Master's Degrees
Difference between Master of Arts and Master of Science

Master's Degrees: Difference between Master of Arts and Master of Science

A master's degree is an advanced academic degree. You deepen your knowledge in a specific subject area and usually develop specialized skills and expertise as well. In most cases, a master's degree takes about one to two years to complete. Just which master's degree should you choose? What is the difference between Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees? And what other master's degrees are there?

Master's Degrees in Germany

In Germany, there is a wide range of master's degrees in different disciplines and with different prerequisites.

The most common Master's Degrees

Some of the most common master's degrees in Germany are:

Master of Arts (M.A.)

The M.A. is widely used in humanities and social sciences, including subjects such as history, sociology, linguistics, literary studies, and cultural studies.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

The MBA is a postgraduate degree in business administration and is often sought by working professionals to enhance their career opportunities in management.

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)

This degree specializes in technical courses and focuses on applied engineering sciences and technologies.

Consecutive and Non-Consecutive Master's Programs

There is also a difference between consecutive and non-consecutive master's degrees. A consecutive master's degree builds directly on an already completed bachelor's degree that is related in content. This means that in a consecutive master's program, you will dive deeper into the same subject area that you already studied in your bachelor's degree. An example of this would be a bachelor's degree in psychology followed by a consecutive master's degree in clinical psychology. A non-consecutive master's degree, on the other hand, allows you to study in a different field that is not necessarily related to your previous bachelor's degree. This gives you the flexibility to enter new fields. For example, after earning a bachelor's degree in biology, you could study a non-consecutive master's degree in marketing.

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Difference Master of Arts and Master of Science

The Master of Arts and Master of Science programs are the two most common in Germany. The main difference between a Master of Arts (M.A.) and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) is the field of study: M.A. focuses on humanities and social sciences with more qualitative approaches, while M.Sc. covers natural science or technical subjects with a stronger focus on quantitative and scientific methods. In the following, both degrees are presented in more detail and the differences are explained:

Master of Science (B.Sc.):

A Master of Science (M.Sc.) is an academic degree awarded primarily in the natural sciences and engineering disciplines, and emphasizes quantitative, empirical, and scientific methods to deepen specialized knowledge.

What is a Master of Science?

A Master of Science (M.Sc.) offers students the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and skills in their chosen fields in the natural sciences and technical disciplines. The focus of an M.Sc. program is on empirical research, quantitative methods, and the application of scientific principles.

During an M.Sc. program, students engage in intensive study of scientific topics such as mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, and many others. They learn to analyze complex problems, conduct experimental investigations, and generate scientific knowledge. This degree enables students to gain expert knowledge in their field and develop new research.

A characteristic feature of an M.Sc. degree program is the master's thesis, in which students work independently on a scientific research question and present their findings in writing. This process fosters the development of critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate scientifically.

M.Sc. degrees are in demand in a variety of industries, including research and development, technology, health care, environmental science, business, and education. They offer a wide range of career opportunities and often serve as a foundation for advanced study, including doctorates.

An M.Sc. is a valuable qualification for anyone who wants to work in the science and technology fields and is looking for a strong scientific foundation.

Master of Science Abbreviation

The abbreviation M.Sc. for Master of Science originates from the Latin term Magister Scientiae and is a historical designation dating back to the development of the academic graduate system. The term Magister Scientiae means Master of Science and was traditionally used to denote the highest academic qualification in the natural and applied sciences.

Over time, the abbreviation M.Sc. has been adopted worldwide to symbolize the successful completion of a master's degree in the natural sciences, engineering, and related disciplines.

Today, M.Sc. is an internationally recognized designation for degrees in the natural sciences and engineering subjects and symbolizes in-depth knowledge and the ability to conduct scientific research and application.

Overview of the most
important differences?

Aspect Master of Arts (M.A.) Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Fields of Study Humanities and Social Sciences Natural Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science, Health Sciences
Focus Theory, Qualitative Research Empirical, Quantitative Methods
Research Approach Theoretical and Analytical Empirical and Scientific
Professional Fields Education, Cultural Management, Communication, Teaching, Journalism, etc. Research, technology, healthcare, engineering, mathematics, data science, IT, etc.
Thesis Master's thesis or scientific research  
Career Options Teacher, cultural manager, journalist, researcher, lecturer, social worker, etc. Scientist, engineer, IT specialist, data analyst, research and development, etc.
Emphasis on theory vs. practice Strongly based on theoretical research and discussion Emphasizes practical application of science and technology
Quantitative skills Less emphasis on quantity, more on qualitative approaches Strong emphasis on quantitative skills and statistical analysis

Master of Arts vs Master of Science: Which program should you choose?

