Degrees Explained: What do all the terms mean?

Like virtually every other sector, the higher education world has its own unique set of terminologies. For those just navigating university life, the lingo can get a little confusing.

But fret not, we’ve got you covered. From the basic to the not-so-basic words and phrases you’ll encounter, here’s what it all means.

Undergraduate/undergrad

An undergraduate degree is the first level of degree study at university which could be a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) depending on your degree type. This will be listed on your university’s website.

You are also called an undergraduate (or undergrad) student if you are studying for your first degree at university. 

You are a graduate if you have already finished university and been officially awarded your degree. Most students attend a graduation ceremony where they go from graduands (those who have completed their studies but not yet graduated) to graduates during the ceremony.

Graduands commonly move the tassel on their cap from the right side to the left to signify when they become graduates. Source: GIPHY.

Postgraduate/postgrad

A postgraduate award is for students who already have an undergraduate degree. It is often referred to as “grad school” or a “postgrad course”.

Postgrad courses allow students to further knowledge gained in their undergrad course by more advanced studies. Usually, your postgrad studies will be related but different to your undergrad course, whether this is a different area of a similar subject you wish to explore or tailored to a specific job like teaching.

Similar to undergraduate, if you study a postgraduate course you will be referred to as a postgraduate or postgrad student.

See above. A Masters degree course is exactly the same as a postgraduate course. Some institutions will use the term “Masters” more commonly whereas others prefer “Postgraduate”.

PhD/Doctoral degree

Domestic student

You are a domestic student if you study in your home country.

International student

You are an international student if you study in a foreign country.

Did you move abroad for your studies? Congrats – you’re an international student! Source: Shutterstock

Mature student

The exact definition of a mature student varies from university to university but commonly you are considered a mature student if you begin your undergraduate course aged 21 or over. Not as “mature” as you may think in some cases!

Subject/course/programme/major

A subject is a particular area of study. In most countries, you must decide what area you would like to study in before you attend university. This could be a very specific subject like Forensics or more broad like Literature.

Your subject could also be referred to as your course or programme. In the United States, you do not choose your course before you begin studying but select it as you go. This is called selecting your “major”.

A part of your course dedicated to a specific aspect of the subject. For example, if you studied History, you may have a module specifically on Ancient Greece. Typically students take between six and eight modules a year but this will vary depending on your course and university.

Credit points

No doubt you have heard this phrase and thought: “What on earth are credit points and how do I get them?”

Credit points? Nope, no idea. Source: GIPHY.

Every university must have a scoring system. At the majority of institutions, the course will have a point value of a multiple of 15 with commonly between 360 – 480 credits needed over the course of your degree to pass.

However, every university will have different requirements so make sure you check what your specific course needs. Each module will have a certain amount of credit points attached to it.

How do you get credit points? Enroll in enough modules, turn up, and do the work.

If you fail a module you will not gain the credit points and must pick up another module or retake it.

Admission/admission criteria

The admission criteria are what a university or course requires you to have before beginning your studies. This may be a certain level of study, certain grades, or other requirements. Always check your university website.

The faculty is the academic division in which research and teaching take place. For example, your university may have a department for English and another for Science – these are different faculties which can take care of many different courses in a similar area.

Contact hours

Your contact hours are the number of hours you are expected to be physically present at university and interacting with your professors and/or classmates.

Typically you will have the most contact hours in your first year, gradually decreasing in subsequent years as you are expected to become more independent. Source: Giphy

This time is commonly made up of the hours you spend in lectures, seminars, tutorials and practicals.

“What’s the difference”, you ask? Read on to find out.

Often held in large halls, lectures are usually made up of all students who take a particular module. The professor will stand at the front and teach while students listen and take notes. Sometimes, there will be interaction between lecturer and student but other times it will be just listening.

Seminars are similar to lectures but are often made up of much smaller cohorts of students. In a seminar, you are much more likely to be asked to interact with your peers and discuss certain texts or ideas. They typically take place in a smaller room, more similar to a classroom.

Not every course will have practicals but Science-based courses in particular will. In practicals, you will physically be doing something, whether that be operating on a dummy, pulling out a tooth, building a go-kart or sewing a garment.

Tutorials often comprise of one-to-one sessions with your personal tutor or the lecturer who takes the particular module your tutorial is for. You may be joined with one or two other students and it is a chance to gain constructive feedback on your work and to have any question you may have answered.

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor is the professor on your course who will be appointed to you at the beginning of your degree studies. He or she will be the first person you should go to with any problem, and is there to help and support you academically as well as in your personal life as you navigate being a student.

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What's the difference between a Masters by Coursework and a Masters by Research?

A  Masters by Coursework  is a professional qualification involving the study of a specified set of core units and a selection of eligible elective units. Undertaking a coursework program will mean that you will attend classes, complete assignments and sit exams where applicable. Some Masters by Coursework also require the completion of a minor thesis as part of the course. Dependent on the course, part-time and online study options are available. For more information, please see our  Postgraduate Study at ECU  web page. A  Masters by Research  involves the submission of a completed thesis based on an independent research project. Students studying a Masters by Research work independently with the support of a supervisor and the School. Students may be required to attend units to help expand skills in the area of research. For more information, please see our Research Degree  web page.

