Master of Science - MSc
The MSC, or Master of Science, is a degree that is available to those who want to pursue postgraduate study in the area of sciences, and sometimes also in the areas of social sciences, depending on the focus of their master.
In the UK most Master of Science courses take one to two years to complete, although with the increase in people pursuing their Master degrees, while also working in the professional world, many people now take three to four years to complete their Master of Science degree, since they only attend modules part time.
A typical course of study for a student pursuing a Master of Science degree includes modules with lectures and examinations, followed by a project that is summarized sometimes with a thesis paper or a dissertation at the end of their course of study. Some universities in the UK also offer a more specialized MSc, called the research MSc, in which the student attempts a series of projects on a full time basis.
In the past Master of Science degrees were not assigned a grade or a class level, but as masters degrees are now being categorized into classes such as Distinction and Pass, the Master of Science degree programs are following suit. In fact, some universities that offer the MSc also have started to allow for a Merit category as well.
A common misconception among students starting out their post graduate studies is that a Master of Science degree is the same thing as a Master in Science, which is a new master's degree offered in the UK. However, the latter is an extended degree designed for those who complete their undergraduate degree with honours and is not a postgraduate degree.
Instead, the Master in Science degree is intended to help prepare students of eventual postgraduate study, thus it is ranked lower in the hierarchy and is not applicable for post graduate students. As an undergraduate student it is still a good idea to strive for the Master in Science degree if possible, as it will make completing a Master of Science degree easier, as well as possibly allow students to skip directly into a doctorate research program.
The most common fields of study for those who pursue a Master in Science degree are mathematics, natural sciences, and in some universities computer science subject areas.
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