Multiple masters?

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by jcummings, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. jcummings

    jcummings New Member

    Ok, this might be a stupid question, but here it goes...

    In order to maximize opportunities for online teaching, would you go after additional masters degrees? There are a number of schools looking for online adjuncts with masters degrees to teach at the undergrad level without the additional years and money of a PhD.

    I'm thinking of a MSc in Astronomy from Swinburne and possibly the MA in Applied Economics from the University of North Dakota. With my MA in Theological Studies, this would give me three different fields in which I would be qualified to teach.

    Dumb idea or good plan for increasing my options?
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The requirement is usually a Master's in a particular subject or a Master's in anything and having at least 18 graduate semester-hours in the subject to be taught. So in your case, you might try just getting 18 hours in a new teaching discipline rather than a whole degree in it. After all, if you find the gigs aren't coming, you can always keep going until you have the whole degree.

    By the way, Statistics and Finance are often said to be more in demand than the subjects you mention. If online teaching is your goal, it may affect your decision.


    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Oh, don't worry...there is no such as stupid question, only stupid people. j/k hahaha

    I would echo Steve's. If you go for a second Master, then I would recommend MA in Applied Economics from UND.
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    There have been a few threads recently in which some people expressed the idea that the ROI is better with multiple Masters than with going for a PhD, even if the goal is not to teach, employment opportunities in general might be more favorable. I think that part of it is that the completion rate for PhDs is pretty low.
  5. jcummings

    jcummings New Member

    That is my thought as well. I originally thought that the PhD was the only way to reach my goal, but after learning more about non-traditional teaching opportunities such as adjuncting online, the multiple masters route seemed the better investment.

    Consider: masters degrees in theological studies and applied economics would qualify me to teach undergrad classes in theology, religious studies, philosophy, economics, finance, investment theory, statistics, etc..., thus maximizing potential teaching opportunities.

    It would take two years of part-time study to earn the masters in applied economics versus 4-5 years to earn a PhD. I think I will purse the additional masters.

    Thanks for everyone's insight. I have learned a great deal about DL and adjuncting from this site.
  6. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I would recommend you look at the 18 credit option as opposed to an additonal masters or even look at Western NM for a masters with 18 credits in 2 different topics.
  7. cdhale

    cdhale Member

    That really depends. I know that my school will not let me teach "religion courses", though I have 18 grad hours in religion, because they (religion classes) are under philosphy here. I would suspect that if you don't have 18 grad hours with the proper course identifier in the course number (such as PHIL for Philosophy), then most (or many) schools won't require your services. So if your theology is listed under THEO (or whatever was used there), you could probably teach theology or religion, but not philosophy - unless you ALSO had 18 grad hours of PHIL.

    That is what I have seen, anyway.
  8. jcummings

    jcummings New Member

    In my case the theology courses are all THEO so I'm ok there, but your pont is a good one.
  9. jcummings

    jcummings New Member

    As I am considering my options as to maximize my online teaching opportunities, how about this:

    MSc in Applied Economics from University of North Dakota (course code ECON)


    Certificate in Finance (course code FIN, at least 18 hrs.)

    Any recommendations on RA certificates in finance?
  10. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Multiple master's degrees makes one redundant.
  11. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    I am all for the multiple Master's degree idea, but here is an observation that I have made teaching for numerous schools over the years and having navigated countless application and hiring processes along the way.

    I am not trying to be negative, but it seems that around here and in other adjunct forums I have visited the perception has been created where people are led to believe that going out and getting 18 graduate hours in a new subject is going to magically open up new adjunct doors. It does not work like that. It may open doors within a specific segment - for example, someone with a finance graduate degree and experience could break into accounting courses with 18 additional graduate credits in accounting. Someone with the same finance background is not going to land a new adjuct position in psychology because he/she went out and got an additional 18 credits in psychology.