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Published: 4 Sept 2023

4 Sept 2023 • Knowledge

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Quick Guide: Your College Degree Options

Find the right college for you.

There are generally four categories of college degrees: associate degree, bachelor’s degree, graduate degree, and doctorate or professional degree. Each category comes with its own particular subcategories, and there are some subtle differences between a doctorate and a professional degree.

If you ever find yourself lost in the sea of abbreviations for degrees, you're not alone. This quick guide is here to clear the air regarding the types of degrees available to you and what each one means.

Guide to College Degrees, Professional Studies & Certifications

Associate degree.

An associate degree is a two-year degree typically offered at community colleges, technical colleges, and career colleges. However, some four-year universities offer them as well. Examples of some associate degrees include Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS).

AS degrees are generally more narrowly focused and prepare students for science and math-related careers. AA degrees are broader and focus on fields outside of math and science such as liberal arts, business administration, criminal justice, and culinary arts.

Some students who earn an associate degree transfer to a four-year program to earn a bachelor’s degree. Others complete associate degrees and then go straight to work.

Bachelor's or Baccalaureate Degree

Bachelor’s degrees require students to complete four- or five-year programs in a specific academic discipline. The two most common types of bachelor’s degrees are bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BS). Other types of bachelor’s degrees include the bachelor of fine arts (BFA), and bachelor of architecture (BArch).

Because bachelor’s degrees train students to enter a specific field, many professional careers require them. Earning a bachelor’s degree can open the door to many job opportunities and increase your potential income.

Some institutions offer a liberal arts and career combination program, also called a 3-2 program. This is a type of dual degree in which a student completes three years of liberal arts study followed by two years of professional or technical study. In the end, students earn two bachelor’s degrees, usually a BA and a BS.

An example of this is Columbia University’s 3-2 Combined Plan program in which students can earn a BA and a BS in five years.

Some colleges also let you earn a teacher certification by combining bachelor's degree study with state certification requirements. State requirements vary, but these programs usually feature professional education courses, including student teaching.

Graduate Degree

Graduate degrees are advanced degrees that some students pursue after earning a bachelor’s degree. The two most common are master of arts (MA) and master of science (MS). Other examples include master of fine arts (MFA) and master of business administration (MBA). A graduate degree is like an extension of a bachelor’s degree whereby a student further enriches their knowledge of their field and narrows their f ocus of study .

Graduate degrees usually take around two years to attain, but this can vary based on the degree. Many institutions allow students to enroll in a graduate program in a field unrelated to their bachelor’s degree. This may require some extra credit hours, though.

Professional Degree

Students earn professional degrees to become licensed to work in professions like medicine or law. The M.D. degree is an example. Professional programs generally require a college degree before you start them and then at least three years of study to complete.

Doctoral Degree and Professional Degree

The doctorate and professional degrees are the highest levels of education one can attain. They signify mastery of a subject and often come with the coveted title “doctor.” Although the two are similar, there are some important differences.

A doctorate or doctoral degree is a research-oriented degree focused on scholarly development. The most common doctorate is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Despite the name, a PhD covers many disciplines, not just philosophy.

A professional degree is an application-oriented degree, meaning it prepares students for a specific working position. There are many types of professional degrees. Some examples are: doctor of medicine (MD), doctor of pharmacy (PharmD), and doctor of medicine in dentistry (DMD) in the field of medicine, and juris doctor (JD) and doctor of juridical science (SJD) in the field of law.

A graduate degree does not need to precede a doctorate or professional degree. Often, students will go straight into a doctorate or professional program following their bachelor’s, however some programs will require a master’s degree to gain entry. Completion can take anywhere from four to eight years, depending on the field of study.

Many doctoral students work either full-time or part-time while they study in the program. This, along with the field they are studying, will significantly affect the time it takes to complete their degree.

Joint Degrees

Some students may choose to pursue a joint degree, also known as a dual degree, which means they simultaneously study for a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree. Joint degrees can be pursued in the same college or can be split between two different colleges. For example, Berklee College of Music and Harvard University offer a dual bachelor’s/master’s program in which a student receives a bachelor of arts (BA) at Harvard and a master of music (MM) or master of arts (MA) at Berklee.

Depending on the program, it may be possible to study at the same time for a master's degree and a doctorate. For example, the University of Southern California offers a program leading to doctor of pharmacy and master of public health degrees.

How do academic degrees go in order?

There are four types of degrees. In order of level of education, they rank as associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s or graduate degrees, and doctorate or professional degrees.

How many degrees are there in college?

Most community colleges offer only two-year associate degrees, while most four-year colleges offer bachelor’s, graduate, and doctorate or professional degrees. Some four-year colleges may also have associate degree programs.

How many years do you have to be in college to achieve certain degrees?

Though it will vary between academic disciplines, associate degrees usually take two years to achieve, bachelor’s degrees take four years, master’s degrees take two years, and doctorate or professional degrees can take anywhere from four to eight years.

What is an eight-year degree?

An “eight-year degree” typically refers to a doctorate degree or PhD. Although some doctorates can be completed in as little as three years, these degrees typically require more time studying highly specialized subjects. Students in these programs often must defend a dissertation while already working a professional job.

