Can You Get a Master’s Without a Bachelor’s Degree?

It is absolutely possible to get a master’s without a bachelor’s degree. However, this is very rare and most universities expect you to get a bachelor’s degree first. Here’s the complete guide you need to know.

It is natural to think that a master’s degree can only be obtained after a bachelor’s degree has already been obtained. But let’s be honest, in some cases, there are exceptions, as some universities will allow you to do a master’s degree first.

Some schools offer programs that do not require an undergraduate degree. We’ll walk you through the ways to get a master’s degree without a bachelor’s degree. Note that most universities and other academic institutions are still very traditional and getting a bachelor’s degree first is still mandatory.

Master’s Without a Bachelor’s Degree

A guide to getting a master’s without a bachelor’s degree

While most universities do expect graduate school applicants to already have a bachelor’s degree, some colleges consider other experience, such as work experience, rather than an undergraduate degree. Did you know that only 34% of Americans have a bachelor’s degree?

This leaves the vast majority of those who do not have an undergraduate degree. Even fewer have a master’s degree, at 9.2%. If you’re one of the many people who don’t have a bachelor’s degree but want to get a graduate degree, it’s possible.

Some universities will take into account your professional experience and certain certificates and/or diplomas you may have. However, it is important for you to do proper research.

Leverage your professional experience

One of the most effective ways to learn is through experience, and some colleges, universities and other academic institutions are beginning to understand this.

Students typically learn concepts in a master’s program that they may have already experienced firsthand in their careers. You may just not realize that they are theories taught in the course.

But learning from experience and seeing these concepts in action, whether they succeed or fail, will give you tremendous value. This knowledge is easily equal to, or even more than, someone who gets a bachelor’s degree and applies directly to a master’s degree after graduation.

If you have experience in the field, be it business, sales, or a computer programmer, those years in the field are valuable and may be recognized in college applications. Whether you are employed or self-employed, you can describe your experience in your application.

With respect to the major, academic institutions such as Southern Cross University will consider your background when considering your application for admission.

Typically, if you have earned up to  5 years of experience in a related field or another qualification (such as an associate’s degree or another certificate), the schools will consider you for a graduate degree rather than an undergraduate degree.

They will also weigh your experience at the professional level of around seven years and more for the possibility of earning credit or “advanced credit” towards graduate qualification.

The University of Essex is one of the universities that offer a master’s degree without bachelor’s degree while considering your past experience rather than your undergraduate degree. The online MBA program offered by the schools is open for students without a bachelor’s degree as long as they can demonstrate at least five years of experience at the managerial level in a relevant career field.

Other Educational/Professional Credentials

There are many reasons for not having a bachelor’s degree. Maybe you don’t have the financial means to pay for four years of tuition, or maybe you started but couldn’t finish your degree.

About 40% of students actually drop out of college, and most of the rest have only partial degrees.

Dropping out of school is clearly a common practice, and there must be a reason. Students may feel that they have to make money for the time being, or they have started a family, or some are just bored with their classes.

All reasons aside, not getting a bachelor’s degree is not the end of the road anyway. There are easy and legal ways to get an education at an advanced level including getting a master’s without a bachelor’s degree.

Many people choose to earn a professional certificate or diploma from a community college. You can also consider an associate’s degree, which is usually completed in two years.

It’s a degree program that is studied in a short-cycle way that benefits working students’ career paths but doesn’t stop everything and earn a full bachelor’s degree. Depending on your field of study, an associate’s degree can lead to a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.

This will come in handy when applying for a master’s program if you continue your studies by earning a certificate. Higher education knowledge and experience is what universities will take into account when considering an applicant’s background without a bachelor’s degree on their transcript.

Transfer your degree to another field

Many students also have a dilemma, they do have an undergraduate degree, but this has nothing to do with the master’s program they intend to get. However, this is not always an issue. There are many degrees where an unrelated bachelor’s degree is perfectly acceptable.

Having the ability to obtain a graduate degree without a relevant undergraduate degree can really open doors for a large number of students. Maybe you’ve changed your mind about what you want to study or career, or maybe you know you want to get an MBA but don’t want to study business for four years.

What is a combined bachelor’s and master’s program?

A master’s without a bachelor’s degree program usually combines two degrees into one. Students do not need a bachelor’s degree in these programs to apply for an MBA or master’s program.

Also Read: What is Postgraduate Education? Types, Eligibility & Application Process

Types of Master’s Programs That Do Not Require a Bachelor’s Degree

There are several names for a master’s degree without a bachelor’s degree program.

Common programs at the master’s level that does not always require a related bachelor’s degree include:

  • Master of Business (MBA)
  • Master of Counseling Psychology
  • Master of Human Resources
  • Master of Social Work
  • Master of Journalism, and
  • Master of Nursing.

