Difference between MA, MBA and MSc

Difference between MA, MBA and MSc

The Difference between MA, MBA and MSc

Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter, with each country having separate systems run by different governments: the UK Government is in charge of England, while the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, and Northern Ireland governments are in charge of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, respectively.

Following twenty years of devolution, the four UK countries have begun to embrace more distinct approaches to education policy, according to a new report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI). Despite these distinctions in governance, one thing is universal, a university degree gives you the chance to make a difference in your community and improves your professional stability and happiness. Because more and more jobs require more knowledge, you may need a master’s degree to succeed in today’s business world. Getting a master’s degree may have a big, positive influence on your life. Also, it might give you a chance to do something important for both the world and your family.

Earning a degree is all about expanding one’s life options. It academically and socially prepares you for your profession and adult life. A master’s degree provides employment prospects such as higher earnings and more skilled positions, but studies have shown that it also contributes to general satisfaction and stability.

What master’s degree will help you progress in your career? To better comprehend the educational requirements of your chosen area, spend some time researching job descriptions and industry news. While furthering your education can have major economic benefits, each industry has its own set of employment needs, and there are frequent advantages to staying in the field while pursuing a master’s degree. Many businesses, for example, have tuition assistance programmes to help employees pay for postgraduate degrees.

Which master’s degree to pursue? Three degrees are generally available: MBA, MSc, and MA. But how are they different, and which one is best for you? The selections may differ slightly between nations. In the UK, MBA is the most popular option given by universities and the most prevalent in most other countries. Here are some specifics about MA, MBA and MSc and the difference between the three to help you decide which path to follow in your postgraduate degree education.

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration


After finishing a bachelor’s degree, most MBA programmes need a couple of years of professional job experience. People who get an MBA are usually professionals who want to learn more about business and improve. The studies are mostly focused on basic business, with certain optional courses designed to expand expertise in a specialised subject. Because most students aim to advance in their employment, their studies are frequently more practice-oriented rather than research-oriented. 

An MBA programme covers the fundamentals of business management, including Human Resource Management, Finance, Marketing, Operations Management, and Strategic Management.

The MBA evolved in tandem with technological advancements. Social media has introduced several hurdles to business, requiring organisations to follow both essential and societally enforced norms. As a result, modern MBA programmes increasingly include topics such as sustainability, corporate social responsibility, business ethics, and people management. This is a progression from scientific management, in which humans were frequently considered as labour units.

While the subjects described above represent a broad curriculum, many MBA programmes additionally include speciality tracks through optional modules. Specialised MBA programmes are ideal for individuals who are predisposed to or confident in a certain management role. The optional modules give additional background for that role.

Five different types of MBA programs include:

  • 1-Year Full-Time MBA Program
  • 2-Year Full-Time MBA Program
  • Executive MBA Program
  • Part-Time MBA Program
  • Online MBA Program

Some of the best MBA degrees include:

MSc stands for Master of Science

Person sitting at a desk on their laptop with earphones in and smiling

MSc programmes often do not require prior job experience, and the emphasis when applying for those is on past academic records or, in certain cases, ECTS scores. The main distinction between an MSc and an MBA is that an MSc allows you to concentrate in one area, such as accounting, finance, management, or marketing. Many other subjects of university study, such as chemistry or psychology, can also lead to an MSc degree.


The MSc now offers a wide range of courses, including those in the arts, business, and humanities. The predecessor to the MBA was really an MSc.

All MBA degrees address business fundamentals, while an MSc does not. A Master of Science provides a specialised set of abilities that may or may not contain business components, depending on the field. For example, an online master’s degree in data science or a master’s degree in psychology. Business-specific MScs, such as a Master’s in Finance, are exceptions.

Through the MSc programme, students can study a specific subject of interest in greater depth than they would in an undergraduate degree.

People often get an MSc within a year or two of getting their bachelor’s degree. As a result, the majority of students have minimal experience in their chosen field.

A Master of Science (MS, MSc) degree is typically granted in sciences such as:

Certain subjects, such as economics and social sciences, can be classified as both arts and sciences, with each university determining how to label its master’s degree programme. In such cases, the MS may have a higher research component and can carry more weight than an MA, particularly in business studies.