Choosing between a Master of Arts (M.A.) and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) depends on your individual interests, career goals, and academic background. Here are some things you should consider:

  1. Area of expertise and interests: Consider what area you are passionate about and where your strengths and interests lie. M.A. programs are typically in the humanities and social sciences, while M.Sc. programs cover scientific and technical disciplines. In addition, it often makes sense to add an appropriate master's degree to your bachelor's degree if the field continues to interest you.
  2. Career goals: Think about what your career goals are. An M.A. may be useful for careers in education, arts management, media, and communications, while an M.Sc. may open doors for you in technical or scientific fields.
  3. Research vs. Practice: Consider whether you'd rather work in research or in the practical application of your knowledge. M.Sc. programs often emphasize more scientific research and quantitative methods, while M.A. programs can be more theoretical.
  4. University and Program: Investigate the specific programs offered by different universities. They may vary in their emphasis and requirements. Make sure the program you choose matches your goals and interests. You can choose by interest in the program and then automatically find out if it will be an M.A. or an M.Sc. program.

In terms of future prospects, much depends on your individual career path and the programs you choose. Both degrees can open up a variety of career paths. An M.A. can lead to careers in teaching, research, arts management, journalism and more, while an M.Sc. offers opportunities in fields such as research and development, technology, healthcare and engineering.

Ultimately, choosing between an M.A. and M.Sc. is a personal decision. It's important to choose a program that fits your passions and goals, as this is critical to being successful and fulfilled in your chosen major and career field. Also, consult with faculty and career advisors to make an informed decision.


All Master's Degrees at Munich Business School, except the MBA, are Master of Arts Degrees.

Other Master's Degrees Explained

There are many other master's degrees besides the Master of Arts and the Master of Science. We have already presented some of them above. In addition to the Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, however, we would like to explain a few of the most common ones in more detail below:

Master of Laws (L.L.M.)

A Master of Laws (LL.M.) is a postgraduate academic degree in the field of law. It provides the opportunity to deepen legal knowledge, specialize in various areas of law, and develop professional skills. This degree is particularly useful for lawyers who wish to specialize in specific areas of law or study international law.

After completing a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, a variety of career options are available, depending on specialization and interests. Some career areas that are typical for graduates of an LL.M. are lawyer*, judge*, just in business or public service, management consulting and compliance, etc. This degree opens a wide range of career paths in law and beyond.

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

A Master of Education (M.Ed.) is an advanced academic degree that focuses on education and pedagogy. It is designed to further educate and specialize teachers and professionals in the field of education. This degree allows graduates to deepen their teaching skills and work in a variety of educational settings.

Possible career options after an M.Ed. include teacher*, principal*, educational consultant*, educational policy analyst*, curriculum developer*, educational researcher*, and university lecturer*, etc.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an advanced academic degree in the field of business administration. This program focuses on management skills, business strategy, and leadership competencies and is designed for professionals who want to advance their careers in the field of management. To do so, a certain amount of work experience is required. An MBA offers the opportunity to deepen business knowledge and develop leadership skills.

Career opportunities after an MBA are varied and often depend on your interests and specializations during your studies. The following industries open up for alumni of this degree program: business management, consulting, marketing and sales, international business, etc. This degree opens doors for challenging and well-paid positions in various industries, and is therefore in high demand among professionals around the world.

The Munich Business School MBA is focused on International Business and therefore also offers career opportunities around the world.

Some of the lesser known Master's Degrees

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) Health Sciences, Epidemiology
Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) Public Administration, Non-Profit Management
Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) Social Work, Social Sciences
Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.) Informatics, Software Development
Master of Health Administration (MHA) Health Care Management, Health Policy
Master of International Relations (MIR) International Relations, Political Science

Master's programs at MBS briefly presented

The master's programs at Munich Business School offer high-quality education with a focus on internationality and practical relevance. Students benefit from individual focus, interactive teaching methods and a close connection to the business world. The opportunity to build a global network and live in the attractive city of Munich round out the benefits. These programs prepare students for successful careers in various business areas. Munich Business School offers a selection of top-notch master's programs to take your education to the next level:

Master International Business

This degree program not only deepens your business knowledge, but also gives you the opportunity to further your education in various focus areas. These include Innovation and Digital Business, Sustainable Business, International Marketing, Luxury Management, Corporate Finance Global Family Business and Wealth Management and International Entrepreneurship.

