What Are the Different Types of Advanced Degree Programs?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen
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Woman posing

Advanced degree programs are often designed around the various degrees that can be received from these postgraduate curriculums. Master’s degrees and doctorates, for example, are offered by a number of different schools that provide an educational path for students after completion of an undergraduate program. There are also more specialized degrees that focus on a particular type of profession, such as a degree in law that is typically required for a prospective lawyer. Medical professionals often complete advanced degree programs that result in qualifications to work in a certain field.

Some of the most common advanced degree programs are those meant for a student interested in continuing a more focused education in a general subject. For example, a student who receives a bachelor’s degree in English is likely to have focused on language in a fairly general way. That student can continue those studies in advanced degree programs that allow him or her to then focus on a particular subject, such as European literature or 20th Century American poetry. This type of curriculum is often quite similar to previous education, though the courses can be more tightly constrained to a particular discipline.

There are also many advanced degree programs that are intended for students who are interested in working in a very particular profession. A student who receives a doctoral degree in a subject like English may be able to pursue a number of careers, such as teaching at a college or working as an editor. Other advanced degree programs, however, are intended for students who want to enter the legal profession exclusively as a goal. These are also postgraduate programs that provide students with a master’s degree or doctorate, but are designed to ensure students are ready to become a lawyer.

Certain advanced degree programs are combinations of the other types, such as those curriculums intended for students interested in entering the healthcare industry. There are so many potential positions and careers for medical professionals that many different degrees may be required to work in them. A student interested in becoming a nurse, for example, has a number of degree options available to meet the requirements for different levels of certification. Some of these do not even require completion of post-graduate work, while other positions may involve additional courses.

Doctors and surgeons go through a great deal of additional education in advanced degree programs. A student interested in working in healthcare as a Registered Dietician (RD), however, needs to complete a different curriculum after finishing a bachelor’s degree. Some of these programs may be completed while a student is working on an undergraduate degree, such as the coursework necessary to become a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

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