What are the four years of college called?

The first four years of college are the undergraduate years, and a student studying for a bachelor’s degree is called an undergraduate. The four years refer to the total accumulated credit hours; a student may take fewer or more than four years to attain their undergraduate degree.

What does a graduate degree mean?

A graduate degree or master’s degree is an advanced degree that some students pursue after earning a bachelor’s degree. Earning a graduate degree signifies mastery of a particular field of study and focuses more intensely on a subject than a bachelor’s degree does. Graduate degrees usually take two years to attain.

What do you call a master's student?

A master's student is called a graduate student or “grad student” for short. A student still studying for a bachelor’s degree is called an undergraduate student or “undergrad student.”

How many years is a master's degree?

Graduate degrees usually take around two years to attain, but this can vary based on the degree. Many institutions allow students to enroll in a graduate program in a field unrelated to their bachelor’s degree, although it may require some extra credit hours.

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[ kawrs -wurk , kohrs - ]

  • the work required of a student in a particular course of study; classroom work .
  • curricular studies or academic work .

/ ˈkɔːsˌwɜːk /

  • written or oral work completed by a student within a given period, which is assessed as an integral part of an educational course

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Word history and origins.

Origin of coursework 1

Example Sentences

Derek Dodson is practicing with the Georgetown University soccer team for a rescheduled season while preparing for the resumption of senior coursework next week.

In San Diego, and throughout the state, an unconscionable number of students are failing or haven’t completed their coursework.

She took a full load of classes in the spring, summer and fall, and in November completed all the coursework for an undergraduate degree in psychology.

Pevzner, who took over the program in 2017, still heads into the field—though day to day he focuses more on developing coursework and swapping insights with similar programs around the world.

Although most schools have increased their offerings of online coursework, the number and sizes of in-person classes vary widely, as does the density of students in on-campus housing.

Digital art coursework at the Rhode Island School of Design simultaneous with an English Ph.D. at Yale?

Her pre-college education had been weak, and Leo was utterly unprepared for the academic part of the coursework.

An obsession with college preparation permeated all of our coursework.

The ad-hocs spent their time badmouthing the profs and tearing apart their coursework.

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What Is an MBA? All About the MBA Degree and MBA Programs

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The MBA is the world’s most popular graduate management degree.  Employers love it and students can’t get enough of it. Thousands of ambitious professionals apply to different types of MBA program each year.

As a generalist degree, the MBA gives you fundamental management knowledge, meaning you’ll get a holistic view of business across areas like marketing, finance, and accounting, all while developing those vital soft skills and leadership skills.

Famous MBA alumni include CEOs of multinational companies, successful entrepreneurs, and former Presidents. George W Bush, Michael Bloomberg, Tim Cook, Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, Sheryl Sandberg—they all have MBAs.

So what can you do with an MBA degree? What types of MBA programs are available? And is an MBA worth it?

What does MBA stand for? MBA definition

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration.

First introduced by Harvard University Graduate School of Administration in 1908 (now Harvard Business School ), the MBA is the original graduate degree offered by business schools globally.

Having “MBA” on your resume will help you stand out to employers, but the true meaning of the MBA goes beyond three letters on a sheet. During an MBA, you’ll build your business knowledge, grow your professional network, and boost your career and salary prospects.

Who is an MBA degree for?

The  Harvard MBA class of 2025 is comprised of 39% international students and 45% women. Students come from technology, manufacturing, healthcare, nonprofits, the media, and the military, as well as finance and consulting.

At  INSEAD , more than 80 nationalities are typically represented in the MBA class and students come from academic backgrounds ranging from business and engineering to the arts and political sciences.

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council™ (GMAC™),  the top career motivations  for prospective business school students include: the opportunity to enrich their lives, develop their potential, increase their income, gain business knowledge, and enhance their network – and these benefits are just some of the many  reasons to get an MBA .

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Whatever your background, if you want to learn management skills and advance your career, the MBA is for you; whether you want to start your own business, progress within your current company, switch function, industry, location, or all three at the same time.

“An MBA is not just designed to equip students for their next job post-graduation; it’s a life changing experience that enables students to make career changes five, 10, and 15 years post-MBA, thanks to the skills they learn and the network that lasts long after graduation,” says Virginie Fougea, global director of admissions and financial aid at INSEAD.

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Types of MBA programs

While the traditional full-time MBA degree is a popular option, the MBA today comes in all shapes and sizes. Business schools offer various types of MBA programs suited to different profiles of students.

MBA program types

Students, duration, and formats of different MBA program types

Full-time MBA

The full-time MBA is the original, immersive, on-campus experience, designed for early and mid-career students who may be looking to completely change their career path. The two-year, full-time MBA program is most popular in the United States and offered by the group of elite M7 business schools . In India, the Postgraduate Diploma in Management is also offered as an MBA alternative.

The one-year MBA is especially popular in Europe and Asia, offering an accelerated experience and less time out of the workplace, although full-time MBAs come in a variety of formats. INSEAD’s MBA takes just 10 months to complete, while London Business School offers flexible exit points after 15, 18, or 21 months of study.

