How Many Credits Is a Master's Degree?

How many credits you need to earn a master's degree will vary based on the master's degree program you plan to enroll in. Typically, the number of credits needed to earn your master’s sits between 30 and 60 credits, but there are some exceptions.

Knowing how many credits you need for a master's degree still may not answer all your questions, however, so we’re here to help you find answers as we dig into what credits are, how many credits you need for a master's degree in general terms and some of the factors that can influence the number of credits a master's degree program requires in the following sections:

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What are Credits?

“Credits” is a short-hand term for "credit hours." Credit hours are intended to give you a sense of how many hours of classwork and studying are recommended per week. In terms of the amount of time spent per credit, a credit roughly translates to one hour spent in class and two hours spent studying and completing homework per week in order to achieve a passing grade.

If a college course is three credits, for example, you would spend about three hours per week in class and about six hours per week studying and doing homework.

Most college courses are worth about three or four credits, depending on the intensity of the subject and the course level. Higher-level courses, like those taken during a master's degree program or toward the end of your bachelor's degree, may be worth more credits.

When determining how many credit hours you need for a master’s degree, you may also want to consider whether your school operates on a semester, quarter or other type of schedule. Schools with different systems may have different credit hour requirements per class or per program. At DeVry, for example, our classes are eight weeks each, allowing you to complete 6 academic sessions in a year.

Factors that Influence How Many Credits are Required for a Master's Degree

If you’re in a program that has a more rigorous curriculum, it may have higher credit requirements. This is because the courses themselves may require more time spent in class or studying than those with a less intense course subject. It may also depend on how much each class builds on the others, or if you have to take them in a particular order.

Some master’s degree programs require more courses than others, which can also influence how many credits it takes to earn a master's degree. This may be seen more often in programs that deal with more specialized subjects. While it is helpful to be aware of which areas of study may have higher credit requirements for a master's degree, you should always check in with the university you want to attend. They will have the most accurate information about how many credits you'll need for a particular master's degree as well as insights about how your academic career can be leveraged to work toward your future goals and completing the program.

Master's Degrees with Low Credit Requirements

So, how many credits do you need for a master’s degree? At DeVry, our master's degree programs require anywhere between 39 or 48 credit hours. Here are some examples the master's degrees in our catalogue that require 39 credit hours:

  • Information Systems Management: Our Master's Degree in Information Systems Management can help you develop your skills in information security, data administration and other important business and management abilities.

  • Network and Communications Management: Our Master's Degree in Network and Communications Management is designed to help you develop managerial aptitude along with foundational skills in information technology needed for the modern workplace.

  • Human Resource Management: During a Master's Degree in Human Resource Management, you'll have the opportunity to learn what to look for when hiring capable individuals, how to foster talent within a workplace as well as develop additional skills to help you manage the HR staff of a company.

  • Project Management: A Master's Degree in Project Management can help you learn planning and budgeting, how to navigate ethical and legal concerns within projects and team leadership for today’s workplaces.

  • Public Administration: Learn how to foster healthy, engaging work environments with our Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Build your skills in understanding how government and healthcare intersect, collaboration in a team environment and how to lead projects in the public sector.

Start Earning Your Master's Degree at DeVry

At DeVry, we offer a selection of master’s degree programs in technology, accounting, healthcare and business, including MBA programs. Contact our admissions team for more information on what credits you may need for a master's degree and to find the right degree program for you.