Why Professional Master’s Degrees are the Next Round of Innovation

Why Professional Master’s Degrees are the Next Round of Innovation

With so many people still in debt from their bachelor’s degree, what case is there to make for taking on additional debt for a master’s degree?

Sean Gallagher, Northeastern’s Chief Strategy Officer and recent doctoral graduate from the College of Professional Studies Doctor of Education Program, says the need for professional master’s degrees is clear-cut. These are the degrees that are grounded in the professional workplace – not the arts or humanities.

“Increasingly, employers value the problem solving, critical thinking, and technical skills that graduate-level education provides,” he writes in an opinion piece posted on Forbes.com.  “While the education innovation movement is currently preoccupied with free, massively open online courses, the real innovation is occurring in master’s programs that are grounded in the professional workplace and can be pursued in executive, online, or hybrid formats – models that by increasing access to graduate-level programming, and in turn, growing the human capital and productive capacity of the workforce.”

Gallagher says that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for master’s degree holders was 3.4 percent, compared to 6.1 percent for workers overall.

“Given the knowledge orientation and complex, global nature of today’s economy, employers are very often demanding the master’s degree for many of their fastest growing professional and leadership roles,” he writes.

Gallagher says that  rather than criticizing the master’s degree as an artifact of an “education bubble,” we should be “exploring ways to increase the supply of high quality graduate education.”

Do you see a greater demand in the workplace for professionals with advanced degrees? Have you found your own professionally oriented master’s degree has paid off? Tell us in the comments. 

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