The phrase “Career Change” can conjure up feelings that range from anticipation to fear. The path to starting afresh, in a new field, is riddled with uncertainties, insecurities, and most of all, unfamiliarities. The concept of a career has been traditionally defined at the outset of ones secondary school, or undergraduate degree.
If you choose to do a Bachelor’s in Zoology, you will be expected to stick to a profession that will always deal with the four (multi)-legged. If you are serious enough to carry on with developing your subject based skills, you will most likely seek out a Masters degree, to enhance your knowledge. Here are some well known Masters (MS) programs that feature in our honorable and dishonorable lists.
That’s the normal course of progression, if things are aligned with your interests. But what if you realize that your choice of field has been ill thought out, or that you no longer feel a burning desire to continue in the career you had once chosen for yourself? After going through the initial stages of denial, and often embarrassment (Read Shame and Fear of a Career Change), the next stage of constructive action requires planning.
While networking, interning, self-education, and self-drive, can walk you through the training, and implementation, of your plans, some fields also have the advantage of a regimented Masters degree for individuals from any background (Read Checklist for a Career change after 40).
Let us put it this way. There are Masters programs that require applicants to fulfill pre-requisites that include a Bachelor’s in the same field, for often obvious reasons. And there are Masters that relax that requirement, thus making it easy for anyone, with some form of a Bachelor’s degree, to apply and have a chance at exploring the new field, thus changing their career path.
Best Masters for a Career Change
Here are a few international MS programs, that allow applicants to migrate to a new field. But before we jump in, let’s side step an inch to talk about the Master in Advanced Studies (MAS) degree option.
Master in Advanced Studies (MAS)
These Masters degrees are different from the traditional Masters in Science or Masters in Arts degree programs.They also don’t always count as sufficient prerequisites for a Doctoral degree. However, they are extremely handy in securing a formal training in, industry recognized, on-demand professional courses, as a post-graduate professional degree.
Here are some of the recognizable MAS programs with a rather liberal academic requirement for admissions.
- University of California San Diego’s MAS in Data Science and Engineering, MAS in Wireless Embedded Systems (Computer Science/Electrical), MAS in Architecture based Enterprise Systems Engineering, and MAS in Medical Device Engineering. The programs are all part-time, adding a slight complication, regarding Student Visas, for international applicants. Admission requires a prior background in Engineering, Math, Physics, or other Science fields, making it possible for anyone, within the technical community, to switch over to something new and exciting.
- AISTS (International Academy of Sports Science and Technology) MAS in Sports Administration and Technology offered by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the University of Geneva, and the University of Laussanne, and endorsed by the International Olympic Committee.
The list below shows Masters degrees that don’t necessarily require an undergraduate qualification from the same field. Also listed are the names of some of the best known universities that offer the respective MS program. The caveat, with such out-of-field applications is the added effort needed to fulfill the knowledge gap, or as in some cases, compensate it with a bridge program. But with the Masters, exposure to a network of similar professionals, and a litany of possibilities that would otherwise some out of reach.
|Masters (MS) Program||Out of Field Undergraduate Admission Eligibility||Top Schools that offer the program|
|MS in Finance||Bachelor’s in any field with knowledge in Mathematics. Work Experience preferred.||London School of Economics
Imperial College London
|MS in Accounting||Any discipline||University of Teas Austin
Ohio State University
University of Michigan
|MS in Supply Chain Management||Any discipline||MIT
Michigan State University
Penn State University
|Masters in Management||Any discipline||University of St. Gallen
Essec Business School
|MS in Architecture||Bachelor’s in any field plus a possible requirement of related work experience.||MIT
Delft University of Technology
|Masters in Liberal Studies||Any discipline||John Hopkins University
University of Denver
|Masters in Special Education||Previous teaching experience or experience working with disabled youth.||Vanderbilt University
University of Kansas
University of Oregon
|Master of Business Administration||Any degree with preferred work experience.||Harvard University
London School of Economics
|Master of Criminal Justice||Any discipline||Florida State University
University of Central Florida
University of Wisconsin
|Masters in Nursing||Any discipline||Georgetown University
University of Alabama
|Master in Education||Any undergraduate with work experience in teaching||Arizona State University
Teachers College, Columbia University
|Masters in Human Resources||Any discipline||Purdue University
Besides the above, there is also the recourse accessible through online Masters programs. According to a study conducted by Learning House, and Aslanian Market Research, in 2014, the most popular motivation behind the pursuit of an online Masters is the desire to change careers.
Among the various majors, the top five were Business Administration, Nursing, Elementary Education, Educational Administration, and Health Administration. 37%, of the responding graduate degree receivers, reported a change in employment status, either as role change, a promotion, or gainful employment post a period of unemployment. Read Online Degrees – Advantages and Disadvantages, for a better insight.
While an MS degree may not be necessary, or even sufficient, for a career change success story, it does, in some cases, provide a basis for clarity in ones’ subsequent moves in making a fruitful transition. So, make up your mind, research your alternatives, and network fast and heavy. Meanwhile, here’s some helpful reading.
- Guide to an MS program
- What is the right age for an MS in the US?
- MS in the US vs India
- Teacher turned Management Consultant-Career Change Tips