Master Innovation and Entrepreneurship

If you dream of creating your own start-up or already have a promising idea, this master's offers the perfect foundation to develop your entrepreneurial skills. You will acquire advanced business skills and learn to manage, identify and implement innovations in order to operate successfully in an international environment.

Master International Marketing and Brand Management

This program provides you with expertise in behavioral psychology, innovation, consumer behavior and brand communication. You will also gain tools and skills to analyze market structures and competitive environments.

Master Sports Business and Communication

If you love sports and at the same time have an interest in the background of the sports sector, this master's offers the perfect combination. The course content includes sports communication and media, sports sponsorship and marketing, licensing and rights exploitation, as well as digital sports management and sports event management. After graduation, you can work as a specialist in companies in the sports industry, sports clubs and associations.

Master International Business | Finance

This degree program focuses on the world of business and finance. Strategic management and finance are the focus. Upon completion of the program, you will have extensive knowledge in financial management, financial statement analysis, mergers and acquisitions, risk management, capital markets and much more.

Internationality at Munich Business School

At Munich Business School, the concept of internationality is not only taught theoretically, but also actively practiced. Therefore, a stay abroad is an integral part of our study programs. MBS maintains partnership relations with more than 60 universities worldwide and is constantly expanding its international network. This cooperation ranges from common programs such as ERASMUS+ and exchange programs, to more than 20 dual-degree agreements with cooperating universities in Europe, Australia, Asia and the USA.

International Focus
International Focus

Although global economic principles can in general be applied everywhere, international markets are strongly influenced by political, cultural and historical characteristics.

By choosing one international focus per semester, you explicitly dedicate your Master International Business to the study of different markets and methods as well as special economic areas whose development influences the global economy.

Semester Abroad
Semester Abroad

You will spend the third semester abroad at one of our numerous international partner universities.

Students of the Master International Business gain comprehensive international experience by spending a semester at one of MBS' numerous international partner universities. Alternatively, students can spend two semesters at selected universities and complete their studies with a dual degree.

International Atmosphere
International Atmosphere

Around half of MBS students come from abroad, which gives our lectures and seminars a certain international flair.

Engaging and exchanging ideas with international students will give you a detailed understanding of different cultures and offer you the opportunity to explore approaches and mindsets from other cultures – an experience that will expand your own horizons. Joint activities outside the classroom will help you develop a wide network of international contacts and friendships.

Dual Degree

With the dual degree option, you acquire an additional, specialized Master's degree from one of our partner universities.Munich Business School's cooperation with renowned international universities gives you the opportunity to acquire two different master's degrees within two years. The dual degree is only available in the fall start. For a dual degree, you will normally spend two semesters at MBS and then two semesters at the partner university, followed by the Master's thesis.


Which is better Master of Arts or Master of Science?

There is no general answer as to whether a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of Science (M.Sc.) is better, as it depends on your individual interests and career goals. They are equivalent and only indicate the area in which the master's degree was earned. The M.A. is typically in the humanities and social sciences, while the M.Sc. is common in the natural sciences and technical fields. Your choice should be based on which field and degree better fit your personal and professional interests.

How many Master's Degrees are there in Germany?

There are a large number of Master's degrees in Germany, but there is no exact number as it is continuously growing and varies from university to university. The variety ranges from Master of Science (M.Sc.) and Master of Arts (M.A.), which are the two most common degrees, to specialized degrees like Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Laws (LL.M.). You can find more info above or here.

What is the difference between Master of Arts and Master of Science?

The main difference between a Master of Arts (M.A.) and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) is the subject area. An M.A. usually focuses on humanities and social sciences and often includes more qualitative and theoretical aspects, while an M.Sc. typically covers natural science or technical fields and is more focused on quantitative and scientific methods. See the text above for more info on the topic.

What is Master of Science Business Administration?

A Master of Science in Business Administration (M.Sc. BA) is an academic degree that focuses on the in-depth study of business topics with an emphasis on scientific and analytical methods. This master's program provides in-depth apprenticeship in various areas of management and business administration to prepare graduates for leadership positions in the business world.

At MBS you can study the Master of Art International Business, which is a very similar program but focuses more on the International Market and the human side of business.

What does Master mean in German?

Master means Meister or Magister in German. However, in Germany the word Master, and not the German translation, is used as an academic degree for certain degrees, such as the Master of Science (M.Sc.) or Master of Arts (M.A.).

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More exciting Study Programs in Munich

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Studienberater MBS: Uttamdeep Kaur, B.A.
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