Part-time MBA

The part-time MBA  allows you to combine work and study, meaning you don’t miss out on your salary and the opportunity cost of pursuing a full-time program. Part-time MBA classes typically take place in evenings, weekends, or in flexible modular formats, combining online learning with in-person sessions.

Executive MBA

The Executive MBA  is a part-time MBA program targeted at experienced, executive-level professionals with over 10 years of work experience. EMBA programs bring senior leaders together to upskill, network, and knowledge share, with participants bringing their professional projects into the classroom.

The Online MBA  is a super-flexible, part-time MBA experience, allowing you to continue working while studying from the comfort of your home. Online MBA programs typically require a residential component (1-2 weeks), although there are an increasing number of 100 percent-online MBA programs. Many online MBAs also allow you to pay per module and plan your own study time. This means durations for online MBA programs can vary, although most take around two years to complete.

MBA specializations

While the MBA is a generalist degree, you can specialize in areas you’re interested in. Business schools offer various MBA specializations  including MBAs in healthcare management, business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and HR. These usually combine core MBA courses in management with a specialist track of courses focused on your area of interest.

In the US, STEM MBA programs  have specializations that incorporate STEM topics and international graduates from STEM MBAs can stay and work in the US for up to three years without an H-1B visa .

You can also pursue dual degrees at most business schools, combining your MBA with a specialized business master’s , or cross-university programs like the JD MBA , offered jointly by law and business schools.

MBA courses and curriculum

The MBA curriculum is typically divided into two parts:

Core MBA courses cover the foundations of general management. Core courses typical of MBA programs include:

  • Business Communication
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Strategy
  • Data Analytics

Elective MBA courses give you the opportunity to select courses that best match your individual career goals. You usually study the core MBA syllabus before choosing electives in the second half of the program.

There are a wide variety of elective courses covering anything from HR management, nonprofit management, entrepreneurship, sustainability and CSR, to cutting-edge topics like artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Most MBA courses are taught using the case study method, made famous by Harvard Business School, which sees students analyze case studies of business successes or failures before discussing them in class.

You learn the business theory during an MBA before applying your learnings in group project work or even real-world consulting projects. Outside class, you can immerse yourself in all aspects of business school life: MBA clubs, extracurriculars, networking events, conferences, competitions, company visits, and exciting international immersions.

What’s it like being an MBA student? “The irony of the MBA is that it’s usually pursued in an effort to stand out, but during the experience your interaction with so many interesting, driven, and stimulating people is both humbling and inspiring,” says Pascal Michels, former MBA student and MBA admissions director at IESE Business School , now a director and consultant at MBA admissions consulting firm Menlo Coaching.

“Beyond the academics, an MBA is really about the people you meet; the friendships forged in heated classroom discussions and late-night team meetings—that’s what triggers much of the personal growth.”

MBA jobs: What can you do with an MBA?

What can you do with an MBA degree? Pretty much anything you set your mind to. An MBA prepares you for jobs in a variety of industries and roles. Typical  high-paying MBA jobs  include:

  • Finance Manager
  • Financial Advisor
  • Investment Banker
  • Management Analyst
  • Management Consultant
  • Marketing Manager
  • Operations Manager

Employers love hiring MBA graduates and many recruit on campus. According to GMAC’s  Corporate Recruiters Survey , 82% of employers expressed their confidence in business schools’ ability to prepare graduates for success.

Increasingly, MBA graduates can be found in industries ranging from healthcare to nonprofits working for both multinationals and startups, and many start businesses of their own. In 2023, entrepreneurial graduates from Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School launched 87 startups between them.

Companies that hire the most MBAs include the Big Three management consulting firms , Bain, BCG, and McKinsey; Big Tech firms like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft; and accounting firms like Accenture, Deloitte, and EY.

Several years after graduation, MBAs progress to senior, executive-level jobs. Many  Fortune 500 CEOs – including the CEOs of Apple, JP Morgan, Microsoft, and Walmart – have MBAs.

“When we hire an MBA grad, the global perspective and diversity of experiences they have allows them to plug right into Bain, and any of our capability areas, and start helping our clients succeed in their industries,” says Keith Bevans, global head of consultant recruiting at Bain & Company.

MBA program salary: What can you earn?

Getting an MBA degree will boost your salary prospects. MBA students from the NYU Stern School of Business Class of 2022 landed median base salaries of $170k. Meanwhile, grads from the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business landed median base salaries of $155k in 2022.

Three years after graduation, MBA salaries can increase by well over 100%. Across the top 10 MBA programs ranked by the  Financial Times  in 2023, students increased their salaries by around 130% on average, within three years of achieving their MBA.

Your average MBA salary prospects naturally vary depending on your industry, role, and the business school you go to. The highest-paying MBA jobs tend to be in finance or consulting. Consulting salaries for MBA graduates at McKinsey, Bain, and BCG can reach $260k (including bonuses and benefits) in the first year after completing an MBA, according to ManagementConsulted.  

The average MBA salary in the US  is around $106k after graduation, although MBA salary also varies by location. Based on your experience level and industry, you can  estimate your post-MBA salary using our interactive tool .

