Students who are interested in pursuing advanced education have a variety of degree options. One of the most common options is a master's degree, which typically requires about two years of coursework in a specialized area of interest. Prospective applicants have to complete their bachelor's degrees prior to enrolling in this program as this is a prerequisites for all master's programs. An executive master's program is a particular format of a master's program aimed at working professionals.

Master’s Degree

Universities offer many different kinds of master's degrees in different subjects. Two common examples are Master of Arts and Master of Science. A Master of Arts is typically offered by humanities departments while a Master of Science is typically offered by natural science and social science departments. There are also other types of master's degrees offered by specialized schools within a university, such as a school of business or a school of fine arts. Business schools offer Master of Business Administration degrees that are specifically focused on business, administration and leadership, and art schools offer Master of Fine Arts degrees, which are specifically focused on an art such as painting, sculpture and graphic design.

Master’s Degree Curriculum

Most master's programs require students to take 30 to 40 credits within an area of study. Specialized master's programs such as the MBA typically require students to complete 50 to 60 credits. Regardless of the program or area of concentration, most master's degrees require students to take core curriculum courses in the beginning of the program and electives at the end. For example, master’s students in economics typically have to take courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics, and have the option of taking electives such as business economics, business administration and international economics.

Executive Master’s Degree

In addition to the various types of master's degrees, there are also different kinds of degree formats. An executive master's degree is a degree that is intended for mid-career professionals who are employed full-time. Executive master's degrees are typically offered by schools of business, but they are also offered by schools of communication and health. In addition to the executive MBA, there are also executive Master of Science programs in communications and executive Master’s programs in public health.

Executive Master’s Degree Curriculum

The most common executive master's degrees are executive MBAs. These programs have the same requirements as traditional MBA programs, but offer courses in convenient formats to fit different students’ schedules. Classes are often organized into blocks and occasionally offered in one or two full-day meetings. In other words, students attend large blocks of lectures at one sitting, and then complete a large portion of the work on their own time and/or over the internet. Because course schedules are preset at the beginning of the program, these programs often offer fewer elective options than traditional master’s programs.