The terms Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Science in Education sound similar and if you are looking for a graduate degree in education, you may wonder what the difference is between the two degrees. The primary difference is in the career for which they prepare students.
General Differences between MS and MA degrees
The degrees are basically equal in academics and in the professional preparation. Both require one or two years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree in advanced courses. Master’s in Arts degrees usually are base in the humanities. That means studying in disciplines like history, literature and philosophy. Master’s of Science degrees are generally earned in STEM-based disciplines. There are, however MA degrees offered in scientific areas and there are MS degrees offered in humanities. When a discipline like psychology or chemistry offers both master’s–level courses the difference between them is probably whether or not they are intended as a foundation for research or further study, or whether they are for practitioners.
Master of Arts in Teaching
The MA in Teaching, which is also called the MA in Education, is a degree that prepares candidates to teach in public or private schools, according to Master-of-Education.org. The programs are usually 30 to 36 credit hours and take one or two years beyond the bachelor’s degree to complete. They are intended for people who have no teaching experience. Some programs allow students to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. The MA in Education or MA in Teaching degree is a generic degree that can be specialized in several ways. You can, for instance, specialize in teaching elementary school, middle school or high school. You might also concentrate in special needs education. Your curriculum, if you decide upon this program, will include courses like child development, learning and teaching, integrating technology into the classroom and others. You might study lesson preparation and how to teach special needs children. This program includes a student teaching requirement. Upon completion of the program students usually will meet the educational requirements for teaching in the state where they earned the degree.
Master of Science in Education
The MS in Education is meant for students who want to become researchers or administrators in education. It is a more scientific focus on education that also is a foundation for doctoral-level studies. It takes approximately the same amount of time to complete as does the Master of Arts in Education but the curriculum is different. If you decide upon this program, you will study courses about standardized education and its assessments, research methodology, the legalities of education and budgeting and finance. Graduates of the MS Ed degree usually want professions outside of the classroom environment. The degree leads to careers as curriculum developers and policy makers along with others, and professionals find work in government and corporate training as well as in schools. This program does not require student teaching, but you will probably have to do a thesis and/or complete am internship with a school administrator.
Related Resource: 50 Most Affordable Small Colleges for a Master’s in Education 2016
Whether you earn the MS in Education or the MA in Education, your degree is recognized at the same level; one is no better than the other. The primary difference between a Master of Arts in teaching and a Master of Science in Education is whether you want to teach or work outside the classroom to improve education.