MBA cost: Is an MBA degree program worth it?

How much does an MBA cost? According to the  BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2023 , the average total cost of studying one of the world’s top-ranked full-time MBA programs is $202k. This figure includes the cost of tuition, additional fees, living expenses, and healthcare insurance.

The cost of an MBA varies significantly depending on where you study. The average total cost of a top-ranked, full-time MBA program in the US is US$233k, while in Europe it’s US$146k, and in Asia it’s US$113k.

Tuition fees for the top-ranked full-time MBA programs featured in the BusinessBecause report vary from US$64k to around US$173k.

There are many more affordable full-time MBA programs that deliver similar quality of learning and outcomes. The Bath School of Management MBA, priced at £37.5k for international students, and Birmingham Business School MBA, £32.5k, offer two of the  most affordable MBA programs in the UK .

If you’re living at home and working alongside a Part-time MBA, Online MBA, or Executive MBA program, you won’t pay additional fees related to living costs and you won’t face the opportunity cost from missing out on your salary.

What’s more, business schools offer a variety of  MBA scholarships and financial aid  to help you fund your tuition, meaning – for full-time MBAs especially – you’ll rarely pay the full cost of tuition for your MBA.

These benefits – plus the post-MBA salary, skills, and network you’ll gain – mean you shouldn’t let the price of an MBA put you off when weighing up your return on investment (MBA ROI). If you can find the best fit MBA program that can deliver on your personal ambitions and career goals, then an MBA is more than worth it.

MBA admissions: Applying for an MBA

What are the standard MBA admission requirements? Most business schools require an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification and a minimum level of work experience.

You’ll need to prepare your application materials – resume, essays, recommendation letters, and GMAT – before applying by an MBA application round deadline . If successful, you’ll progress to an interview before getting a final offer of acceptance.

Applying to business school can be competitive, with  MBA acceptance rates  for top-ranked MBA programs as low as 8.6% at Stanford, although most top-tier programs admit 20- to 60% of applicants, according to BusinessBecause.

The GMAT exam is a key performance indicator for business schools, but schools consider your holistic profile, looking at all aspects of your application together.

“Strong candidates have a habit of leadership in past and current endeavors, analytical appetite and curiosity, and a penchant for contributing to the success of a community. We want to get to know each applicant and to try to understand how s/he will contribute in our classrooms and community,” says Chad Losee, Harvard Business School’s MBA admissions director.

Now you know what an MBA is and how an MBA can benefit your career, it’s time to take the next step and apply. The MBA application process requires organization and perseverance, and you’ll need to do your research to find the business school that best matches your personality, areas of interest, and career goals.

Find out how to navigate the full-time MBA admissions process and more in our free-to-download Full-Time MBA Application Guide .

Definition of 'degree course'

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Tepper School of Business

Tepper School

Master of Science in Management Curriculum

Customize your msm degree with a flexible curriculum.

The business world is agile, innovative, and full of opportunity. Your master’s degree should be the same. Our MSM degree is a two-semester program that will light the spark in your business career by equipping you with business fundamentals and the opportunity to specialize in Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Operations, or Strategy.

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Start your application   career resources and outcomes, a data informed, human driven approach to business.

The Intelligent Future ℠ needs intelligent leaders. What better place to become one than Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, the birthplace of the data-informed, human driven approach to decision-making?

Our curriculum reflects our analytical approach to business and provides students with exposure to emerging technologies. Here, you’ll be challenged with practical applications of your studies through project-based work.

MSM Curriculum - YEAR ONE

Summer - orientation (4 weeks, 3 units):.

  • Introduction to Business
  • Job Search Prep

MINI SEMESTER 1

  • Managerial Economics
  • Probability & Statistics
  • Accounting I

MINI SEMESTER 2

  • Operations Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Presentations

MINI SEMESTER 3

  • Optimization
  • Behavioral Strategy & Macro-Management

MINI SEMESTER 4

Course descriptions, tailor your msm degree to your career goals.

Tailor your career path by completing a specialization in Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Operations, or Strategy. A specialization requires 5 content area courses (30 units):

  • Three required: cover content applicable to most roles in the area
  • Two elective: more advanced content or explore sub-areas

students-300x300.jpg

MSM Specialization Areas:

Entrepreneurship.

  • The entrepreneurship specialization is intended to equip MSM graduates for successful careers in business innovation roles, either in a corporation or a family business, or via purchasing and transforming an existing business. As a part of the Strategy specialization, you’ll have the opportunity to take additional courses in Franchising, Entrepreneurship through Acquisition, Family Business, and Future of Real Estate.
  • Want to further your knowledge in Finance? While all MSM students take a core course in Finance, if you choose to specialize in Finance, you’ll take a deeper dive into Finance with courses in Corporate Finance and Investment Analysis. You’ll also have the opportunity to take additional Finance elective courses of your choice.
  • All MSM students will engage core Tepper Marketing courses which cover the fundamentals of creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers . In addition, Tepper Marketing courses teach students to leverage analytical techniques and skills in order to drive and make informed decisions. With a Marketing specialization, you’ll have the opportunity to take additional courses in Digital Marketing, Marketing Research, and Consumer Behavior.
  • MSM students who participate in the Operations specialization will be primed for careers that support the design, delivery, and development of products and services across a variety of industries. As part of the Operations specialization, you’ll have the opportunity to take additional courses in Six Sigma, Operations Strategy, and Service Management. 
  • MSM students with a strategy specialization will be equipped for successful careers in management consulting or internal corporate consulting groups. As a part of the Strategy specialization, you’ll have the opportunity to take additional courses in Trade and Investment Strategy, Managing Across Cultures, Pricing Strategy, and Corporate Restructuring.

