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How to Choose a Masters Program

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This article is sponsored by Les Roches International School of Hotel Management.

Making the decision to study for a master’s qualification – an MBA, MSc or MA – can be a challenging task.  Questions that you often go through include:

  • Which school or university is the best?
  • Which specialization suits my needs?
  • What is the duration of the program?
  • How will the master’s qualification improve my career?

If you’re starting out on the journey towards finding the right master’s program, here are some stages to follow:

1. Choose a university Choosing a university

Choosing the right school or university for study is absolutely crucial. The reputation of the establishment, its links to the industry, its ranking and its overall standing, are some of the factors that you will need to consider.  Every school will offer the best they have to attract and enrol students. What is crucial from a student perspective is to see the reputation of such establishments both in terms of the academic sector, and the industry you want to work in.  Try to find a school that the industry recognises as a place that maintains both quality and consistency of academic provision.

2. Decide on a specialization

As well as considering the school as a whole, you also need to choose a specialization for your master’s program. If you want to study a master’s in management, for example, which part of management are you really interested in? Is it finance? Marketing?  Leadership? Entrepreneurship? Your choice of specialization should be based on the interest you have in a field of study. Having a passion for a subject will help you study it better, manage time pressures during the period of the course, and help you succeed in that area.

Another element to consider is whether the curriculum has an international or global edge. For example, in the Les Roches MBA program we have introduced a two-week study trip to Chicago as a way to enhance the international skills of our students. During the trip students will visit different organizations, spending time with their management team, and then return to the classroom to reflect on how practice fits theory and vice versa. In last trip in July 2015, we visited 14 different organizations and discussed strategies with their executive teams. 

3. Consider the length of the program Length of course

Another important factor is the duration of the master’s program.  There are programs that can run for six months or a year, 15 months or even a two-year period. The duration very much depends on the school’s accreditation. On average, for different master’s programs the minimum time is around a year or 14 months if they have a dissertation component. Choosing a master’s program under a year in length runs the risk that it will not be recognized or respected.

4. Investigate the curriculum

Once you have made a decision about the program you want to study, get in touch with the school and speak to the course manager of the program.  Take the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the subjects covered, assessment strategies, and the logic behind the curriculum offered. This will give you the information you need to confidently make your choice.

5. Think about your career prospects Career prospects

Having a master’s qualification will help you enter the employment market on a different footing. In these days there is increased graduate competition, and you need to be persistent, choose the right company and prepare to be humble at the start of your career.  A lot of students want to immediately enter their dream job.  That can, of course, happen depending very much on the skillset you have, the leadership style that you implement and the knowledge you have gained.   However, getting your dream job also depends on your ability to communicate, as well as the reputation of the school or program you have studied. 

In sum, choosing a master’s program is one of the most crucial choices that you have to make.  When making your decision, try to choose a school which is global, has a sound reputation in your industry, offers a wide range of subjects within its curriculum, and also shows a student-friendly leadership style.


This article was written by Dr Dimitrios Diamantis, MBA program manager at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland.

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areas that I ask sponsorship is school fees

I want to study in Canada

However will you please help to find sponsor

Hi my name is Alberto from Tanzania, I hold a Bachelor Degree in Regional Development Planning Im interested to pursue in masters in Public policy

Hi Sabrina
My name is Yogendra and I am from India I have masters degree in commerce specialised in Managment I want to do a masters course in Managment where my tution feed would be free .can you please help me with this

Hi Yogendra, our article 'where can you study abroad for free?' has suggestions of affordable study destinations you might like to consider for your masters degree, and you could also try looking for a scholarship to help with costs - we've listed business scholarships here. Hope this helps! 

Hi, I am Asma and I am from India. But now I am in Sweden and came here for masters with my husband. Unfortunately, my husband unable to pay semester fees and I come to know that Germany has free education. Can you help me, how to change college and country?

Hi Asma, unfortunately masters degrees in Germany aren't usually free unless you previously studied your bachelor's degree there - however, you could look for a scholarship, or read about some other affordable study destinations here. Hope this helps!

Hi, my name is dipo I studied geology as a degree and I came out with 2.29 CGPA..please is there any university that can accept me as a masters student also in geology?

My name is Jimi. I need help on how to study in Canada for my master degree. A part time program that comes with a job/work... plz reply

Hi Jimi, please take a look at our article on graduate study in Canada. 

how can i choice a master program ?

Hello ,my name is sunny , recently I completed my bachelor in mechanical engineering. I want to study in Canada for master so,how much cost is required including hostel and all 2 years cost.

Hi Sunny, please take a look at our article 'how much does it cost to study in Canada?'. Hope this helps.

Hi my name is Bhagyasri. I completed my BSc.biotechnology in 2015. I want to do my masters degree that suits my bachelor's degree in Canada. So opt me a good course and a good university and part time jobs available with BSc over there for working. I also want to know the target score required in ielts for getting good university with scholarship.

To whom it may concern
Hellow, my name is Rafael from south Mexico, I just finish university in "health nutrition" - I have all my documents ready , I speak fluent English , Spanish and French , where to go for my master degree ; related to my studies ?
Any information will be appreciated , partial sponsoring, part time work plus studies , etc !

I'm doing my bachelor's degree in English literature in India. After I finish my course here I want to study further in UK. I'm interested in writing novels and stuff. But I need an immediate financial support after i graduate. So I thought it would be easy to study MA journalism and work for magazines and such. But I really want to study history too. I love history. So what should I do? I'm confused. And also I need scholarships so how much cgpa should I get to deserve those full funded scholarships.

Kindly assist with universities in the U.S. That offers a fully funded MPH program...thanks

Hi Roheema, fully funded scholarships are quite hard to find, but not unheard of. Here's a link to our list of scholarships to study in the US. Good luck!

Please I am a graduate of Environmental and Resources Management and I want to do a postgraduate studies so that I can switch to human resources management
...I want to study in Europe

hello admin..please kindly help on how to get a good school in uk or US that gives scholarship either for MBA ,MPH or any health related postgraduate courses ..

Is there any Scholarship MS Agronomy (Agriculture). Need Full Paid Scholarship 'm having CGPA of "3.56/4" in BS Agriculture with specialization in Agronomy.

Is there any Scholarship in your University?

is their any university taking admission on 2cgpa , m having cgpa of 2.00 in engineering and looking for MS IN GERMANY

Hi Fahad, I've answered your question here. :)

My opinion is before we decide to choose master degree program. We must know what interest for.