NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Q: What is the difference between a Master of and an M.S. degree?

A "Master of" program is traditionally considered a professional program for individuals in their field.   A "Master of" degree program is usually intended for individuals who are currently working and are interested in advancing their education to pursue management positions or pay scale increases.  Students in these programs more often participate in practicums or paper projects as their final project.  Occasionally, students may complete a thesis as part of their final project.


An M.S. degree is traditionally considered a highly research based program.  It is generally for individuals with strong research interests.  Individuals interested in these programs may be interested in a doctoral degree, teaching opportunities, research in their field, management positions or pay scale increases. Students in these programs will most likely be required to complete a thesis but occasionally may have the opportunity to choose a practicum or paper project instead.