Required Specialization Courses

Entrepreneurship.

Lean Entrepreneurship

Commercialization & Innovation: Strategy

  • New Product Management
  • Corporate Finance
  • Investment Analysis
  • Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy
  • Marketing Research
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Six Sigma 
  • Operations Strategy
  • Service Management

Corporate Strategy

  • Technology Strategy

Strategic Management and Innovation

Specialization Electives**

As an MSM student, you can expand your core curriculum with the option to choose two electives that match your specialization. Below are some examples of elective courses for each specialization.

  • Family Business
  • Future of Real Estate
  • Franchising
  •  International Finance
  • Debt Markets
  • VC and the Finance of Innovation
  • Consumer Brands
  •  Supply Chain Management
  • Risk Analytics
  • Sustainable Operations
  •  Commercialization and Innovation: Strategy
  • Trade and Investment Strategy
  • Pricing Strategy

Additional Electives

Taking courses outside of the core curriculum and your specialization is a key component to Tepper’s MSM program. Electives build upon the foundations that are set in core courses and allow students to develop deeper knowledge of these areas. You’ll have the opportunity to take electives across Tepper’s various areas of instruction, including Communications, Strategy, and more. MSM students may choose to begin their leadership journey by taking courses in Organizational Behavior like Negotiations or improve analytical skills in End-to-End Business Analytics. 

**Courses are subject to change

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Communication Requirement

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Six credits of communication coursework must be completed before promotion to Year 4. For detailed information on the Communication Requirement, please consult the UBC Academic Calendar .

Courses to Fulfill the Communication Requirement

Six credits of communication coursework must be completed before promotion to Year 4. View eligible courses . BSc students must take SCIE 113 (First-Year Seminar in Science) to fulfil part of the Communication Requirement. Once admitted to UBC, students will not normally be permitted to satisfy the Communication Requirement at another institution.

Students from Secondary School

Students admitted directly from secondary school should take at least one communication course in Year 1. Note that SCIE 113 (First-Year Seminar in Science) is required for all BSc students -- it's a small-class experience that fulfills part of your communication requirement.

Second Degree, Transfer, and Re-admitted Students

Students who have transferred from other post-secondary institutions, who are readmitted to the Faculty after being required to discontinue, or who are admitted with a prior degree must meet the Communication Requirement while in Year 2 or Year 3 standing.

Promotion to fourth-year standing requires that the Communication Requirement be met. There are limits on the number of credits that can be attempted while in second or third years (see the UBC Academic Calendar entry for second-degree students and for other students ). Students who reach those limits without meeting the Communication Requirement will be required to discontinue studies in Science.

Students admitted to the BSc program from either the Faculty of Applied Science or the Faculty of Arts at UBC Vancouver and who have credit for APSC 176; ASTU 100, 150; or WRDS 150 may apply the credits toward the Communication Requirement.

How long do I have to meet the Communication Requirement?

Students admitted to the BSc degree who have not met the Communication Requirement by the time they have met the other requirements for promotion to fourth-year standing will not be promoted or permitted to enroll in courses other than Communication courses until the requirement is met. See Promotion Requirements .

Eligibility for English Courses at UBC

In order to take any ENGL course at UBC you must have a good grasp of the English language. The Language Proficiency Index (LPI) exam is used to determine a student's eligibility to register in first-year English courses. First, check to see if you’re exempt from the LPI exam .

If you do need to pass the LPI exam, it might be a good idea to limit your credits in first year so as to have the time required to build your writing skills through formal study and practice. The UBC Extended Learning office offers a non-credit writing course WRIT-098 : that may help you improve your skills.

*Currently the Faculty of Medicine at UBC requires applicants to pass two ENGL courses. Once admitted to UBC, students will not normally be permitted to satisfy the Communication requirement at another institution.

Students admitted directly from secondary school should take at least one communication course in Year 1 if eligible. Those who have not met the requirement to take an ENGL course (see above) risk having their credit release limited after first year if they do not make progress.

Students who are accepted on transfer from other post-secondary institutions, who are readmitted to the Faculty after being required to discontinue, or who are admitted with a prior degree must meet the Communication Requirement while classified in second or third year.

Promotion to fourth-year standing requires that the Communication requirement be met. There are limits on the number of credits that can be attempted while in second or third years (see the UBC Academic Calendar entry for second-degree students and for other students ). Students who reach those limits without meeting the Communication Requirement will be required to discontinue studies in Science.

