Undergrad is generally a time for exploration ― which is why every year hundreds of thousands of students graduate with degrees in the social sciences. At 18, few know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and the generally relaxed atmosphere of undergraduate studies (as well as newfound freedom conventionally coupled with a lack of responsibility) encourages most to explore diverse topics and earn degrees without obvious career paths.
It is only after the post-graduation panic do college students recognize the error of their ways, and most immediately look to graduate school for more direction in their working lives. Fortunately, there are many master’s degrees well-suited to sparking excellent careers ― especially the following brand-new programs, which are just emerging as the need for specially educated workers grows.
1. Homeland Security
The U.S. has been overly concerned about national security since before the Cold War, but only after 9/11 did the American people start to see and feel the government’s attempts to make the nation safe. As the public’s fears have grown, the government has increased its efforts of homeland security, and now there are thousands of federal jobs that require knowledge and experience with domestic and international security practices.
As a result, college grads can get a master’s degree in homeland security at dozens of schools, including Northeastern University and Tulane University. In this program, students will take classes on domestic terrorism, existing homeland security laws, the structure of the U.S. intelligence system, and more.
While homeland security grads focus their efforts on preventing physical attacks, there remains significant security weaknesses within every American home and office: internet-connected devices. Studies show that the United States lags behind dozens of more advanced countries in methods of keeping digital data safe; even the U.S. government fails at protecting information saved on computers, tablets, and phones.
In the coming years, cybersecurity is expected to grow exponentially, which means those well-educated in the field stand to enjoy a meteoric rise. Admittedly, cybersecurity isn’t a brand-new master’s degree program, but more universities are upgrading their cybersecurity departments to entice students. The best of them all can be found at Penn State World Campus, which is the university’s online school.
Recent college grads might not know a world without social media, which means few are surprised to learn that social media marketing is now a mandatory part of successful business. Traditional forms of advertising rarely work in today’s digital world, yet plenty of business owners and marketing directors fully understand how to use social media optimally.
Intermedia studies are essentially the training in the various types of online media, including social media. Somehow, those grads who spent undergrad on Facebook and Twitter can transform their addictions into whirlwind marketing careers.
4. Education Technology
Perhaps it isn’t a surprise that so many college students waste class time on social media considering how much devices have infiltrated the classroom. Not only are laptops and tablet computers essentially mandatory for university education; even elementary schools are placing more emphasis on digital learning lately.
Fortunately, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, for recent college grads with an interest in tech, it is an amazing career opportunity.
Education technology, or edtech for short, is the creation and distribution of devices and software intended for use in the classroom. Understanding how to develop and use edtech now requires a special master’s degree, which grads can obtain online from The George Washington University.
5. Urban Studies
The social sciences are far from useless, though a lone bachelor degree in the field does little to help a grad find work. Typically, to break into a social sciences career, a grad needs at least a master’s degree ― and even then, most disciplines offer few openings. Those interested in social sciences would do better to put their knowledge to work by obtaining an advanced degree that has practical applications, like urban studies.
In the scope of human history, the gigantic metropolitan areas where most modern people live are extremely new. Understanding how and why urban centers work will give grads a step-up to positions in urban planning or civil engineering. Oddly enough, one of the best urban studies programs in the country is at the relatively rural University of Kansas.
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