Be sure to be mindful of the University’s unique standards and regulations.

Earn a Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree

Applying to study for a master’s without a bachelor’s degree and relying on the experiences you have acquired personally and professionally is one way we’ve experienced it above.

But there is also the opportunity where you can earn a degree that is offered in a combined way.

Integrated Master’s Program

An integrated master’s degree or comprehensive master’s degree, also known as a ‘two-in-one’ degree is an effective way to earn a master’s without a bachelor’s degree. It is a comprehensive type of programme that combines a degree at the master’s level with added qualifications at different levels of study, most commonly a bachelor’s degree.

Instead of studying for two degrees as different degrees, you will have to study a single, longer program. These types of degrees are becoming more and more popular. As of 2014, 101,000 comprehensive master’s programs were offered in the United States.

In terms of accreditation, there are combined programs of study that will offer two different qualifications after completion, but most such courses award more advanced degrees.

This means that you will receive a master’s degree instead of a bachelor’s degree after completing your studies. It also means that you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to apply to the program.

The Pros and Cons of an Integrated Master’s Degree

If you’re considering a two-in-one program, you may want to consider the benefits and limitations of this degree.

The Advantage:

  • you have completed both qualifications at the same time
  • This type of degree can attract many employers
  • Student Loan Covers ingrated Master’s

The Disadvantages:

  • Not all subjects are offered
  • Not always recommended if you want to continue your Ph.D.
  • Longer study program may mean higher costs

Schools offering combined bachelor/master programs

There are many universities that offer 2-in-1 programs that do not require a bachelor’s degree. Take the following example:

Nursing: South University

  • Top picks in Nurse Journal. Highly recommended and 100% online
  • Allows registered nurses with an associate’s degree to pursue a master’s degree in nursing without a bachelor’s degree in nursing science

Science: Loyola University

  • Five-year BSc and MSc in Applied Statistics in Chicago
  • Students applying to this program are exempt from the typicall master’s program requirements for taking the GRE. The application fee is also waived

Accounting: Penn State University

  • Integrated MAcc programme (Bachelor of Accountancy and MBA programme) for five years
  • Paid internship opportunities for seniors

Earn an MIT master’s without a bachelor’s degree

  • MIT’s Department of Economics provides a MicroMasters study program in data, economics, and development policy
  • The program begins with five free courses offered online, and upon passing a proctored exam, students earn a MicroMaster and can then apply to MIT’s master’s degree program.

Why get a bachelor’s and master’s degree at the same time?

A combined bachelor’s and master’s program can yield several advantages, including the list below, including the term “two in one.”

  • Double credit; some master’s programs that do not require a bachelor’s degree allow you to take a master’s degree program and add credit to bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements. This will require several preparation steps and meeting with an academic advisor who will discuss your options, for example: where you can share graduate credit in your undergraduate degree plan, confirm which courses are eligible to share, make sure you choose a hybrid bachelor/baccalaureate when you apply master’s course.
  • Potential savings for students; the Bachelor/Master’s integrated degree option allows students to save on tuition by potentially earning credits for both degrees and obtaining a degree in a short time.
  • Graduation can be accelerated; generally, if you look at it from an undergraduate perspective, earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s will add to the time spent in college. Although it also speeds up the time to earn a master’s degree.
  • Take your time! Some universities, like Villanova, allow students to earn a master’s degree within six calendar years once they are at the master’s level.
  • Application can be made easier; application fee waived for BS/MS applicants, as well as GRE requirements. However, multiple letters of recommendation from department teachers may be required, as the basic criteria for admission vary from school to school.
  • Scholarship support; this is not guaranteed, but it is possible for students to receive scholarship support in Year 5 to undertake postgraduate study at some universities, an example of such a university is Farleigh Dickinson University.
  • You can switch programs; what if you earned a Bachelor of Arts but now lack the background for a Master of Engineering? Some universities allow a master’s degree in fields other than your bachelor’s degree. For example, Johns Hopkins University is offering a new dual-degree program that allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering and an MBA in five years.

List of Other Graduate Schools Offering Master’s without a Bachelor’s Degree Programs

  • Simmons College
  • Brandeis University
  • Loyola University
  • University of San Francisco
  • Boston University
  • Penn State University
  • Roger Williams University
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Pepperdine University
  • University of Delaware
  • Johns Hopkins University


We hope this article gave you an idea of ​​how to get a master’s without a bachelor’s degree. It is becoming more and more popular because it is considered a real need in certain fields of study.

However, ensure you do proper research on which university offers this rare academic opportunity. If you’re still considering a bachelor’s degree,

There are Universities that offer easy degrees in computer science, business administration, health science, and education.


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