Master of Advanced Studies

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A Master of Advanced Studies or Master of Advanced Study (MAS, M.A.S., or MASt) is a postgraduate degree awarded in various countries. Master of Advanced Studies programs may be non-consecutive programs tailored for "specific groups of working professionals with well-defined needs for advanced degree work" [1] or advanced research degrees. [2] With the exception of the UK, advanced studies programs tend to be interdisciplinary and tend to be focused toward meeting the needs of professionals rather than academics. [3] [4]


United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge began offering the Master of Advanced Study in 2010 [5] as a one-year master's degree in Mathematics as a replacement for the "Part III exam in Mathematics". Cambridge currently offers Master of Advanced Study degrees in four fields of study. The University of Warwick has approved the introduction of a Master of Advanced Study (MASt) degree in Mathematics for the 2013/2014 year. [6] [7]

United States

In the United States, the Master of Advanced Study or the Master of Advanced Studies [8] degree is a post-graduate professional degree issued by numerous academic institutions, but most notably by the University of California. M.A.S. programs tend to "concentrate on a set of coordinated coursework with culminating projects or papers rather than emphasizing student research" and frequently are structured as interdisciplinary offerings. [9]

France and francophone countries

The Diplôme d'études approfondies or DEA (Degree of in-Depth Studies) was a doctoral programme degree delivered in France from 1964 to 2011 (5-year+ higher education). It was a postgraduate degree (diplôme de troisième cycle), aimed to prepare for advanced doctoral studies. [10] In order to award a government sanctioned degree (diplôme national) for a DEA, the university or institution had to require its students to complete a minimum 90-page thesis with a bibliography based on the students' original research, and a thesis defense. [11] In addition to the research thesis, and its defense, delivery of the DEA required one-year of classroom study, an internship, particularly difficult written exams, and an oral exam. [12] It often took these students two to three years to receive the diploma. Entrance in DEA programs was permitted only to holders of the maîtrise universitaire  [ fr ], a master's degree aimed to be an initiation to research methods. Given the thesis requirement, the DEA is considered higher level than the North American "All But Dissertation" or ABD status within a doctoral program or a master of philosophy (M.Phil.), but lower level than a PhD. Holders of a DEA were considered to have acquired the theoretical technical knowledge equivalent to a PhD, albeit with less practical research experience. As a result, DEA graduates would often enter the job market without the need to do a PhD, and be offered much more attractive jobs and conditions, compared to master's degree graduates.

The Bologna Process was implemented in France in 2002. In 2011, the DEA and the maîtrise were fused into a lower level two-year degree called "Master". [13] At first, the first year of the Master (Master 1 or M1 in everyday speech) was in fact a one-year stand-alone research program and the second year (Master 2 or M2) an introduction to further research. This was gradually overturned by more Bologna-compliant programs, where the M1 introduces to research methods and M2 culminates in actual research. One can say that the old DEA idea is now extinct in France, having been replaced by a lower level master's degree.

The DEA and Diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées (DESS) were offered in many places and may continue to be offered in countries that apply the French university style, sometimes with some minor differences, such as Algeria, Belgium, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Morocco, Canada (Quebec), Spain, Tunisia, and most Francophone countries.

In the French-speaking universities of Switzerland, the DEA, now master of advanced studies, was equivalent to the master's degree in English-speaking countries, and it was a one-to-two-year degree taken after a Licence (4-year Swiss graduate degree). It generally consisted of a number of courses, with examinations and grades, followed by research in a scientific laboratory. The students would then write a substantial thesis about the scientific work they did, and defend this thesis in front of a committee. The master of advanced studies remains a common post-graduate degree in Switzerland.

In Europe, the DEA degrees are progressively subsumed into the Bologna process master's degrees and research-oriented master of advanced studies degrees.

German-speaking countries

The degree of Master of Advanced Studies is awarded in Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein as a continuing education (Weiterbildung) degree.

Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) Program Master of Advanced Studies MAS Konzept.jpg
Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) Program

In Switzerland, the degree is recognized by federal law. Generally, a university degree is required for admission, but also work experience and non-formal education can be considered in addition to formal education. [3] [14] [15] A MAS requires 60-120 ECTS. [16] [17] and usually consists of course work, independent study and a masters thesis. [18]


This degree also exists in Spain under the name "Diploma de Estudios Avanzados". It confers a higher qualification credential than a Master of Philosophy or Master of Studies but lower than old doctorate prior to European Higher Education Area (EHEA), however equivalent to new (EHEA) doctoral degree. The so-called "DEA" was achieved in two years: one year of coursework, which included research methods and theoretical approaches of the discipline at stake (depending on the area of specialization) and one year of research. All the work of the first and second years was defended before a panel. The DEA was a prerequisite for the preparation of the old PhD proposal and the commencement of PhD research in Spain before European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and Bologna process.

