Area universities say they have much better data on the financial potential for undergraduates than they do for those earning master’s degrees.
“We don’t systematically track those numbers like we would for an undergrad,” said Barry Milligan, interim dean of Wright State University’s graduate school. “It’s aggregated in ways that makes it kind of hard to find the points you want to find.”
Ohio does not require the tracking of master’s degree outcomes, so it’s up to individual universities to set up their own systems.
Both UD and Miami University say they’ve started to do that. Miami set up a tracking process that consists of an exit interview and a survey months after graduation, said James Oris, associate provost and dean of Miami’s grad school.
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Despite the concerns some may have over their return on investment, no area schools appear to have dialed back master’s degree offerings. In fact, several have added programs.
Miami has added or revived four programs in the last five years, while UD added three and discontinued one, according to officials there. UD offers 46 master’s degrees while Miami offers more than 50.
“I think the master’s degree provides a valuable extension of your current skill sets or an allied set of skills that can enhance your ability to do better in your job,” Miami’s Oris said.
Wright State’s master’s offerings have remained steady at around 70 while Cedarville University offers around eight, according to its website. Wittenberg University has three master’s programs and a spokeswoman there said school leaders “have a lot of cool programs we are building.”
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Online offerings have led to more master’s degrees being awarded at some schools, and Miami in recent years upped its total by nearly 1,000, Oris said. Master’s degrees have steadily moved toward an online market, though some officials warned such programs may soon level out.
UD found success recently when launching its online master’s of business administration degree. The program has so far doubled the number of UD students seeking an MBA from 180 to 350, according to the school.
Master’s degrees at area schools
Wright State: 70 master’s degrees
UD: 46 master’s degrees
Miami: Over 50 master’s degrees
Wittenberg: 3 master’s degrees
Sources: College officials, websites.