and cognitive aspects of human behavior. Master’s degrees within this major include, but are not limited to, psycholinguistics, counseling, and clinical, cognitive, developmental, child and experimental psychology.
    Depending on the degree, individuals in these programs may work in laboratory or research settings. Individuals holding a graduate degree in psychology can go on to assume careers as psychologists, counselors or educators with additional specializations. These programs typically take between one and three years to complete, though it depends on the nature of the degree.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists: $89,290
    Marriage and Family Therapists: $56,890
    Psychiatrist: $217,100
    Psychologists, All Other: $100,130

    Recreation/Leisure Studies

    The field of recreation and leisure studies covers a broad range of career options. Students who earn a master’s degree in recreation studies can go on to run recreational settings or work as a recreational therapist. Other focus areas include exercise science, physical education and coaching, management of parks and leisure facilities, as well as tourism and travel management.
    As students complete courses in topics such as community development and the business aspects of managing recreational settings, they will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to work in park services, tourism, event planning or the health care industry.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Lodging Managers: $65,270
    Recreational Therapists: $51,260

    Social Sciences

    Individuals who have an interest in human society can pursue an education in the social sciences at the graduate level. Students who enroll in a social sciences degree program learn about society and its systems, institutions and behaviors. This field includes a wide variety of literature and culture courses including ancient Western and Asian classics, and the study of various modern Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cultures. This multidisciplinary area of scientific study can serve as a valuable supplement to work in other departments and fields including anthropology, art, communication studies, economics, history, human geography, linguistics, political science, psychology, sociology, urban studies, and women’s studies.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Political Scientists: $124,100
    Social Scientist and Related Workers, All Other: $91,280

    Social Work

    Earning a Master of Science in Social Work (MSW) can provide individuals with the knowledge that is required to make positive changes in other people’s lives. Programs of this nature provide students with an understanding of the various factors that contribute to social dysfunction. In addition, they acquire the knowledge of the developmental and life skills that their future clients can use to better their lives.
    MSW degree holders assist people who struggle with poverty, homelessness, substance abuse and mental health problems. Graduates of this degree program can go on to assume roles as social workers, directors of nonprofit organizations and other professions related to helping people from vulnerable populations.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Child, Family, and School Social Workers: $52,370
    Healthcare Social Workers: $60,470
    Social and Community Service Managers: $75,140

    Sociology & Anthropology

    Students who have an interest in the study of social relations, social interaction, social stratification, culture and deviance may gravitate towards a Master of Arts in Sociology. Those who enroll in this graduate program will focus on topics such as statistics, theory and research as they relate to society.
    With this degree, graduates may be equipped to work in fields such as human resources, law enforcement or academia. Pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology will include a focus on human beings, their races, physical characteristics and other aspects of their history and culture. At the doctoral level, a degree in anthropology can prepare these students for careers as professors and museum curators.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Anthropologist and Archeologists: $69,960
    Sociologists: $93,420

    Speech/Speech Therapy

    People who have a desire to help others with their speaking or language disorder can enroll in graduate programs in speech-language pathology. Students who are pursuing a master’s degree in this subject will learn about various topics, including the theory and physiology of speech and the identification, assessment and treatment of speech, language and hearing disorders.
    Upon completion of this program, graduates can go on to work as speech therapists or continue their studies at the doctoral level. With a Doctor of Philosophy in Speech Pathology, graduates can work as college professors or speech therapy researchers.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Speech-Language Pathologists: $83,240
    Search for Speech Therapy Graduate Programs


    Whether students have an interest in the performance aspects of theatre or just the study of this art form, they have educational options at the graduate level. Students can hone their talents and enhance their knowledge of their craft through master’s programs in acting, directing, playwriting, scoring, production and musical theatre.
    If students are more interested in the history, literature and criticism of the dramatic arts, they can enroll in programs that focus on theatre and drama studies. At the doctoral level, the study of theatrical literature can lead to careers as professors, researchers or writers.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Producers and Directors: $96,690
    Search for Theatre/Drama Graduate Programs


    Students who have a fascination with the study of God and religious faith, practice and experience may want to pursue a graduate degree in theology. At the master’s level, students who earn this credential may be able to advance their role in academic settings, as well as in churches and ministries. Programs that focus on Christianity can feature courses on the New and Old Testament and the history of the religion.
    Other courses may focus on different faiths, such as Judaism and Islam. Graduates who continue their studies at the doctoral level will be equipped to assume advanced teaching positions or work as researchers.
    Median Annual Salaries:

    Urban/Regional Planning

    Individuals who wish to assume roles as city planners or work in similar professions can acquire the knowledge they need in an urban planning program at the master’s level. With the skills students gain in graduate school, they are equipped to meet the developmental needs of urban and rural communities.
    Master’s courses may focus on, but are not limited to, urban sociology, economics, finance, management, physical design and environmental studies. Regional planning programs go beyond urban areas and focus on larger environments at a less detailed level. Graduates of doctoral programs in this area can go on to work in research, education and policy development.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Urban and Regional Planners: $79,410
    Search for Urban/Regional Planning Graduate Programs


    Earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) prepares individuals for careers providing medical care to animals as veterinarians. Graduates of these programs will work in veterinary clinics and rehabilitation facilities for pets, as well as farm and zoo animals.
    Through courses focused on topics such as pharmacology, gross anatomy and animal behavior, as well as clinical internships, students learn how to observe, diagnose and treat animals. These programs typically take four years to complete, with the final year dedicated to clinical rotations. In addition to treating animals, graduates can go on to assume careers in research or education.
    Median Annual Salaries:
    Veterinarians: $108,350
    Search for Veterinary Graduate Programs

    Salary data compiled from,
    Occu­pational Employment and Wages, May 2020.
    Occupational Employment Statistics – Mean Wage Estimates

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