Terminal Masters

I’m hoping to major in Area Studies/Foreign Language. I hope to eventually get my Masters, probably in Sociology. Are there any schools with a terminal MA? Or at least won’t frown on students leaving with a MA?

1 Like

I had a community college instructor who left Harvard with a masters. I can’t imagine why anyone would disapprove of getting a legitimate graduate degree. Sometimes you can get a nice stipend for helping with undergraduate instruction.

1 Like

@CopperlineX2 I’ve noticed that most graduate programs are Ph.d oriented, and expect you to stay through the doctorate.

A MA is not a terminal degree. it may be the degree that you want and need. and may be the highest degree that a program offers, but a terminal degree is the highest degree that a person can obtain in the field.

What do you want that MA for? There are programs, especially in colleges and universities which are not research universities, which focus on their MA programs. In many ways these are a better choice for you, since, as you state, in departments with doctoral programs, MA students get less attention, geta lot less (or no) financial support (things like TAships, and RAships go mostly to PhD students). However, if there aren’t any PhD students, or there is a separate MA program, things are better

Colleges and universities with MA programs and few, if any doctoral programs outnumber doctoral programs. There are only 200 or so research universities in the USA. You’re looking for places like DePaul in Chicago, or public schools like Truman State in MO.

If you want somewhere more “prestigious” place, some liberal arts colleges like Middlebury have MAs in foreign languages.

1 Like

@MWolf I was thinking of Masters because I didn’t plan on becoming a professor. If my major is an Area Studies type, what other field besides sociology makes sense?

1 Like

It really depends - what sort of job are you looking for?

@MWolf I want to work bringing diversity to spaces that need it. I know that sounds wonky and overly “woke”, but it’s my best description.

@barbthewarrior Not at all - it’s a great ambition. Your next step is to find people who have the type of jobs which you believe will allow to you to do this, and see what degrees they have. LinkedIn is a good tool, except that they limit the number of searches you can run if you have a free account. You can also look at the various government jobs and jobs at NGOs that deal with these issues, and see what degrees the people there have.

Even better, find some of those people, and reach out to them. Ask them about the trajectory which led them to where they are today. Most, especially those in NGOs, will be extremely happy to talk to a high school student with your interests and ambitions.

However, as a high school student, don’t put that much time and effort looking at graduate programs. Focus on A, doing your best at school, B, pursuing these same interests outside of school, and C, figuring out the best next step after school. So looking at what type of degree will help you reach your goals, and what type of college will be the best type for you.

But really, the best thing that you can do, aside from school and activities, is to reach out to people who do the sort of things you want to do, and talk to them. You may even be able to engage in these types of activities before you go to college, or during college.


Consider a Master’s in Human Resources/Relations or Management or Organizational Leadership. There actually are some degree programs in Diversity and Inclusiveness (google it).

1 Like