Why a science master's degree? If you’ve pondered this question, you may have already taken your first step toward a fulfilling career in any number of science-related sectors and industries.

The rewards of a science postgraduate degree are extensive, but make no mistake about it: continuing education in the sciences takes hard work and dedication. For students willing to commit, however, a master’s degree can pay serious dividends in a range of exciting STEM careers. This is particularly true for people steadfast in their desire to work in science, as a science master’s degree packs greater employment power.

To ensure you are getting what you want out of your graduate studies, you’ll want to consider the following six reasons science professionals enroll in science master's programs.

1. Enhances Depth of Knowledge 

By dedicating time to your science graduate studies, one thing is certain: You will significantly deepen your knowledge in the academic discipline of your choice. In fact, Master’s Programs Guide ranks “you get to learn more about what you love” as one of the  top reasons to get a master’s degree. 

Most graduate students are working toward a degree in a field that they genuinely appreciate or deem important. As you learn more and more about this field, you steadily progress in terms of both academic advancement and professional development, gaining niche knowledge and skills that those with only bachelor’s degrees simply don’t have. 

At the University of Minnesota, for example, students with a background in the sciences can specialize by pursuing degrees ranging from a Master of Biological Sciences to a Master of Professional Studies in Horticulture. To graduate from these programs, you get to complete in-depth studies that demands exceptional mastery in a specialized discipline. 

2. Provides Advanced Research Opportunities 

Two scientists look at a tablet in a laboratory

If you want a career in scientific research or to use research as a stepping stone to further success, a master’s degree in your field of choice is a must. At the graduate level, you may have access to advanced research opportunities that are unavailable at the undergraduate level. Most master’s programs in the sciences regard laboratory work and research projects as an excellent way to investigate important topics and learn new things. 

New advanced research opportunities might also mean learning the latest clinical modalities, training on state-of-the-art equipment, and gaining other valuable experiences relevant to professional success in your chosen field. After all, you are bound to hit the ground running with your career if you are already familiar with the processes and tools of the trade! 

Simply put, research opportunities give students real-world know-how and proficiency that extend well beyond the classroom. Wise graduate students will augment their studies with research accomplishments that can really make their resume stand out when applying for jobs after graduation.

3. Increases Potential for Higher Earnings 

Whether your career progression path passes through the laboratory or heads directly to the boardroom, you will likely need the specialized knowledge that a science-related master’s degree program provides. You are far more likely to get a more advanced role in your field after college if you go beyond a bachelor’s degree to secure a relevant master’s. Any prospective employer who sees a master’s degree on your resume is far more likely to give it a second and third look. 

You should do everything you can to stand out. This is particularly true for job seekers who are after better-paying positions. So, if you want to beat out the competition for that high-paying science job, you’ll want to have an advanced degree, even if the basic application requirements don’t stipulate it. 

Statistics confirm that science professionals with a graduate degree have a higher earning potential than their colleagues who do not. A master’s degree positions you as a human resource acquisition who presents little risks and promises great rewards. Employers know that individuals with a graduate degree are not only highly likely to possess the practical knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their professional field but also the discipline and dedication that translate to being an outstanding employee. 

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are more likely than those in other fields to secure a master’s degree. The BLS reports that people in STEM occupations stand to earn on average up to 33 percent more with a master’s degree than they can earn with a bachelor’s degree.

4. Expands Professional Network 

Its ability to boost your targeted expertise as well as your hiring and earning potential is quite well documented, but the most valuable thing about your master’s program education just might be the connections you make while pursuing it. Between your instructors, administrators, and fellow students, you are bound to encounter countless people who can help pave key inroads to your chosen career sector. 

University networking might also mean interacting with successful alumni and industry leaders through various institutional programs. A quality master’s program can expand your professional network by connecting you with people who have the power to influence your employment prospects after graduation. 

5. Boosts Career Opportunities and Job Security 

In addition to helping you break into your chosen field with a decent-paying job, a master’s degree in the sciences can lead to further professional opportunities and career stability. 

As previously discussed, an advanced degree tells an employer that they can trust you with greater responsibility because you are likely to complete tasks effectively, independently, and on schedule. In short, you are the type of professional who gives 100 percent to their work—the type of person an employer wants to keep on their team and reward through promotions, raises, and other attractive benefits. 

Reason 6: Enhances Skills and Personal Achievement

Although the value of a better job for higher pay is self-evident, there is also something intrinsically powerful about skill development for its own sake. The confidence and self-assurance that come with skill mastery are invaluable and could pay dividends in all areas of your professional and private life. After all, you never know all the practical ways that your extensive scientific knowledge can enrich your day-to-day interactions, relationships, and hobbies in the long run.

If nothing else, a master’s degree in the sciences can offer increased credibility among your peers. Earning a master’s degree is a tremendous accomplishment that nobody can take away from you, and you should celebrate the respect it commands. 

Learn More

At the University of Minnesota, we value graduate level studies in the sciences as a key component of lifelong learning. Beyond our Master of Biological Sciences and Master of Professional Studies in Horticulture degrees mentioned above, the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies has degree programs for students interested in a Master of Professional Studies in Applied Sciences Leadership, a Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Behavioral Health, and a Master of Professional Studies in Sexual Health.

For more information about these degree programs or any other, contact a qualified University of Minnesota representative today.