How long do I have? What does this mean? How long for what exactly? (AL)

Students who are not exempt from the LPI exam and did not pass either SCIE 113 or an ENGL course in the first winter session will be limited in the credits they may attempt the following summer and winter sessions until they achieve a level 5 LPI score. If that score is not achieved by the end of their second winter session, they will not be permitted to register in any additional credit courses until they do. In light of our team meeting where we discussed 3rd Year to 3rd Year, do we want to change this language? My opinion is to keep it so it highlights to students that they need to achieve the LPI by the end of 2nd year. This is especially important if they didn’t take SCIE 113 in Year 1. (AA)

Musqueam First Nation land acknowledegement

UBC Science acknowledges that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

Learn more: Musqueam First Nation

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Department of Social Services, Australian Government

Disability and Carers

Employment services for people with disability

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring people with disability, injury or a health condition have equal opportunities to gain employment. There are a range of employment programs that support people with disability who need, or would like, help to find and maintain employment. Employers can also access free help to recruit, support and retain employees with disability.

Disability Employment Services (DES)

Disability Employment Services (DES) is the main employment service for people with disability, injury and/or health condition. The current DES program will run until 30 June 2025 when a new specialist disability employment program will commence.

People with disability may be eligible for one of two different parts of the DES program:

  • Disability Management Service is for job seekers with disability, injury or health condition who need assistance to find a job and occasional support in the workplace to keep a job.
  • Employment Support Service is for job seekers with permanent disability who need help to find a job and who need regular, ongoing support in the workplace to keep a job.

Providers of DES — called DES providers— are a mix of large, medium and small for-profit and not-for-profit organisations experienced in supporting people with disability, as well as helping employers to support employees with disability in the workplace.

To find a DES provider:

  • visit the DES provider search page on JobAccess
  • contact a JobAccess Advisor on 1800 464 800
  • talk to a Centrelink representative by calling the Centrelink employment services line on 132 850 or by visiting a local service centre
  • view the List of current DES providers .

Support for participants

The DES program gives participants flexibility and choice in the services they receive and how they receive them, with participants able to choose their preferred provider when they first enter the program.Job seekers may be able to register for DES through Centrelink or directly with a provider.

DES providers can help those looking for work to:

  • get ready to work
  • train in specific job skills
  • write a resume
  • practice interview skills
  • look for jobs that suit them.

Once in a job, DES providers can help with specific on-the-job training and support that suits their needs. This includes help under the Work Assist program . Work Assist provides support to eligible employees who have difficulty fulfilling the essential requirements of their role due to their injury, disability or health condition. A DES provider will work with the Work Assist participant and their employer to provide support that maximises the chance of maintaining employment.

Support for employers

DES providers offer recruitment support and guidance to employers. This may include help to:

  • post job vacancies
  • shortlist candidates
  • interview people with a disability
  • access available financial support (if eligible).

Information for providers

Operational information for DES providers is available.

  • Disability Employment Services Grant Agreement
  • Disability Employment Services Guidelines
  • Disability Employment Services Charter of Contract Management

JobAccess is the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers.

JobAccess provides free, confidential and accessible information and advice through the JobAccess website and a telephone advice line. It offers help and workplace solutions for people with disability and employers.

JobAccess also plays a coordinating role with the National Panel of Assessors to conduct free workplace assessment, and advise on workplace modifications and support which may be eligible for reimbursement through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) .

The EAF gives financial help to eligible people with disability and mental health conditions and their employers to buy work related modifications, equipment, Auslan (Australian Sign Language) services and workplace assistance and support services. The EAF is available to eligible people with disability who are about to start a job, are self-employed or who are currently working. It is also available to people with disability who need Auslan assistance or special work equipment to look for and prepare for a job.

Under JobAccess, a National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) can offer assistance to employers across Australia to:

  • increase their knowledge of support available through DES
  • implement employment practices
  • provider disability and training for staff.

More information on support available for staff with disability is available the JobAccess website . Employers can also call JobAccess Advisor on 1800 464 800 to connect with a National Panel of Assessor provider or NDRC account manager (if eligible).

Disability Employment Reforms

As part of the 2024–25 Budget, the Government announced a number of measures that will improve employment and career outcomes of people with disability, injury or illness.

  • Read the media release and learn more information about other Department of Social Services’ Budget measures .

A new specialist disability employment program

A new specialist disability employment program will replace the current DES program from 1 July 2025.

The new program will focus on assisting people with disability to find and maintain sustainable employment. It will improve the quality of service for participants by ensuring the support provided is tailored to their circumstances. There will be a greater focus on quality providers, with staff and leadership that reflects the diversity of the communities they are working with. Providers will place clients and employers at the centre of their service design and build meaningful relationships with both clients and employers.

In line with the new specialist disability employment program, The National Panel of Assessors program will continue to deliver assessment services from 1 July 2025.

  • Read more about the new specialist disability employment program .

Disability Employment Centre of Excellence

A Disability Employment Centre of Excellence (Centre of Excellence) is being established to develop best practice, evidence-based information to help providers deliver high-quality effective employment services and supports to improve disability employment outcomes. The Centre of Excellence will support the introduction of the new specialist disability employment program from 1 July 2025.

  • Read more information about the Centre for Excellence .

