Master’s Degree in Different Field than Bachelors? What Students Say
Graduating from college is a major triumph, and we applaud anyone who takes the leap and pushes forward in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Yet many don’t wish to rest their laurels on this one academic achievement.
Instead, they are hungry to add even more educational accomplishments to their resume. Whether they are seeking career advancement and a potential earning increase that may accompany it or they simply believe in the power of reaching their personal goals, many are motivated to pursue a graduate degree.
Knowing you want to earn a master’s degree is just the first step, however. There’s a lot more that goes with such a big decision, and once you commit to going back to school for a graduate degree, you will still need to understand how long it will take to earn your master’s degree, prepare for how much it might cost you, and perhaps the biggest concern, determine which degree to pursue.
On the one hand, you may find that you would like to dive deeper into your preferred field of study. On the other, you may wish to use your bachelor’s degree as a springboard and pivot in a new direction that will allow you tap into new or bigger passions. Sometimes, it’s a combination of both, and your master’s degree might complement (rather than match) your bachelor’s degree.
Either way, making the decision is no easy task. Yet not every person who pursues a master’s degree follows a set formula for choosing their program.
Recently, we heard from some Ashford faculty about their thoughts regarding choosing a master’s degree and whether or not it should match your bachelor’s degree field of study.
Now, we’ve turned to your peers for additional insight.
Here’s what Ashford students and alumni had to say in response to a recent post on our social channels when we asked:
“Does you master’s degree match your bachelor’s degree?”
1. Steffannie L.:
"Nope! I have a BS in psychology and a master's in business administration. I'm very happy with the path I took."
2. Oneicia T.:
"My masters doesn’t match my BA. My BA is in early childhood education and my master’s is in administration. I want to influence educators and help them make positive changes in the lives of the children."
3. Kendra W.:
"Yes! Both of mine are in criminal justice! However, I was planning to work as a counselor using my experience and education but unfortunately the state I live in made some changes while I was in the middle of obtaining my master’s degree, so I am currently seeking other options!"
4. John H.:
"My BA is in operations management & analysis. My MA is in organizational management. I chose the MAOM because there was no master's in the same title. The master's I chose does, however, complement the BA. I am currently working on my Ph.D. in organizational leadership and development. Together, I hope to become an instructor at Ashford. I would love to pay forward a portion of what my instructors taught me."
5. Julie H.:
"Yes, I have a bachelor’s in ECE and an MAED in ECE from Ashford. My intent was with my Bachelors to be well versed in ECE and to utilize my MAED to teach college-level ECE classes and eventually (hopefully) get onto my company’s education & development team."
6. Austen J.:
"No. Bachelors was in business administration (from Ashford), but I got a master’s in accounting after realizing that I wanted a more specialized credential."
7. Racene T.:
"Mine does not. I didn't want to limit myself. Behavioral scientists are used in corporate industries and for research. Now with an MBA, it is a double bonus because those skills are transferable in any area. Learning how to deal with people in behavioral science is also part of mastering communication."
8. Bridget G.:
"My BA is in sociology and education, my master's was earned, proudly at AU in healthcare administration, and I'm currently almost finished with my doctorate in public administration. I have job experience in education, healthcare, and social work. I'm working in education at this time in Georgia, but I'm looking forward to relocating out west very soon to earn a salary commensurate with my skills and to expand my consulting business."
"No, it does not. I transferred a variety of credits over to Ashford from different colleges and degree programs. I wanted a degree that allowed me to keep the majority of those transfer credits. I wound up settling on communication studies. After my BA, I decided to go into teaching and chose a master's degree that was specific to what I wanted to teach, special education. I don't regret any decision I made during my academic journey with Ashford."
10. Raymond C.:
"My BA is in psychology and my MS is in instructional design. Although I didn’t think they were related, the understanding of cognition and applying that to instructional design go hand in hand more than I thought! Couldn’t have asked for a better pair of degrees!"
11. Belinda M.:
"My master’s degree expands on both of my bachelor’s degrees and allows me to have a broader range of fields to which I can apply knowledge and skills that I have gained."
12. April A.:
"My master’s degree matches my bachelor’s. I’m very proud to say that I will be graduating in May of 2020 with my master’s."
13. Jonathan T.:
"No. My master’s degree does not match my bachelor’s field of study. My bachelor was in general applied management studies, and my master’s in IT (MISM). Honestly, I chose my bachelor’s major because it allowed to me graduate as quickly as possible. My motivation to earn an MISM was to prepare me for a future leadership position in IT. I see the future, and if you’re not directly, or at minimum indirectly, working with IT, then you will be left behind. Plus, I love IT, and I’m naturally good at understanding all aspects of technology. My motivations for earning my MISM are about self-fulfillment and economic survival."
14. Natalie C.:
"B.A. in applied behavioral sciences and M.A in healthcare administration. I think they match. … Right?"
15. Christopher R.:
"Yes. I studied psychology as an undergraduate and got my second master's degree in business from Ashford. Business is about people, and understanding how people think is critical to success in business."
16. Carina D.:
"My BA is in early childhood education (birth – 5 years), and my M.Ed is K-12 with a curriculum & instruction specialization."
As you can see, every path is different, and the direction you choose will be based on a number of factors. Before deciding on which master’s degree is right for you, be sure you do plenty of research, discuss your options with friends, family, peer, and colleagues, and consult an academic and career advisor at Ashford.
Written by Ashford University staff