Is it possible to obtain a Master's or Doctorate degree in a field that is completely different than your Bachelors degree?  ?

For an example, let's say someone gets their Bachelors in English (or something in the arts or humanities), and would like to change their path of education to a field in science, such as biology. Is it possible to switch from English to a masters or doctorate in science/biology? 

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  • 2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    It's possible - but not very likely.

    [I'm not talking about professional Master's degrees, like Library Science or Social Work, that accept applicants from all majors, but about academic postgraduate degrees.]

    Graduate school does not teach "the basics" of a subject. While most graduate programs will let you make up a couple of missed prerequisites by taking an undergraduate class or two during your first year of study, you will need at the very least a minor's worth of classes in the subject (introductory, intermediate and advanced classes).

    Even if you have that, though, and you qualify for admissions, you'll be competing, particularly in science fields, with applicants with much more knowledge in the subject. They've majored in biology, and likely have done research at the undergraduate level. 

    Graduate students have a lot of research and/or teaching duties to perform. They're expected to teach and supervise undergraduates. Why would the university select someone as a graduate student who has taken fewer advanced classes, and has less research experience, than the undergraduate students they're meant to supervise? 

  • fcas80
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    This happens all the time, but expect to have to catch up with prerequisites that other students already have.  A student going for a masters in bio probably has a bio undergrad degree.

  • 2 months ago

    Not really.   English is an ARTS type degree whereas biology is a SCIENCE type degree.   You would not have the skills earning an ARTS degree to handle a masters or doctorate level science program.  

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Yes.  As long as you have the prerequisites, the school doesn't care.  I have a BA in Communication with a minor in Humanities.  I went back to school later and took a year of prerequisites (logic, programming, algebra and calculus) and got my MS in Information Science.  

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  • MS
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Yes, it's possible.  But you have to make sure you have the necessary prerequisites to apply to the graduate program, and you have to recognize that you'll be competing against other applicants who might have more relevant experience than you.  So if it's something that you are thinking of doing, then it's best to plan ahead and make sure you take the classes you need and get the experiences (research experience, in particular, if you are interested in a science field) that you will need to be a strong applicant.

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