Top 5 Most Popular Graduate Degrees

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With the demand for a college-educated workforce greater than it’s ever been—and college enrollment at historic highs—an undergraduate degree is no longer enough to separate you from the masses. Many are returning to school for advanced degrees in everything from business to education in an effort to take advantage of the opportunities a graduate degree affords in today’s economy. You may want to consider a handful of the more popular graduate degrees.

5 Engineering

Engineering, like business, offers a wide range of study areas from which a grad student can choose: from biomechanical to aerospace engineering. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the engineering industry is still recovering from the recession, slowly regaining the jobs it lost. Civil engineers are in great demand, but biomedical engineering is growing even more rapidly as a field. The BLS pegs it as the third fastest-growing job market. Many different fields and good job prospects make engineering a popular graduate pursuit.

4 Legal Professions and Studies

Graduate degrees in legal professions include not only Juris Doctorates, which are required for lawyers, but also master’s-level study in criminal justice, criminology and even library science. Graduate degrees in legal professions and studies continue to be popular because they are applicable to a wide selection of career choices, from the practice of law to law enforcement and even civic or government work.

3 Health Professions and Related Programs

The health field includes not only doctoral-level degrees, such as those required to be a physician, dentist or psychologist, for example, but also master’s degrees in nursing and administration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing is the most rapidly-growing field for job opportunities, as the population gets older and lives longer. An older population creates an overall need for more health care providers, which makes nursing an attractive option for a graduate degree.

2 Education

With an increasing population and more people attending school at all levels, education is not a bad field to be in. Education offers a variety of job opportunities, including teaching, administration and counseling. The U.S. Bureau of Labor projects that this field will grow in the coming years and continue to create job opportunities for those who pursue education degrees. Also driving the popularity of education as a graduate degree is the fact that many states require K-12 teachers to have a master’s degree in order to be licensed.

1 Business

The most popular graduate degrees are in the business field. This is due to the popularity of masters of business administration, or MBA degrees, which not only offer study in a wide range of specialty areas—from accounting to entrepreneurship—but also afford an opportunity for a high-paying job. With such flexibility and variety in both fields of study and potential careers, it makes sense that business degrees top the list for graduate students.
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