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ERIC Number: EJ791622
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 137
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 191
ISSN: ISSN-1551-6970
Professionalizing Graduate Education: The Master's Degree in the Marketplace. ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 31, Number 4
Glazer-Raymo, Judith, Ed
ASHE Higher Education Report, v31 n4 p1-137 2005
By 2001, 15.9 million students were enrolled in 4,074 American colleges and universities; 2.2 million were enrolled in graduate and first-professional programs, more than half of them--1.4 million--at the master's level. Graduate enrollments rose about 38% between 1985 and 2001; first-professional enrollments increased 13% between 1990 and 2001 (Snyder, Tan, and Hoffman, 2004). More than 1.8 million degrees were awarded in 2001, 482,118 of them at the master's level and 308,647 at the first-professional level. Three times as many institutions award master's degrees (1,508) as doctorates (548). The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projects that in 2013, 556,000 master's degrees will be awarded (Gerald and Hussar, 2003). This study provides analyses of the meaning of these numbers in terms of the multiplicity of clienteles enrolling in traditional and innovative master's programs, the factors that have historically motivated their participation, and current and future trajectories for the growth and diversity of master's education. Theoretical studies of the restructuring of disciplinary knowledge and the extent of its professionalization provide a conceptual vocabulary for understanding the complex factors and manifold mechanisms that contribute to its development in the professions and in the liberal arts and science. This study provides some historical background about the master's degree and looks at some of the trends in master's education. Throughout, this study takes the position that the master's degree has become a pivotal force in the economic growth of the university. Operating at the interstices of academic degrees, it contributes to the discourse of interdisciplinary innovation and organizational change. Its compatibility with emergent institutional forms and its short-term nature enhance its potential for development by master's and doctoral-granting institutions, whether they are public, private, or for-profit, operating in traditional or nontraditional modes of teaching and learning. The core of this report describes five fields that exemplify fully professionalized programs (accounting, business, education, engineering, and public administration). A separate chapter is devoted to the natural sciences (bioscience, geoscience, chemistry, and physics) where the master's degree plays a more prominent role, and another discussion reviews mixed trends in the humanities and social sciences where professionalization has assumed multiple meanings in some disciplines and, in the same institutions, interdisciplinary degrees are promoted as "nonprofessional." Interdisciplinary fields focus on the early examples of American Studies and liberal studies, now being reconceptualized to encompass disparate fields, and the emerging but vibrant field of women's studies. The last two chapters look at some of the trends in master's education and summarize the findings of this study. This report also discusses the four mechanisms that will continue to propel the professionalized trajectory of master's education: (1) relation to technological advances; (2) global initiatives; (3) quality control and accountability; and (4) the convergence of academic and professional fields across disciplinary, departmental, and institutional boundaries. (Contains 3 tables, 1 figure, and 9 notes.)
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A