MSc vs MA: Difference and Comparison

Several postgraduates have been available in recent years. But choosing the best is still confusing for many people.

The MSc and MA are the two most common postgraduate degrees taken by students. The closer you look, you get the difference between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. MSC stands for Master of Science, while MA stands for Master of Arts.
  2. MSC degrees are awarded for courses of study in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. In contrast, MA degrees are awarded for courses of study in the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts.
  3. MSC degrees require the completion of a research project, while MA degrees may require the completion of a thesis or a creative project.

MSc vs MA

MSc means Master of Science, and it is a professional, science-oriented degree program that is focused on STEM-based subjects. It is also called MS, SM, and ScM. MA stands for Master of Arts, and it is an academic, research-focused degree program that involves humanities and social subjects.

MSc vs MA

MSc stands for Master of science. The MSc focuses on technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects. MSc has no extent in social-related subjects.

In MSc, the knowledge has an extent in a specialized subject. This post-graduation enhances your skills more particularly in the field you take.

Many subjects are available in the master of science graduation. Master of science is a two-year degree program. You can expertise your technical and non-technical skills.

MSc is available in both a part-time and full-time degree program.

MA stands for Master of Arts. Master of arts is also a two-year degree program. You take one major subject from your undergraduate degree program.

Depending on the subject you choose, the assessments and project time will vary in the MA program. No particular evaluation theme is followed here instead, it depends on the subjects.

Master of arts is a research-oriented degree program. In MA, you need to submit a dissertation with the help of the supervisor in the final examination.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonMScMA
DefinitionMSc is a science-oriented degree programMA is a research-oriented degree program.
Stands forMSc stands for Master of ScienceMA stands for Master of Arts
Level of studyMSc is low level when compared to MAMA is the highest level in specialized subjects.
Subject focusMSc focuses on STEM-based subjectsMA focus on humanities and social subjects.
Degree typeMSc is a professional degreeMA is an academic degree.

What is MSc?

The Master of Science (MSc) is abbreviated in various forms: MS, MSc, SM, and ScM. It is a master’s degree program and needs two years to complete.

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The master of science degree is applicable for science, mathematics, and engineering studies. Mostly MSc focuses on scientific and mathematics subjects.

The ultimate aim of the Master of science degree program is to achieve the skills in one specified subject. It notes your writing thesis.

The University of Michigan introduced the degree Master of Science in 1858. Devolson Wood is the one who received the degree of Master of science first in 1859.

To need to pursue a master’s degree, you need to complete a bachelor’s degree program. It is a prerequisite for pursuing a master’s degree.

If you choose your domain, then go with the same subject in your master’s degree to improve your skills. Studying the same subject as your bachelor’s degree program is advisable.

The course duration might vary depending on the course you take and the university you are admitted to. The degree program is available both part-time and full-time.

You can pursue the degree based on your convenience. It takes two years to complete the subject you take and get the degree certificate.

The full-time programs will be completed in two years, and the part-time programs may vary at your own pace. The duration may also vary with the universities.

master of science

What is MA?

Master of arts is a two-year post-graduate degree program. The term originated from the Latin word. It is a degree contrast to the degree of master of science.

In MA, the subjects included are humanities, social science, and diplomacy. Depending on the universities, the conventions and syllabus may vary.

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Since MA is a research-oriented degree program, you need to submit a thesis and projects at the end of the program to improve your internal marks.

In some universities, MA comes with natural sciences and mathematics subjects. The University of Paris designed the MA degree program and got its license called the degree of master of arts.

In the MA degree program, the students get in-depth knowledge in that specialized subject. Like MSc, you need to complete a bachelor’s degree program.

You need to get 55% at the bachelor’s degree level. After completing the master of the arts degree program, you can easily find a job with your degree certificate. The investment of your hard work is never failing.

Many universities conduct entrance exams for joining the master’s program. You need to pass the entrance exam to join the degree program.

These entrance exams will help to get direct admission to the institute. Popular MA Entrance Exams are TISSNET, IPU CET, PU CET, CUCET, TUEE, MGU CAT, AUCET, ITM NEST, JNUEE, and CPGET (OUCET).

The MA has a wider range of subjects.


Main Differences Between MSc and MA

  1. MSc is a science-oriented degree program, and MA is a research-oriented degree program.
  2. MSc stands for Master of Science, and MA stands for Master of Arts.
  3. MSc is a low level when compared to MA, and MA is the highest level in specialized subjects.
  4. MSc focuses on STEM-based subjects, and MA focuses on humanities and social subjects.
  5. MSc is a professional degree, and MA is an academic degree.
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Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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9 thoughts on “MSc vs MA: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This comprehensive comparison table effectively summarizes the core differences between MSc and MA, offering a valuable resource for those considering postgraduate studies.

  2. The conclusion of the article, highlighting the main differences between MSc and MA, adds clarity to the decision-making process for prospective postgraduate students.

  3. The inclusion of historical references for both degrees provides insightful context to the origins and evolution of Master of Science and Master of Arts programs.

  4. The mention of entrance exams for MA programs and the emphasis on research skills further illustrates the academic depth and focus of the Master of Arts degree.

  5. This clear comparison and explanation of the differences between MSc and MA will help many students make an informed decision regarding their postgraduate studies.

  6. Master of Science is indeed a specialized and professional degree that aims to provide in-depth knowledge in STEM-based subjects, this is a good summary of the distinction between MSc and MA.

    • I would also add that the Master of Arts degree program enhances research skills in various humanities and social subjects, providing a broad and comprehensive education in these areas.

  7. The article helps to clarify the differences between MSc and MA, and it is a good guide to understand which one is a better fit for our own educational and career aspirations.

  8. The detailed explanations of the significance and requirements of both MSc and MA degrees reflect the depth of understanding required at the postgraduate level.


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