Getting a masters degree without bachelors is definitely possible, which may sound strange to you, although it is pretty rare and many universities expect you to get a bachelor’s degree first.
The popular requirement to apply for a master’s degree program at any higher institution is that applicants must have completed and earned a bachelor’s degree. This is a common prerequisite in many universities. Students who want to enroll in a masters degree without bachelors must fulfill it by going for a bachelor’s program if they haven’t already.
However, very few people know that certain schools offer certain programs that allow you to obtain a master’s first without the traditional prerequisite of having a bachelor’s. If you are part of the large populace that believes it is not possible or never even knew it existed, this blog post will clear your doubt and provide you clarity.
Instead of making use of your bachelor’s degree to consider you for master’s study, these schools will instead take into account your work or professional experience and certain certificates and/or diploma you may have. With this, you can be considered to enroll in a masters degree without bachelors.
Note that there are very few universities and programs that accept students for masters degree without bachelors as many universities are still traditional and getting a bachelor’s first is mandatory. Without further ado, let me guide you into how you can get a masters degree without bachelors.
Steps to Get Masters Degree without Bachelors
Here is how you can get a masters degree without bachelors…
Step 1: Taking Advantage of Your Work Experience
Experiential learning is one of the most effective methods to learn, and several universities are recognizing this. There will be concepts covered in a master’s program that you may have encountered in your professional life. You may not be aware of them as educational theories.
However, having come from a place of experience and seeing those principles in reality, whether they succeed or fail, offers you a significant advantage. That expertise is easily comparable, if not superior, to that of someone who has completed a bachelor’s degree and is applying for a master’s degree immediately after graduation.
If you have work experience in the field, whether it is in business, sales, or as a computer programmer, those years can be useful in a university application. You can describe your experience in your application whether you were employed or self-employed.
Universities such as Southern Cross University will evaluate your background while considering applications, depending on the major. They will usually consider you for a postgraduate degree without an undergraduate degree if you have 5 years of experience in a relevant field or other qualifications (such as an associate’s degree or other certification).
They also consider your professional experience, which should be at least seven years, to see if you qualify for credit or “Advanced Standing” toward a postgraduate degree. The University of Essex is another university that will take into account your work experience rather than your undergraduate degree.
Students without a bachelor’s degree are accepted into their online MBA program if they can demonstrate at least 5 years of relevant managerial experience.
This is a proven step to study for a masters degree without bachelors and even though examples of some universities that utilize the method are already given here, you should be further research to see other universities that do the same thing.
Step 2: Professional Certificates/Other Forms of Education
There are a variety of reasons why a person may not have a bachelor’s degree. Maybe you couldn’t afford four years of schooling, or you started but couldn’t finish. Around 40% of students drop out of college, leaving a sizable minority with only a certificate or diploma. Dropping out of college is a normal occurrence that must be justified.
Students may feel compelled to work for the time being because they need money, or they may have started a family, or they simply got bored with their curriculum. Regardless of the reasons, failing to obtain a bachelor’s degree is by no means the end of the path. Other options for obtaining an education exist.
A professional certificate or credential from a community college is a popular choice among many people. An associate’s degree, which may usually be completed in 2 years, is another option. It is a short-cycle degree program designed for working students who want to advance their professions but can’t afford to take a year off to complete a bachelor’s degree.
Depending on your field of study, an associate’s degree can lead to either a bachelor’s or a master’s. If you have maintained your education by earning certificates, this can help you apply for master’s programs. When universities assess an applicant’s past without a bachelor’s degree in their transcript, they will look at post-secondary expertise and experience.
If you want to apply for a masters degree without bachelors this is another step or option you should consider going for and do your research on schools that will accept you with just these credentials.
Step 3: Using Your Degree in a New Field
Many students face the conundrum of having an undergraduate degree that is unrelated to the master’s program they want to pursue. This isn’t always the case, though. Many degrees accept an unrelated bachelor’s degree. The ability to get a graduate degree without having completed a relevant undergraduate degree can open several options for individuals.
Perhaps you have changed your mind about what you want to study or what career you want to pursue, or maybe you know you want to get an MBA but don’t want to study business for four years. Popular master’s programs that do not always require a relevant bachelor’s degree include MBA, Master’s in Counseling Psychology, Master’s in Human Resources, Master’s in Social Work, Master’s in Journalism, and Master’s in Nursing.
If any of these programs interest you, then you can study masters degree without bachelors.
Step 4: Getting a Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree
Another option you may want to consider to get a masters degree without bachelors is to get a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree at the same time, this is commonly known as the Integrated Master’s Program.
Like I mentioned earlier, one method to go about is to apply for a master’s program without a bachelor’s degree and rely on your personal and professional experience. A dual degree is also an option, which is a masters degree without bachelors, combining both degrees into one. In this case, students won’t need a bachelor’s degree in these programs to apply for the MBA or other master’s programs such as:
So, these are the 4 steps on how to get a masters degree without bachelors and they are options that work just fine. However, check in with your host institution if they offer it in the program of your choice.
Schools Offering Masters Degree without Bachelors
I have provided you with the steps on how to get a masters degree without bachelors and since it might prove difficult for you to see the schools that offer a masters degree without bachelors, I have proceeded to list these schools and the particular programs they offer without bachelors.
