Are Practical Experience Courses Required for Master’s Degree Programs?

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Graduate school often requires more specialized work than that required when earning your undergraduate degree, and you may find that there is practical experience required for a Master's degree. The amount of hands on experience you obtain as an undergraduate usually doesn't go beyond an internship or an independent learning project. When you reach the advanced level of your studies, you can expect to spend a few months up to one year or longer gaining hands on experience in your field.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations are one type of hands on work that graduate students may complete. According to The Princeton Review, medical school students will spend time completing clinical rotations during their third and fourth years. Nursing school students may also do clinical rotations at the graduate level. Students get the chance to actually attend to patients. They ask them questions to gain a complete family and medical history, take their vital signs and gather the information that doctors need. In their later years, students may even diagnose and treat patients on their own.

Counseling Experience

If you study psychology, you might go through a counseling experience in graduate school. Most states require that all psychologists have a license, and the only way you can get that license is with a history of hands on experience. Students may work at the counseling center on campus, or they might work with a licensed therapist off campus. You will typically spend a few months working under the supervision of a licensed doctor or psychologist before getting the chance to work with patients on your own. Depending on your program, you may find that you spend a minimum of one year working with patients before graduating.

Research Work

A large number of graduate schools have a practical experience required for a Master's degree in the form of research work. Students studying social sciences may work with professors and create studies and experiments. If you are a history student, you may research the causes of a specific incident or the history of a region. When you enroll in graduate school, you might have the opportunity to apply for a research assistant position. This lets you gain credit and payment for the research work that you do. Some research assistant positions even pay the student's tuition.

Classroom Teaching

Teachers must have experience working with students before taking over a classroom. Undergraduate education students do a student teaching experience, which lets them view licensed teachers in the classroom before going to work themselves. When you reach graduate school, you have the chance to actually work in local schools. You may teach for a few semesters while working on your degree, or your program may require that you spend at least one year teaching before earning your degree.

Many graduate schools now require some form of practical experience, but the amount and type of work that you do depends on your field of study. Most programs require that professors or other professionals oversee the work that students do and ensure that students behave in appropriate ways. Depending on your subject, the practical experience required for a Master's degree may include classroom teaching, research work, clinical rotations or counseling experience.