European Union

Students of the College of Europe (an independent university institute of postgraduate European studies with its campuses in Bruges (Belgium) and Natolin (Poland) receive an advanced master's degree (formerly called Diploma and Certificat) following a one-year intense programme. The one-year study programme at the College of Europe leads to an accredited degree of 66 ECTS. [19]

Related Research Articles

Postgraduate education involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees, academic or professional certificates, academic or professional diplomas, or other qualifications for which a first or bachelor's degree generally is required, and it is normally considered to be part of higher education. In North America, this level is typically referred to as graduate school.

An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including bachelor's, master's and doctorates, often alongside other academic certificates and professional degrees. The most common undergraduate degree is the bachelor's degree, although in some countries there are lower level higher education qualifications that are also titled degrees.

A master's degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice. A master's degree normally requires previous study at the bachelor's level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course. Within the area studied, master's graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation, or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently.

Doctorate Academic or professional degree

A doctorate or doctor's degree or doctoral degree, is an academic degree awarded by universities, derived from the ancient formalism licentia docendi. In most countries, it is a research degree that qualifies the holder to teach at university level in the degree's field, or to work in a specific profession. There are a number of doctoral degrees; the most common is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which is awarded in many different fields, ranging from the humanities to scientific disciplines.

Master of Science Masters degree awarded for post-graduate study in the sciences, or occasionally social sciences

A Master of Science is a master's degree in the field of science awarded by universities in many countries or a person holding such a degree. In contrast to the Master of Arts degree, the Master of Science degree is typically granted for studies in sciences, engineering and medicine and is usually for programs that are more focused on scientific and mathematical subjects; however, different universities have different conventions and may also offer the degree for fields typically considered within the humanities and social sciences. While it ultimately depends upon the specific program, earning a Master of Science degree typically includes writing a thesis.

Bologna Process System for compatibility of higher education qualifications in the European region

The Bologna Process is a series of ministerial meetings and agreements between European countries to ensure comparability in the standards and quality of higher-education qualifications. The process has created the European Higher Education Area under the Lisbon Recognition Convention. It is named after the University of Bologna, where the Bologna declaration was signed by education ministers from 29 European countries in 1999. The process was opened to other countries in the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe, and governmental meetings have been held in Prague (2001), Berlin (2003), Bergen (2005), London (2007), Leuven (2009), Budapest-Vienna (2010), Bucharest (2012), Yerevan (2015) and Paris (2018).

A Fachhochschule, abbreviated FH, or University of Applied Sciences (UAS) is a German tertiary education institution. Each institution specializes in a particular of applied science or applied arts, such as engineering, technology or business.

Doctor of Medicine Postgraduate medical degree

Doctor of Medicine is a medical degree, the meaning of which varies between different jurisdictions. In Canada and most other countries, the M.D. denotes an undergraduate degree awarded upon graduation from medical school. In the United States, and some other countries, the M.D. denotes a professional graduate degree. In the United States, this generally arose because many in 18th-century medical professions trained in Scotland, which used the M.D. degree nomenclature. In England, however, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery was used and eventually in the 19th century became the standard in Scotland too. Thus, in the United Kingdom, Ireland and other countries, the M.D. is a research doctorate, higher doctorate, honorary doctorate or applied clinical degree restricted to those who already hold a professional degree in medicine; in those countries, the equivalent professional to the North American and some others use of M.D. is still typically titled Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.).

A graduate diploma is generally a qualification taken after completion of a first degree, although the level of study varies in different countries from being at the same level as the final year of a bachelor's degree to being at a level between a master's degree and a doctorate. In some countries the graduate diploma and postgraduate diploma are synonymous, while in others the postgraduate diploma is a higher qualification.

A postgraduate diploma is a postgraduate qualification awarded after a university degree, which supplements the original degree and awards them with a graduate diploma. Countries that award postgraduate diplomas include but are not limited to Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Spain, Kenya, South Africa, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Republic of Panama the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Pakistan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago and Zimbabwe. Level of education and recognition differ per issuing country.