There are different names for master’s degree without bachelor’s used by graduate schools, they may use terms such as:
- Bachelor / Master Combined Programs
- Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees
- Integrated Bachelor / MBA
- BA / BS / MAT / 5th Year Master’s Degree
- Accelerated Degree Programs (E.g. 4+1, 3+1)
- Dual Bachelor’s / Master’s Degrees
So, these schools that offer masters degree without bachelors usually offer the bachelor/master combined programs, so you study a single longer program instead of taking them one by one. Upon completion, you earn a master’s degree and you don’t need a bachelor degree to apply.
The schools offering masters degree without bachelors are:
- South University
- Loyola University
- Penn State University
- American University
- Boston University
- California University of Pennsylvania
- Capella University
- Regis University
- Excelsior College
- Kent State University
- Stockton University
- Arizona State University
- The University of South Carolina
- Brenau University
- Central Michigan University Global Campus
At South University, you can study masters in Nursing without bachelors but you need to have an associate’s degree to pursue the degree but you don’t need a bachelor’s
The Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Applied Statistics in Loyola University is one of the masters degree without bachelors. The program takes 5 years to complete upon which you will earn a master’s degree without the provision of bachelor’s.
Penn State University
At Penn State University, you can earn an integrated Masters in Accounting (MAcc) program (Bachelor of Science in Accounting and MBA program) in just five years. It is the only masters degree without bachelors in the university that you can get into.
The American University offers a number of combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, which means you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to enroll in any of the programs and get a master’s degree upon completion. The programs are Anthropology, Art History, Biology, Statistics, Political Science, and Chemistry.
For the current students of Brandeis, the BA/MACH program is available. In order to select a customized course plan that covers 30 program areas, applicants should consult with their primary advisor. The school also allows students to undertake 5-year Bachelor’s/Master’s programs in biotechnology, computer science, mathematics, public health, chemistry, and economics.
California University of Pennsylvania
The California University of Pennsylvania joins in the league of schools that offer masters degree without bachelors through a total of three options for combined degrees. The programs are Arabic, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and Criminology.
Capella University was initially established as an online school in 1993 but now offers both online and on-campus modes of learning. When it comes to a masters degree without bachelors, the school has a number of programs. They are Cybersecurity, Psychology, Health Administration, Public Health, Human Resource Management, and Health Care Management.
Regis University offers many accelerated combined master’s programs that you do not need a bachelor’s degree to apply for. The programs are:
- Software Engineering
- Health Services Administration
- Organizational Leadership
- Environmental Biology
Excelsior College is an accredited college founded in 1971 that offers both online and in-person modes of learning. The college also offers a number of different options in dual degree programs, that is, masters degree without bachelors, the programs are:
- Nuclear Engineering
- Information Technology
Founded in 1969 and recognized as one of the schools that offer masters degree without bachelors, Stockton University offers a number of dual degree programs during which you will receive both a bachelor’s and master’s upon completion. Some of the programs are available via online or in-person teaching formats.
The programs are Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Physician’s Assistant, Environmental Science, and Pharmaceutical Engineering.
Kent State University
Kent State University offers a number of dual degree programs that are offered online or in the classroom, depending on the program. However, the program allows you to earn a masters degree without bachelors, the programs offered are:
- Business Administration
- Fashion Merchandising
- Speech Pathology
- Public Health
Arizona State University
Arizona State University offers a number of accelerated master’s degree programs that can be completed in 5 years and you get both the bachelor’s and master’s upon completion. You originally won’t need a bachelor’s to enroll in any of the programs. The programs offered are:
- Global Health
- Public Administration
- Computer Science
- Criminal Justice
The University of South Carolina
Want to earn a master’s degree in teaching without bachelors? Here is your chance. At the University of South Carolina, you can earn a BA or BS/MT in teaching.
Brenau University is one of the universities that offer masters degree without bachelors and is primarily known as a women’s university. You can earn an accelerated program for master’s and bachelor’s degree in the Interior Design program.
Central Michigan University Global Campus
At Central Michigan University Global Campus you can enroll for an online or on-campus accelerated masters degree without bachelors in the following programs:
- Community Development
- Integrated Leadership Studies
These are the list of schools that offer masters degree without bachelors and if you want to get an accelerated MBA without bachelors, you may want to refer to the schools below:
- Columbia State University
- Walden University
- Florida Tech
- Northcentral University
Masters without Bachelors UK
Unfortunately, there aren’t any schools in the UK that will admit you into their masters degree without bachelors. However, during the course of my research, a number of people claimed you can be admitted directly into a master’s degree program in the UK if you have relevant work or professional experience in the field you are applying for.
Although no schools were mentioned but have up to 5 years of experience in a particular field of interest, such as tourism, and would like to pursue a master’s degree in it without a bachelor’s degree, it can be possible. You simply need to talk to the admissions officer of your preferred UK school and present your case, it might work out, or you might not you need to try first to be sure.
If your preferred school rejects your proposal, you can always try other schools, there are over a hundred universities and colleges in the UK offering master’s degree programs in a wide variety of subjects and you just might get lucky.
Masters Degree without Bachelors Canada
Unfortunately, this is the same as above, no school in Canada will admit you into a masters degree without bachelors. To apply for a master’s in Canada, it is mandatory to have a total of 16 years of education, that is, 12 + 4 years of education. Failure to meet this criterion won’t get you into any master’s degree program.
Masters Degree without Bachelors Australia
In Australia, if you meet the requirements which include 7+ years of professional work experience, you can get admitted into any program to pursue a masters degree without bachelors.
The schools in Australia offering masters degree without bachelors are:
- The University of Queensland
- Kaplan Business School
This brings an end to the steps to get a masters degree without bachelors and schools that offer master’s without bachelors. Do further research and learn more about the requirements to apply for the programs.
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