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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Master of Science (Latin: Magister Scientiæ; abbreviated MSc, M.Sc., M.S. or S.M.) is a postgraduate academic master's degree awarded by universities in a large number of countries. The degree is typically studied for in the sciences and occasionally in the social sciences.



The Master of Science (M.Sc.) academic degree has been recently introduced in Germany, as the once common Diplom programmes typically lasting five years were replaced by separate three-year bachelor and two-year master programs. It is awarded in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science fields, and depending on the focus of studies also in engineering or economics. The completion of a scientific thesis is required. All Master's degrees in Germany are designed to certify an equal level of education and qualify for a doctorate program.

The degree Master of Science is often awarded in English form, but institutions can alternatively award it in the German form, Magister der Wissenschaften. The graduate needs to use it as awarded and cannot choose which form to use.


Similar to Germany, except no Norwegian award form.


The Polish equivalent of Master of Science is "magister" (abbreviation "mgr", placed before one's name, like Dr). In the 1990s, the MSc programs typically lasting 5 years were replaced by separate 3-year bachelor programs (termed "licencjat") and 2-year master programs. The degree is awarded mostly in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science fields, and economics, but also in the arts and other disciplines. In engineering and agricultural sciences, it is extended to "mgr inż." (which literally means "master engineer"). The completion of a research thesis is required. All Master's degrees in Poland qualify for a doctorate program.

United Kingdom

The MSc is typically a "taught" postgraduate degree, involving lectures, examination, and a short project. Taught masters programmes involve 1 or 2 years of full-time study (or the equivalent period part-time). Some universities also offer research MSc programmes, where a longer project or set of projects is undertaken full-time.

Until recently, both the undergraduate and postgraduate masters degrees were awarded without grade or class (like the class of an honours degree). Nowadays however, masters degrees are normally classified into the categories of Pass and Distinction, with some universities also using an intermediate Merit category.

The Master of Science degree should not be confused with the more recent MSci, or Master in Science degree, now offered by UK institutions. This is an extended undergraduate degree, with honours awarded, and is intended to better prepare students for postgraduate study. Many research universities are now demanding MSci degrees for entry to Ph.D. research programmes.

This education pattern in United Kingdom is also followed in Hong Kong SAR and in many Commonwealth Nations such as Malta, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

United States

The Master of Arts (Magister Artium) and Master of Science (Magister Scientiæ) degrees are the two primary types in most subjects and may be entirely course-based, entirely research-based or (more typically) a mixture.

Admission to a master's program is normally contingent upon holding a bachelor's degree, and progressing to a doctoral program may require a master's degree. In some fields or graduate programs, work on a doctorate can begin immediately after the bachelors degree. Some programs provide for a joint bachelor's and master's degree after about five years. Some universities use the Latin degree names, and due to the flexibility of word order in Latin, Artium Magister (AM) or Scientiæ Magister (SM) may be used at some schools.

See also



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Master of Science

  1. A degree that usually requires 2-3 years beyond a Bachelor of Science and emphasizes science and scientific applications. The degree is less advanced than a Doctorate degree.



Simple English

Master of Science (usually abbreviated MSc) is a postgraduate degree. It is awarded by universities. Usually, it is awarded for studies in natural sciences or Engineering. A Master of Science is usually awarded after a Bachelor of Science, and after presenting an academic thesis work. It is required for many jobs especially in research. It is usually required to start a doctorate.


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