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  1. #1
    me again is offline Registered User
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    Specialization v. Concentration

    Schools offer "specializations" at the graduate level, along with "concentrations." I know what the requirements are for a specialization (i.e. 18 credits), but does anyone know what the requirements are for a "concentration"?

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    Maniac Craniac is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by me again View Post
    Schools offer "specializations" at the graduate level, along with "concentrations." I know what the requirements are for a specialization (i.e. 18 credits), but does anyone know what the requirements are for a "concentration"?
    I've looked at a number of MBAs and M.Eds and for each one I've seen, the concentration was 12 credits.
    BA, Social Sciences ---- Thomas Edison State College

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    me again is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maniac Craniac View Post
    I've looked at a number of MBAs and M.Eds and for each one I've seen, the concentration was 12 credits.
    American Public University offers "concentrations" of only 9 credits:
    APU Degree Program: Master of Public Administration-Capstone Option
    (scroll down to "concentration requirements")

    So if you complete three classes in a particular concentration, then what does it say on the transcript to reflect this? Has anyone ever heard of a "concentration" for a masters degree?

    At the doctoral level, there are specializations (18 credits). At the bachelors level, there are "majors." I'm just trying to figure out exactly what a "concentration" is at the masters level -- and how it's listed on a transcript.

    I was evaluated under the old APUS program, so I only have to take 2 classes to get a "concentration."

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    Rich Douglas is offline Registered User
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    The terms can be used interchangeably depending on the situation, and requirements vary tremendously.

    When I did USNY's Regents program (now Excelsior) the bachelor's degrees were in Liberal Arts, but were also available in certain concentrations. IIRC, 30 s.h. in the discipline were required, with 15 at the upper division level. I earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Sociology . (I also earned a Bachelor of Science with a major--not a concentration--in business.)

    When I did National's MBA , it was available as a general MBA or with specializations. Six courses were required for a specialization. There seems to be no difference between this and a "concentration." I earned the MBA without a specialization.

    Sometimes, like with Regents (now Excelsior), concentrations approximated majors, but not quite. There were way more flexible in terms of what types of courses would count. On the other hand, at National, the specializations had you complete a specific array of courses.

    When I was at Union, the Ph.D. was awarded in interdisciplinary studies. Learners were permitted to declare a concentration in an academic discipline, as well as a specialization (a sub-area of the academic discipline or a related practice area). I earned the Ph.D. with a concentration in Higher Education and a specialization in Nontraditional Higher Education .

    When the University of Leicester's Centre for Labour Market Studies launched their master's degrees 20 years ago, they were (and still are) master of science degrees in (....). These would be considered majors here, although they don't use that term. When they launched the taught doctorate (as opposed to the Ph.D.), they chose as a degree title the Doctorate in Social Science, but the focus is on human capital management (HCM). It is learned from a social science perspective and the degree is definitely grounded in that discipline, but the learning outcomes are typically pointed towards HCM.

    Major, concentration, specialization, or something? It depends. The rules aren't very hard-and-fast. And what do you tell people? Do I have a BA in Sociology based on the concentration? No, technically I have a BA in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Sociology . But I confess to using "a degree in Sociology " as a shortcut. Same with the Ph.D. Explaining it (like I did above) usually creates more problems than it solves. I usually tell people my Ph.D. is in higher education and I specialized in nontraditional higher ed. If I ever run into a situation where it would make a material difference--and I haven't yet--I'd be sure to make the distinction clear. The litmus test I use is whether or not the receiver of the message has it clear.

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    CalDog is offline Registered User
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    If I ever run into a situation where it would make a material difference--and I haven't yet--I'd be sure to make the distinction clear.
    I could see the "major" vs. "concentration" vs. "specialization" distinction as a potential issue in the context of professional licensing.

    But licensing boards will typically ask for your transcripts, regardless of how you describe your degree. There won't be any confusion on their end, because they will check your educational background on a course by course basis anyway.
    Last edited by CalDog; 08-21-2013 at 02:56 PM.

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    me again is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by me again View Post
    American Public University offers "concentrations" of only 9 credits:
    APU Degree Program: Master of Public Administration-Capstone Option
    (scroll down to "concentration requirements")

    So if you complete three classes in a particular concentration, then what does it say on the transcript to reflect this? Has anyone ever heard of a "concentration" for a masters degree?

    At the doctoral level, there are specializations (18 credits). At the bachelors level, there are "majors." I'm just trying to figure out exactly what a "concentration" is at the masters level -- and how it's listed on a transcript.

    I was evaluated under the old APUS program, so I only have to take 2 classes to get a "concentration."
    After I get the MPA awarded (in about another year), it will be interesting to see what the transcript says. How can I have a "concentration" for having taken only two courses in HR ? It's somewhat puzzling, but like Rich said, there don't seem to be any hard and fast rules. And like Cal Dog wrote, any certification body would specifically count courses that are applicable, although in this instance, an MPA doesn't lead to any certification of any sort.

    On a different note, the APUS program chair said she is going to an NASPAA meeting this October to explore accreditation with them -- but I was told the exact same thing a couple of years ago -- and still no NASPAA accreditation... yet.

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