An MS is a master’s degree

MA, MSc, MAS or (E) MBA: Guide through the master's jungle

So it's time to create some order: What the licentiate used to be, is today for humanities disciplines the Master of Arts (MA) or the Master of Science (MSc) for natural sciences and economics. Other disciplines have their own titles (MLaw or MMed). But they all refer to consecutive master’s degree programs that follow directly on from the bachelor’s degree, are part of the basic academic training and are subsidized by the state. The main aim of a consecutive master’s degree is to deepen the scientifically oriented basic training. Technical colleges and universities offer such programs. University students usually graduate with the corresponding master’s degree, while most university students leave it after completing their bachelor’s degree. However, many technical college graduates return after a few years in professional life in order to qualify for higher tasks with a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS). The MAS is also a federally and internationally recognized degree that complies with the Bologna guidelines.

It is designed as a part-time continuing education course for seasoned professionals. The tuition fees are significantly higher than for a consecutive MA or MSc, as an MAS is not subsidized. Universities also offer MAS courses, but the high level of practical relevance ideally corresponds to the character of universities of applied sciences, where application orientation predominates.

Therefore, the number of MASs offered there usually exceeds that of the consecutive courses many times over: Which brings us to the next master’s degree, which is only relevant for business schools, the (Executive) Master of Business Administration, or (E) MBA for short. This demanding and intensive course primarily imparts management and leadership knowledge, deepened on the basis of real practical cases. Due to the high professional qualifications of the participants, making personal contacts is also very important. Many technical colleges and universities have an (E) MBA, whereby the course is usually the flagship of the business courses offered. This is also due to the high reputation that the title enjoys worldwide.