The Complaints Resolution and Referral Service and Hotline

The Complaints Resolution and Referral Service (CRRS) and Hotline will be continued to 31 December 2026. Through continued support for the Hotline and CRRS, the Government is keeping in place a robust complaints framework that protects the rights and safety of people with disability. This will ensure continued coverage and support for people with disability with concerns or complaints, while the Government considers future arrangements in the context of the broader reforms within the disability sector, including the response to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Review.

  • Read more information about the Hotline and CRRS .

Further information about reforms to disability employment announced as part of the 2024- 25 Budget is available in the following factsheets:

  • A new specialist disability employment program – Factsheet
  • A new specialist disability employment program – Participant Factsheet
  • A new specialist disability employment program – Employer Factsheet
  • A new specialist disability employment program – Provider Factsheet
  • Disability Employment Centre of Excellence - Factsheet
  • National Panel of Assessors - Factsheet

Workforce Australia Employment Services

Workforce Australia is the employment service delivered by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. It includes an online service and a network of providers that deliver support to job seekers on income support, including those with disability, to find a job or create their own job.

The Workforce Australia website is a place employers can post their current vacancies and all Australians can search and apply for jobs.

As part of Workforce Australia, Self-Employment Assistance can help participants turn their business idea, or existing small business, into a viable business. The program allows participants to choose the level of support that meets their needs and the needs of their business.

More information about Workforce Australia is available on the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website .

Supported Employment

Supported employment refers to jobs where people with high support needs (i.e. those who, because of their disabilities, need substantial ongoing support to obtain and/or keep paid employment) can receive extra support while they are at work.

If an individual is eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), supports for employment could be funded through their NDIS Plan. Further information about supported employment under the NDIS, including information on the pricing framework, can be found on the NDIS website .

Participants can use their supported employment funding in any workplace they choose, including mainstream employment, social enterprises, micro-businesses, or supported employment services (including those traditionally known as Australian Disability Enterprises or ADEs).

The Supported Wage System (SWS) is set up for employees with disability who are not able to perform jobs at the same capacity as any other employee. Under SWS, special workplace arrangements are created so that employers can pay wages to a person with disability based on how productive they are in their job. 

An employer or DES provider may make an application under the SWS. The SWS assessment will be conducted by an independent assessor. 

  • Learn more about supported employment and the SWS . 
  • DES Quality Framework

In July 2023, the Australian Government announced a new Disability Employment Services (DES) Quality Framework. The Framework is designed to ensure the delivery of high quality, tailored services for people with disability. It will ensure providers are listening and responding to the needs of individuals and employers to drive meaningful and sustained quality improvement.

  • Media release – Disability Employment Services Quality Framework

Following the release of the Framework the Department has continued to consult with providers, peaks, and disability representative organisations to inform and support implementation and development. The Framework has been updated to support this development.

DES Quality Guidelines complement the Framework.

  • DES Quality Guidelines

National Panel of Assessors

The National Panel of Assessors (NPA) program provides independent assessments to support people with disability in the workplace. NPA providers conduct the following: 

  • Ongoing Support: to ensure that DES clients receive the Ongoing Support they need in the workplace to retain their job. 
  • Supported Wage System: to determine productivity-based wages for eligible people with disability. 
  • Workplace Modifications Services: to assess the suitability of modifications (such as equipment or assistive technology) that will support people with disability to undertake their employment duties. 

From 1 July 2025, in line with the new specialist disability employment program, NPA providers will continue to deliver these assessment services.

A list of current organisations that deliver NPA is available.

Operational information for NPA providers is available.

  • NPA Grant Agreement
  • National Standards for Disability Services – audit requirements for NPA providers

Last updated: 15 May 2024 - 11:01am

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  1. How to decide between postgraduate research and coursework

    4 mins. It can be a little tricky figuring out which postgraduate degree is for you. That's why we've done the work for you to clarify the differences between a coursework degree and a research degree, and where each could take your career. Tl;dr: The main difference between these two styles is coursework has classes and research has a thesis.

  2. Coursework

    Coursework (also course work, especially British English) is work performed by students or trainees for the purpose of learning. Coursework may be specified and assigned by teachers, or by learning guides in self-taught courses. Coursework can encompass a wide range of activities, including practice, experimentation, research, and writing (e.g., dissertations, book reports, and essays).

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    A Masters by Coursework is a professional qualification involving the study of a specified set of core units and a selection of eligible elective units. Undertaking a coursework program will mean that you will attend classes, complete assignments and sit exams where applicable. Some Masters by Coursework also require the completion of a minor thesis as part of the course.

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    A doctorate or doctoral degree is a research-oriented degree focused on scholarly development. The most common doctorate is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Despite the name, a PhD covers many disciplines, not just philosophy. A professional degree is an application-oriented degree, meaning it prepares students for a specific working position.

  9. COURSEWORK

    COURSEWORK definition: 1. work set at regular periods as part of an educational course 2. work set at regular periods as…. Learn more.

  10. COURSEWORK Definition & Meaning

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    Students admitted directly from secondary school should take at least one communication course in Year 1 if eligible. Those who have not met the requirement to take an ENGL course (see above) risk having their credit release limited after first year if they do not make progress. Second Degree, Transfer, and Re-admitted Students

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