Graduate Certificate vs Master's Degree?

  • Last Post 25 July 2014
tcarp545 posted this 23 July 2014 - Last edited 24 February 2016

Hello everyone, I recently graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia.

I am looking to further my education with either a Masters Degree or Graduate Certificate. I am very interested in improving my Web Development skills and Database skills.

I work in Center City Philadelphia and I have been looking at many different schools. La Salle university looks like it has a good Computer Information Systems masters program, but it is 100% online. Is this a safe bet? Not sure if online degrees are worth it.

I was also looking at Saint Joseph University, which offers a masters in computer science with a web and database track. Lastly, I was looking at getting a graduate certificate at the University of the Arts in Web Design & Web Development.

Does anyone know which career path would be the best bet. I just cant decide if a masters or a certificate it better. I would strongly appreciate the advice! Thanks, Tom

Kayleigh posted this 25 July 2014 - Last edited 21 October 2015

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your question!

Graduate Certificates have really grown in popularity lately (as opposed to opting for a master's degree).

It's a great way to save a little money and keep yourself fresh with those ever-necessary career skills. Graduate Certificates are great when you...

• Need to acquire skills quickly to launch a new career
• Already hold a bachelor’s degree but seek to launch a new career not related to that degree
• Need to meet state or national licensing requirements

It will be your quickest and cheapest course of study. Since you already have a bachelor's in your intended career field you may want to consider launching your career and then considering a degree to fortify the particular skills you will be using on the job.

You mention you're unsure about online degrees in general. The tide of opinion is really turning around in regard to online degrees. Employers and the public are increasingly becoming more aware that high quality online education is readily available and that these programs are just as intense as the traditional on-campus counterparts.

If you're still worried, make sure that any online school you attend follows 4 characteristics that will foster greater respect of your online degree.

GetEducated profiles hundreds computer science graduate certificates.

View Web Development and Programming graduate certificates

American University also offers a very popular online digital media certificate that you may be interested in. Find out more here. You might want to contact alumni of each of the programs you mentioned (you can find them with a LinkedIn search) and ask them what they thought. This is a great way to see if a program will meet your needs.

Finally, check out these digital media student scholarships to save some money!

Best of luck!