Students pursue master’s degrees

By Ashley Cook
September 27, 2007


Although master’s degrees appear expensive, it has not deterred students in the pursuit of advanced education in hopes of furthering their career. The number of students in the different departments at Cabrini who seek an advanced degree differ in regards to the student’s career aspirations.

According to the New York Times, universities often start new master’s degree programs because they are seen as potential lucrative sources of revenue. Since 1970, the growth of obtaining a master’s degree is 150 percent, which is more than twice as fast as growth for bachelors or doctoral programs. The number of students earning these degrees has nearly doubled since 1980.

“There is something to say about going to graduate school,” Dr. David Dunbar, associate professor of biology, said. “How are you going to set yourself apart from anyone else? It will give you that added edge and higher pay.”

According to The Washington Post, these programs, for students, are very expensive, especially at private universities. Many students are taking close to $50,000 in loans for every year of school. Scholarships and fellowships are rare for master’s degrees, unlike doctoral programs, which are usually fully financed.

“Ideally, it would help me get a better-paying job somewhere down the line,” Matthew Grisafi, associate editor to the News of Delaware County, said. “Students should go for it. The real world’s no fun. Stay in school as long as you can. Then when you get out you should be making some real money.”

Grisafi said he hopes to eventually go back to school and get his master’s in a different field.

“I regret not staying at college longer to receive my masters, but I hope this interview can be a lesson for present students.”

Not all students believe that the master’s degree is completely worth it.

Jon Murray, Cabrini College Alumnus 06-07, believes that the master’s degree is not for every student. He said for some occupations a bachelor’s degree is more than fine. It depends on what the student wants to do.

According to the New York Times, the rise in master’s degrees has to do with the marketplace pressure on students to get higher degrees and credentials rather than revenue.

“I’m continuing after my masters to get my Ph.D. because of how competitive it is now in the job world,” Murray said. “I’m just getting my masters as a stepping-stone that I can eventually work as an assistant professor. You need the credentials such as a masters to get the higher ranking job.”

According to the New York Times, many students believe that these multiple degrees are highly valuable in today’s competitive job market.

“I would definitely recommend that any student get their master’s,” Stephanie Saveoz, junior graphic design major, said “especially if they can go for free.” Matthew Schill, a senior psychology major, said he hopes that students will realize how competitive the job market is becoming. He said he wants to get job experience first because this will give him the hands on training a company wants its occupants to have.

Dr. Dawn Middleton, professor of education, said that the majority of education majors earn a master’s degree. Dr. Tony Verde, associate professor of exercise science and health promotion estimates that 20-25 percent of the exercise science and health promotion graduates go on to graduate or professional studies.

“The importance of a post graduate education in our field depends on an individual’s career aspiration,” Verde said. “Though very employable, if the graduate aspires to be a licensed practicioner, they have to further their education.”

Another alternative can also be for the student to work right after graduation before going for their master’s degree.

“I encourage my seniors to work for a couple of years before they go to graduate school,” Dr. Mary Harris, associate professor, business administration, said. “In most business graduate programs, the students will get more out of it if they have actual work experience.

Most companies also pay for post graduate schooling once you have been there for a certain amount of time.”

Dunbar said it is more competitive the higher your rank because the companies need more of the lower rankings. This is why he also suggests working first.

“Think of someplace you are unsure about, and go there for your masters,” Dunbar said. “It will push you.” Dunbar suggests that students attend graduate school in another country because it gives the student a broader perspective of the world.

“Students should definitely take advantage of the master’s degree program.” Dunbar said.

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Ashley Cook

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