For many people, a master’s or other graduate degree is a natural extension of their undergraduate studies — it may even be required to get a job in their field. But what graduate degree do you get if your bachelor’s and current interests don’t align? Can you go to grad school for a different major? Can you get a master’s in anything you want?
When you choose your undergraduate major, it may have felt like you were deciding what to do with the rest of your life. And to some extent you were — but the path you made as an undergraduate student isn’t paved in stone! It’s normal for your interests and passions to change as you go through life, and with that often comes a career or industry change. That doesn’t mean your bachelor’s degree was wasted or that you need to go back for another undergraduate degree.
The truth is, you can pursue a master’s degree in anything as long as you’ve met the admissions requirements (including any prerequisite degrees or coursework).
In fact, many graduate schools offer flexibility to help students from different educational backgrounds enroll in their program of interest.
Below, we curated a list of graduate degrees that are perfect for people like you who want to change their career or field of study. Each of these degrees is easily complemented by a variety of undergraduate degrees, and none require extensive previous study in the subject.
Ready to find your new field? Here are some programs we suggest you consider if you’re interested in getting a master’s in a different field than your bachelor’s degree.
1. Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Trying to climb the corporate ladder? A Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is the most widely recognized graduate degree for managerial positions or above. MBA programs generally care more about your ambition, skills and professional goals than your undergraduate major, so don’t sweat it if you don’t have any business school experience.
Consider an MBA if you:
- work or plan to work in a business-related field, in management or want to start a business,
- want to master business fundamentals, management and technical skills,
- want to gain a deeper knowledge of a specific business discipline (like accounting, digital marketing or business analytics).
What can you do with an MBA?
The skills and knowledge you gain in an MBA program can prepare you for leadership positions in almost any industry. It’s a popular stepping stone to higher-level and higher-paying positions and often a requirement to get into the c-suite. Because the MBA is so universal, graduates can take many different career paths. You can find MBA grads in many areas of a company, including:
- Business Development
- Data Analytics
- Executive Offices
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Research and Development
Why earn your MBA at SHU?
SHU was ranked by the Princeton Review as a Best Business School in 2022, and we take a unique approach to the MBA. Our curriculum focuses on both the managerial and technical aspects of the business so you’re effectively prepared for the 21st-century career landscape.
Home to SHU’s MBA, the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology is accredited by AACSB International. This exclusive accreditation signifies the quality and merit of the College's Business curriculum.
2. Master of Public Health (MPH)
If you’ve always wanted to help make the world a better place, a Master of Public Health (MPH) might be right up your alley. From protecting the water we drink to tracking disease outbreaks to educating communities about proper nutrition, public health works to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities.
Consider an MPH if you:
- are interested in a career in government, healthcare or social services,
- want to promote a healthy environment locally and globally,
- want to reduce disparity and improve the quality of life for the marginalized in our society.
What can you do with an MPH?
MPH grads can work in a wide range of environments, from hospitals to consulting firms and everything in between. Every company, organization and community has different needs, creating myriad paths. Here are some potential careers you might pursue with an MPH:
- Public Health Educator
- Healthcare Administrator
- Public Health Policy Analyst
- Environmental Health Engineer
Why earn your MPH at SHU?
Our 42-credit-hour MPH program is fueled by our Catholic values of inclusion and social justice. Here you’ll have the opportunity to learn alongside experienced public health practitioners and researchers in a variety of settings and hands-on learning opportunities.
A variety of flexible options are available so you can earn your degree in a way that’s convenient for you, whether full-time or part-time, fully on campus or hybrid. The SHU MPH program is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
3. MA in Strategic Communications & Public Relations (SCPR)
Got a way with words? A master’s degree in strategic communications and public relations (SCPR) will prepare you to communicate ethically and effectively across media platforms. Whether it’s crafting the perfect Instagram caption or responding to a crisis, SCPR graduates know what it takes to solve some of the most pressing communication issues facing organizations today.
Consider an MA in SCPR if you:
- Work or want to work in marketing, public relations, organizational communications or a variety of other business functions,
- want to gain hands-on, tangible experience in everything from project management to research and writing,
- want to enhance your research, writing and presenting skills (to name a few).
What can you do with an MA in SCPR?
A master’s in SCPR opens the door to a host of career possibilities across many different industries. Equipped with in-demand skills that are applicable in every field, you’ll find communications jobs in virtually every industry, including:
- Public Relations
- Human Resources
Why earn your MA in SCPR at SHU?
With the guidance of award-winning scholars and media professionals, SHU SCPR students build the advanced skills and authority needed for career advancement. Pair theory and practice in a master’s program that provides essential communication knowledge and exciting, hands-on experience.
4. Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Public administration is an incredibly broad discipline that covers a wide range of responsibilities and functions. Considered the MBA for individuals in the public sector, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional graduate degree that will prepare you for leadership in local, state and federal government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofits.
Consider an MPA if you:
- are interested in a career as a public servant,
- want to help implement strategies, troubleshoot problems, and effect positive change,
- are motivated by the intangible value of bettering society more than financial gain.
What can you do with an MPA?
From developing and implementing public policy to managing and strategizing for non-profit organizations, public administrators work on high-level projects that impact the day-to-day lives of the people in the communities they serve. Because the field is so vast and varied, there is a wide range of job opportunities. With an MPA, you’ll be prepared for a career in the fields of:
- Federal, state, and local government
- Social and community services
- Private industry
- Public safety
Why earn your MPA at SHU?
Sacred Heart University is proud to offer a fully-online Master of Public Administration uniquely focused on serving, strengthening, and uplifting our surrounding communities by empowering administrators with the leadership skills they need to serve and make a difference. Coursework is tailored to students' interests based on concentration area — criminal justice, emergency management, non-profit management or a self-designed concentration.
In partnership with SHU’s Jack Welch College of Business & Technology, MPA students have access to the Center for Nonprofit Organizations. Through this partnership, graduate students interested in managing and leading non-profits have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to address challenges faced by nearby nonprofits in the community.
5. MS in Business Analytics
Business analysts use data to draw meaningful conclusions, solve problems and predict solutions. Though there’s no specific degree required for business analysts, a master’s degree in business analytics can help you learn the skills and programming languages you’ll need to succeed.
Consider an MS in Business Analytics if you:
- want to focus on finding trends in data and developing ways to leverage that information for growth,
- want to learn coding languages, like python, and strengthen your skills in math and statistics, data mining and visualization,
- are interested in studying probability theory, statistical analysis, numerical methods and computation and simulation methods.
What can you do with an MS in Business Analytics?
According to a 2020 NewVantage Partners report, 64.8% of Fortune 1000 companies surveyed have invested at least $50 million into their business analytics efforts. What does that mean for graduates with an MS in Business Analytics? Job opportunities abound. Here are some roles you might have:
- Analytics Manager
- Data Analyst
- Data Scientist
- Functional Analysts
Why earn your MS in Business Analytics at SHU?
Students in SHU’s MS in Business Analytics program learn the iterative, methodical process of exploring an organization’s data, with an emphasis on statistical analysis. With cutting-edge training in data management and a curriculum grounded in rigorous analytics and applied techniques, you’ll graduate prepared for a wide range of careers.
6. MS in Digital Marketing
Digital marketing and advertising are key growth drivers for companies big and small. An MS in Digital Marketing program will help you learn how to make data-driven marketing decisions, create targeted content, and develop new and advanced skills in analytics, strategy, and research.
Consider an MS in Digital Marketing if you:
- want to break into the marketing field or want to advance to the senior level,
- want to finesse your knowledge of branding, data analysis, consumer behavior, lead generation and more on digital platforms
- are interested in becoming a better, more strategic marketer.
What can you do with an MS in Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing careers can vary a lot between organizations, and it’s not uncommon for marketing professionals with vastly different job titles to perform the same functions within different agencies or departments. Here are some job titles you might have:
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Social Media Manager
- Seo Specialist/Strategist
- Content Manager/Strategist
- Ux Designer/Strategist
Why earn your MS in Digital Marketing at SHU?
In the MS in Digital Marketing program at SHU, you’ll learn the latest in digital marketing techniques and learn to apply them through high-profile, hands-on projects for real companies. You’ll benefit from a flexible schedule with multiple start dates throughout the year, and you can complete your degree in as little as 15 months.
7. MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Industrial/Organization (I/O) Psychology is the study of human behavior in the workplace with the goal of implementing meaningful measures to improve professional satisfaction, increase productivity and promote an overall better quality of life for all individuals in the workplace.
Consider an MS in I/O Psychology if you:
- Want to help companies keep their employees happier and healthier,
- Want to use psychological principles to help organizations increase efficiency and employee satisfaction,
- Are interested in a career in academia, the federal government, consulting or private organizations.
What can you do with an MS in I/O Psychology?
It’s not unusual to find I/O psychologists in human resources departments, but their skills can go far beyond HR. As with most fields, job titles and responsibilities vary throughout organizations. The three major careers in I/O psychology are:
- Talent management specialist
- Organizational development consultant
- Training and development specialist
Why earn your MS in I/O Psychology at SHU?