A licentiate is a degree below that of a PhD given by universities in some countries. In others, for example almost all countries in the European Union, a licentiate is a 3 to 4 years degree, equivalent to a bachelor's degree. The term is also used for a person who holds this degree. The term derives from Latin licentia, "freedom", which is applied in the phrases licentia docendi meaning permission to teach and licentia ad practicandum signifying someone who holds a certificate of competence to practise a profession. Many countries have degrees with this title, but they may represent different educational levels.

The Doctor of Business Administration is a research doctorate awarded on the basis of advanced study, examinations, project work and research in business administration. The D.B.A. is a terminal degree in business administration. Along with the Ph.D. or D.Phil., it represents the highest academic qualification in business administration, and is typically required to gain employment as a full-time, tenure-track university professor or postdoctoral researcher in the field. As with other earned doctorates, individuals with the degree are awarded the academic title doctor, which is often represented via the English honorific "Dr." or the post-nominal letters "DBA" or "PhD."

A Master of Engineering is either an academic or professional master's degree in the field of engineering.

An engineer's degree is an advanced academic degree in engineering which is conferred in Europe, some countries of Latin America, North Africa and a few institutions in the United States. The degree may require a graduate thesis or dissertation at the level of a research doctorate such as a PhD.

A Diplom is an academic degree in the German-speaking countries Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and a similarly named degree in some other European countries including Albania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine and only for engineers in France, Greece, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Brazil.

The Master of Philosophy is a postgraduate degree. An MPhil typically includes a taught portion and a significant research portion, during which a thesis project is conducted under supervision. An MPhil may be awarded to postgraduate students after completing taught coursework and one to two years of original research, which may also serve as a provisional enrollment for a PhD programme.

Education in Belgium

Education in Belgium is regulated and for the most part financed by one of the three communities: Flemish, French and German-speaking. Each community has its own school system, with small differences among them. The federal government plays a very small role: it decides directly the age for mandatory schooling and indirectly the financing of the communities.

A magister degree is an academic degree used in various systems of higher education.

The Bologna process for standardisation of European higher education specified an undergraduate degree of at least three years called the "licence" or bachelor's degree, followed by a two-year diploma called the master's degree, then a doctorate, meant to be obtained in at least three years. Because of these indicated schedules, the reform is sometimes (erroneously) referred to as "3-5-8". The system applies to the European Higher Education Area.

Doctor of Philosophy Postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities in many countries

A Doctor of Philosophy is the highest university degree that is conferred after a course of study by universities in most countries. PhDs are awarded for programs across the whole breadth of academic fields. Because it is an earned research degree, those studying for a PhD are usually required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge, normally in the form of a thesis or dissertation, and defend their work against experts in the field. The completion of a PhD is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields. Individuals who have earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree may, in many jurisdictions, use the title Doctor with their name, although the proper etiquette associated with this usage may also be subject to the professional ethics of their own scholarly field, culture, or society. Those who teach at universities or work in academic, educational, or research fields are usually addressed by this title "professionally and socially in a salutation or conversation." Alternatively, holders may use post-nominal letters such as "Ph.D.", "PhD", or "DPhil". It is, however, considered incorrect to use both the title and post-nominals at the same time.


  1. University of California Academic Initiatives "Master of Advanced Study" Archived 1999-02-22 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Example of Research Master of Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2012-02-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  8. Example of Master of Advanced Studies degree in the United States: List of Master of Advanced Studies offered at the University of California San Diego Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Hayward, Brad. "UC to offer 'Master of Advanced Study' degree", The University of California, Santa Cruz Currents, July 27, 1998.
  10. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-09-20. Retrieved 2010-01-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11., Etudiant. "Qu'est-ce qu'un DEA, un DESS ou un DOCTORAT ??" . Retrieved July 20, 2012.
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  17. "UNIL enseignement - Advanced programmes". Archived from the original on March 29, 2010.
  18. In Switzerland there are three levels of continuing education qualifications: the Certificate of Advanced Studies, the Diploma of Advanced studies and the Master of Advanced Studies. The Master of Advanced Studies is the highest of these qualifications.Swissuniversity - Master of Advanced Studies
  19. "Recognition of the diploma - College of Europe". Retrieved 19 April 2018.