I have acquired a 4 year BA degree in one of the social sciences. At the moment, I'm considering applying for MSc outside of my country (I'm Non-EU citizen and I will apply for MSc studies in EU country).

The University where I want to apply has 3-year BA programmes and 2-year MA/MSc programmes. However, in my country I finished a 4 year BA programme with a total of 240 credits and MA studies are usually with a duration of 1 year. I really don't want to study 2 full years for something that I believe I could finish in a considerably shorter time (one year). Also, I already have the necessery credits for the first year of the MSc programme.

I would like to know how is this handled? Does the number of the acquired credits I have matters, or is the official length of the MSc programme that counts?

  • Specific answers to the question of "what work is required" will vary by university and they are the only ones who can answer that question, especially if you have questions about transferring credits into the program, and especially if you're transferring credits internationally. Two years is pretty standard for an MS degree in the US.
    – David
    Jul 11 '17 at 20:23

This is not a universal truth, but my experience in researching Master's Programs is that the main difference between a 1year and 2 year Master's program is the research component.

1 year programs tend to be primarily course based, with a shorter project, if any. Very seldom will there be a 2 year program consisting entirely of classes. Instead, there is usually a thesis, project, essay, etc. that can last around a year.

No matter how skilled you are, research takes time. So a 1 year Master's program will necessary mean a more shallow project, whereas a two year program alloes for more depth, and is more likely to result in publishable research.

So when choosing a program, ask yourself what you're trying to get out of it. If your main interest is classes, 1 year is fine. If you want to be a researcher or tackle an ambitious project, 2 year will probably be better.


This sounds like it is probably an institution by institution policy. I know that here in the UK a masters programme lasts one year but that in Germany, they last two- furthermore, I've been told that a 2 year Masters programme garners greater respect than the single year option. This may be because there is a stronger taught element or because you're in the lab for longer gaining more skills.

E-mail the institution you are interested in and ask but I've been at it for 8.5 years so 4 seems like a dream.

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