Our unique cohort model makes it possible for you to complete the full master’s degree in one calendar year. You’ll graduate prepared to apply your advanced knowledge to a career in business, research, academics and more.
8. MS in Strategic Human Resource Management (MSSHRM)
Strategic professionals in HR are focused on the goals of an organization and how they can contribute to overall business goals through data-driven decision-making. Companies want to foster healthy, people-centered work environments for a motivated staff — an MS in Strategic Human Resource Management (MSSHRM) gives you the expertise to do it.
Consider an MSSHRM if you:
- want to use metrics and finance to develop critical thinking and creatively tackle diverse challenges,
- want to manage the flow of a workforce and ensure that recruitment, retention and training align with major objectives,
- are interested in examining and understanding the needs of global organizations.
What can you do with an MSSHRM?
A master’s degree in SHRM doesn’t just add to your skillset — it will set you apart from other job candidates as a dedicated, experienced, and valuable addition to any team. A master’s degree can help you get the job you want or advance to a leadership position. Here are some common careers in HR management:
- Human Resources Manager
- Human Capital Strategic Consultant
- Senior Human Resource Staffing Specialist
- Talent Resource Acquisition Manager
Why earn your MSSHRM at SHU?
With an excellent track record of post-graduation job placement, the Master of Science in Strategic Human Resource Management degree at SHU stands out among other HR grad programs as a leading option for students who desire a degree that offers them a tangible and immediate ROI.
9. Master of Social Work (MSW)
While some social workers do enter the field through a bachelor’s degree in social work, most Master of Social Work (MSW) programs accept applicants with undergraduate degrees in a wide variety of fields. The MSW will help you develop the skills necessary to engage, assess, intervene and evaluate practice in work with individuals, families, groups and communities.
Consider an MSW if you:
- Already work in social work and want to specialize in a certain field, or want to join the helping profession of social work,
- Want to effect meaningful and productive social change in communities by collaborating with marginalized populations,
- Want a career with job security — there will always be communities in need of resources and advocates.
What can you do with an MSW?
Graduates with an MSW are prepared to work in a wide range of licensed career positions within the field of social work and work in a variety of settings. Where you work and who you work with can vary widely in such a diverse field. Here are some potential career paths you might pursue with an MSW:
- Mental health social worker
- School social worker
- Military social worker
- Medical social worker
- Geriatric social worker
Why earn your MSW at SHU?
At SHU, you’ll be prepared for leadership roles in generalist and specialized practice. Students explore human behavior in the social environment, social work generalist practice, social welfare policy, social work research, human diversity and social justice through direct clinical or direct community practice.
Field education is the signature pedagogy of social work education and a central component of the MSW program at Sacred Heart. Here, you’ll hone your practice skills and learn to work in a specialized area through supervised field practicum.
The School of Social Work at SHU also offers an online Ph.D. in Social Work program.
10. MS in Computer Science & Information Technology (MSCSIT)
Technology is constantly and quickly changing, driving the need for experts with advanced skills related to IT, computer science and cybersecurity. While you can get some entry-level computer science and information technology positions with just a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree is the key to increased job opportunities and earnings.
Consider an MSCSIT if you:
- Want to learn to use the latest software and technology, including machine learning, deep learning, data communications, network security, Java, C++, Python, “R” and more.
- Want a degree that will give you a quick return on your investment,
- Aspire to work at a big tech company like Google or Meta and want a competitive edge over other candidates.
What can you do with an MSCSIT?
Career options available to professionals working in IT and computer science are nearly endless. Within STEM jobs, computer science and information technology jobs hold the top seven positions for the highest number of employees. Here are some of the jobs you might have:
- Cloud Architect
- Computer and Information Systems Managers
- Database Administrator
- Mobile Application Developer
- Software Engineer
- Computer Programmer
- Software Applications Developer
Why earn your MSCSIT at SHU?
Computer science and information technology courses at Sacred Heart offer you the latest in computer systems, classrooms, laboratories, and multimedia equipment, and access to highly-sought internships with our many corporate connections.
Discover New Opportunities and New Fields at SHU
Despite what you may have heard from your high school guidance counselor, your undergraduate education doesn’t have to define the rest of your life. If you’ve been looking for a new field of study as a way to launch a new career, improve your chance of promotion or just expand your knowledge, you aren’t limited to what you started with your bachelor’s degree.
If you’re ready to explore your graduate degree options, look no further. Download the Ultimate Guide to Graduate Programs at Sacred Heart University to get information about one (or all) or SHU’s graduate programs.