    18 Graduate credits in a topic is only half of the equation for online faculty jobs. With the economy what it is, schools have a lot of qualified applicants for few positions. I have not worked at a school where I or anyone I know has not been hired because they have industry-specific experience in the field to supplement their graduate education. 18 credits merely checks the block on the hiring checklist and moves the application along to the next step in the process where experience and contributions to that field are considered much more heavily than having the minimum number of credits.

    In regard to the OP's orginal question - I do not know anything about you or your professional experience. I am sorry, but I do not think Masters degrees in Theological Studies, Astronomy, and Economics are going to provide you any benefit in terms of increased opportunities, at least not without several years of teaching experience. Honestly, I could see it as more of a negative from the perspective of a hiring committee member who is bound to ask "What is with this person? He/she must obviously lack any sort of direction."

    If your goal is to expand your adjunct opportunities beyond what your current education qualifies you for, you should consider additional credits in either your professional field or in a program that can be tied to your theological degree - nonprofit management, social work, human services, etc. A totally separate degree field will not benefit you in increasing your adjunct opportunities unless you have the professional experience to back it up.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2011
  12. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I do agree that the most important aspect of getting adjunct work (after the 18 credits) is actual experience. I have thought about a few other areas but since I have no real world experience in those areas (public admin for example) I decided to stick to credits that compliment my work experience (marketing for example).

    The only exceptions I would think there may be are areas that you can not / do not get practical expereince such as humanities, history, english, etc. but I would assume those fields are competitive in a different way with adjuncts having masters degrees or PhDs in the field.
  13. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    Even in these instances, there are people out there with professional experience in these fields. For example, I know/am familair with several history professors - a couple have worked at major museums from entry-level on up, one was certified guide from the National Park Service at Gettysburg NP (major undertaking to get this certification - requires years of in-depth Civil War study), and one of the history professors at AMU served in the capacity of official historian for the United States Military Academy. Even in these fields, there are a significant number of people with more exposure to a field than a just graduate degree which sets them apart - we just do not associate this exposure with the traditional definition of professional experience.
  14. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I never thought of that as practical experience. I thought of it like, my grandmother has experience with history...she has been around for 90 years! Thanks for those points.
  15. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    In my opinion, not all cases of multiple master's degrees are redundant. For example, there is nothing wrong with getting degrees such as MBA, MS, MA, MPS, Meng, MEd, MPA, etc., in separate or closely related areas, depending on what the degrees are meant for.

    Also, while multiple master's degrees such as MS, MS MS, or MA, MA, MA, or even MBA, MBA (as in your case), seem redundant on the surface, in reality, there are cases where those degrees make perfect sense; again, depending on the purpose for which the degrees were earned, as well as their specific areas of specialism.

    It is fine to get a Master of Science in Computer Science, in addition to a Master of Science in mechanical Engineering or a Master of Science in Finance, for example. Based on the motivations of jcummings, pursuing a "MSc in Astronomy from Swinburne and possibly the MA in Applied Economics" is fine.
  16. CornCod

    CornCod New Member

    The multiple masters strategy has paid off for me handsomely. At a brick and mortar school I teach at, they told me recently that they had no criminal justice courses for me to teach next semester, so I continued with the history course I was teaching at another school. I casually mentioned to a dean at the first college that I would be happy to teach either a history or political science course if she had one available in the future. Next semester I will be teaching three courses in three seperate disciplines at the same time, criminal justice and political science classes at one school and a history course at another. Right now I am also doing a four-class session gig as a substitute for a f/t instructor that had to pull out of a class near the end of a semester to nurse a sick relative. I hold down a non-academic "day job" too.

    * Always say yes to a gig unless scheduling is impossible
    * Teach the courses nobody else wants to teach
    * Make sure at least one of your masters is in a "general education" subject
    * Don't turn down substitute gigs
    * You never get anything without asking
    * Pray
  17. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I'm currently working on a second Master's degree en route to a doctorate, and I chose to do the second Master's even though I didn't have to, just so I would have an additional credential if I get burned out or fail to navigate the dissertation minefield.

    Graduate certificates are a good way to get the required 18 hours for teaching American Military University offers several;

    AMU Certificates Programs

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