MA stands for Master of Arts

MA refers to a larger range of programmes that, like MSc, are not always business-related. On the other hand, some business institutions offer MA programmes with important topics such as management or innovation. MA programmes, like MSc programmes, often do not require prior job experience, and the studies are frequently research oriented.

The Master of Arts (MA) degree is a postgraduate-level degree focusing on subjects such as the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences. Along with the MBA, it is one of the most frequent master’s degrees students earn. Whether you take an MA degree to prepare for a specific job or as a step toward a more advanced degree, through it you may learn crucial abilities that will help you in the future.


With a Master of Arts degree, you can study things like English, creative writing, art history, political science, and more. Some of these topics can lead straight to jobs. An MA in communications can help you become a journalist or public relations professional, whereas an MA in history can help you become an archivist or history teacher. The following subjects are only a sample of what you can study through your MA:


  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics applied
  • Thinking critically and creatively
  • International affairs
  • Legal research
  • Literature
  • Political studies
  • Sociology
  • Teaching
  • Theology

Learning and duration

MBA and MA programmes are broader and centred on peer learning, emphasising building leadership and collaborative abilities. It is usual for group projects and classes to be highly engaging and to last late into the night. While electives allow for specialisation, there is a clear emphasis on providing a well-rounded education that covers everything from human resources to logistics, supply chain management, corporate social responsibility, and especially soft skills that pertain specifically to the significant challenges of managing human resources and strategy, taking the big picture into account.

There are two-year courses in MSc, MBA and MA, but most MBA courses require three years of study.


On the other hand, MSc would be entirely focused on assisting a student in acquiring the skill sets necessary to excel in a certain functional capacity. The emphasis is slightly more intellectual and theoretical in order to develop these, with a textbook and professor-led approach. As a result, it is more textbook-oriented.


Career prospects and further education

Your future intentions cannot be utilised to differentiate between an MBA and an MSc because the sectors that these two groups of graduates pursue are virtually the same. If you want to be an expert in one functional area, you may seek an MSc, but the conventional laws of career growth would eventually see you emerge in a broad managerial job. Furthermore, many organisations that operate in the target industries for MSc graduates provide on-the-job training.


Library books on a table

MBA appears to be a better choice for those who have acquired management abilities and want to hone them, or who have a flair for business and want to move into a non-technical career. People who want to change careers but already have a technical background may choose an MSc. However, this means that they will enter the business and management fields at a lower level and may miss out on the benefits of learning from their peers later in their careers.


A Master of Arts (MA) is a graduate degree that can help you learn more about a topic in the humanities, social sciences, or arts. An MA degree programme can help you obtain vital information and skills for various occupations, such as teaching, art and design, languages, journalism and communications, and human services. Because a rising number of businesses want further education, you may also be qualified for more senior positions. Through this study course, you may even experience personal growth and learn lasting skills outside of your work, such as critical thinking and problem-solving.


Following your master’s degree, you may choose to pursue a PhD. This is a fantastic choice if you want to teach at the collegiate level or perform research. A PhD allows a person to become a tenured professor at a college or university, providing employment security and the possibility of better pay. If you don’t have any work experience and want to keep learning after getting your bachelor’s degree, an MSc or an MA is a better choice. 

In Conclusion

The main distinction between an MA, MBA and MSc is the candidates’ experience level. The MBA is aimed at people who have dabbled in the professional world, but a specialised master’s degree, such as an MSc or a MA, is aimed towards less-experienced applicants who may have only recently completed an undergraduate degree. Furthermore, MA and MSc degrees tend to be more research-oriented, whilst MBA degrees are more practical in nature. 


People who want to get an MBA are usually professionals with a lot of work experience who want to get the higher education some jobs require and learn new skills that will help them move up in their careers. 

An MSc or MA may be a better fit if you want to pursue a PhD later in life. But whether you want to get work experience before going back to school or the other way around depends on your interests and goals.


Getting a master’s degree may be a difficult yet rewarding goal. Many professions seek to obtain a master’s degree. Regardless of the type of master’s degree that you choose, your job path will take a different direction when you obtain it. This course will help you be as successful and respected in your job as possible.


Regardless of whether you choose an MA, MBA, or MSc, with a master’s degree, you will have many more chances in your life, both professionally and personally.