The world is constantly evolving, and higher education is no exception. As technology, industry and global events continue to shape our future, so too do the changing needs within the job market. With a population of more than seven billion people and an unsteady economic climate, the demand for highly skilled individuals is constantly on the rise. As a result, obtaining a master’s degree has become an increasingly popular decision among job seekers.
In 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase in the number of people with master’s degrees, stating that “the proportion of college graduates with a master’s degree or higher rose from 11.9 percent in 2017 to 12.6 percent in 2019”. The same report also revealed that although academic disciplines such as business, science and engineering saw the greatest increases, the fastest-growing fields were in the health profession, education and social services.
With this in mind, it is safe to say that the need for masters-level professionals will only continue to be in high demand in the upcoming years. However, it is important to consider the shifting trends in the industry and the various fields likely to be in demand in 2024.
To begin with, the field of data science is likely to be one of the most sought-after master’s degrees in the upcoming year. With companies collecting more data than ever before, the need for experts in data science is growing exponentially. Data scientists are responsible for creating processes to collect, analyze and interpret data for use in various business decisions. As such, a master’s degree in data science opens up a number of potential career opportunities, such as working in data analytics, data mining or predictive analytics.
Additionally, the healthcare industry is likely to be a major area of growth for master’s degrees in the upcoming year. With an aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the need for medical professionals with a higher level of knowledge is on the rise. In particular, a master’s degree in a healthcare-related field such as nursing, public health or health administration can be an invaluable asset in this ever-changing industry.
Trends in Master’s Degrees
- The number of master’s degrees conferred in the United States has been steadily increasing over the past decade. This is a trend that looks set to continue in 2024.
- Business has now surpassed education as the field in which most master’s degrees are conferred.
- Health professions and related programs have emerged as one of the most popular fields of study for both master’s and doctor’s degrees.
- A growing number of adult learners are pursuing non-traditional credentials to gain skills that will give them an edge in the job market.
- The need for student crisis support has increased, posing a challenge for institutions of all types.
- There is a decline in the perceived value of a college degree, with students seeking more affordable, career-oriented credentials.
Education Master’s Trends
- There is a growing demand for master’s degrees in Education, with many universities offering specialized programs to meet student needs.
- Online and hybrid programs are becoming increasingly popular, allowing students to study remotely and access the same education as on-campus students.
- The emphasis on student success and personalization of learning is becoming increasingly important, with many universities offering more comprehensive student services.
- Interest in educational technology has grown, and more universities are incorporating technology into their graduate programs.
- The number of degree and certificate programs focused on teacher leadership is on the rise, as schools are recognizing the need for more experienced and qualified teachers.
- International students are increasingly enrolling in graduate education programs, with many universities offering support and resources for international students.
- There has been an increase in the number of MBA programs available online and in hybrid formats.
- Many business schools now offer specialized MBA programs focusing on specific areas such as finance, marketing, and operations.
- Executive MBA programs are becoming increasingly popular, with more employers recognizing their value.
- Business schools are emphasizing the importance of experiential learning and internships to give students real-world experience and boost their job prospects.
- The concept of stackability is becoming more popular, with many schools offering more flexible ways of learning.
- Climate consciousness is becoming increasingly important, with more business schools aiming to reduce their program-related carbon emissions. [
Social Science Master’s Trends
- Professional master’s degrees in the social sciences are growing in popularity, due to factors such as the decline in government R&D funding and increased accountability to state governments.
- Graduate school is becoming increasingly popular, with those with advanced degrees having a lower likelihood of unemployment, greater job growth and higher annual income.
- Social science degrees are gaining in popularity, with many high-paying career prospects available.
- Online and hybrid programs are becoming increasingly popular, allowing students to study remotely.
- Interest in educational technology is growing, with many universities incorporating it into their graduate programs.
- The number of degree and certificate programs focused on social science research is increasing, as schools recognize the importance of this field.
Healthcare Master’s Trends
- Demand for healthcare professionals is increasing, with a predicted shortage of healthcare workers by 2030.
- The number of online and hybrid degree programs in healthcare is increasing, allowing students to study remotely.
- The number of graduate degrees in public health is increasing, due to the growing recognition of the importance of public health in healthcare.
- The number of degree and certificate programs focused on healthcare technology is increasing, as healthcare organizations recognize the importance of this field.
- Graduate healthcare programs are becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, with courses in both clinical and non-clinical areas.
- The number of specialty healthcare degrees is increasing, such as master’s degrees in healthcare administration and nursing.