Learn the pros, cons, and how to’s of Master’s without bachelors!

Jumping straight into a master’s degree without a bachelors program is an unconventional approach, to say the least. Most professionals take the time to finish their undergrads and get some experience before even considering a master’s degree in the Philippines. However, earning your Master’s without a bachelor’s degree is only rare but not impossible. If you are looking for a way to jump straight into a postgraduate education without having to complete a bachelor’s degree, then you have come to the right place. Read our guide and discover the pros, cons, and how to’s of getting your Master’s without a bachelor’s program!

asian girl with masters degree

How Do I Enroll In a Master’s Degree Without a Bachelor’s Program?

Most schools require a bachelor’s degree diploma in order to process your postgraduate studies application. Whether it be an offline or online MBA course, or an online short course that is meant to give you an edge for your career, postgrad programs typically require some form of documentation that you took an undergraduate study. This is because most of the learning and basic knowledge expected of you to be able to keep up and study your Master’s degree is attainable from a related bachelor’s program. But a college degree is not the only way to prove that you are qualified and knowledgeable in your field. Here are three possible options that you can take to dive straight into a master’s degree without a bachelor’s program.

1. Valuable Professional or Work Experience

What most people don’t know is that some colleges and universities can actually consider work experience as an acceptable substitute for a formal undergraduate education. As they say, experience is the greatest teacher, and some schools do agree. Granted that this may still be subject to approval of the school’s application committee, you can still apply as long as you have extensive professional experience in a related field amounting to seven years and above. Your work experience can be seen as learning on the job in the eyes of schools and universities that provide this option. 

Though application requirements may vary from school to school and program to program, you can start preparing early by compiling documentation of your employment. You can even take advantage of E.O. 330, a law signed by former president Fidel V. Ramos which gave way to CHED’s ETEEAP initiative—granting educational opportunities to Filipinos with five or more years of working experience. An ETEEAP partner school will have policies and application guidelines in place for you to pursue the education with your professional experience as your substitute for formal undergraduate education.

2. Educational Documentation

In some cases, students may have started their bachelor’s degrees but stopped schooling for one reason or another. These students may have had to start working when they stopped schooling, but not enough to be considered extensive professional experience. In cases wherein incomplete schooling was taken alongside short-term employment, you can still attempt to apply for a master’s degree without a bachelor’s diploma so long as you provide documentation of your earlier education pursuits and short-term work experience.

While not a guarantee for approval, you can try your luck with some universities and colleges to see if they can credit your discontinued education for your postgrad application.

3. Professional Certificates

Professional certificates such as TESDA’s (Technical Education And Skills Development Authority) many vocational and professional courses can count towards your master’s degree application. Usually valid for a period of five years, these certificates equip students with the necessary skills to engage in livelihoods and small businesses in the field of their vocational course. Professional and vocational courses from TESDA can still serve as documentation of education despite not being a formal college program, and thus can be used to apply to a Master’s Program without a bachelor’s degree as long as your vocational course is in a related field or skillset.

two people shaking hands

Will Taking Master’s Without Bachelors Put Me at a Disadvantage?

Some students may fear that a stigma will come from taking on their Master’s without a bachelor’s degree, but it is not as uncommon as you might think. In the US, only 30% of Americans are college graduates and some of the remaining 70% do go on to pursue postgrad studies in spite of not having a university degree. This practice is considered acceptable around the world, so you have no reason to feel ashamed.

However, if you are juggling your master’s program alongside your profession or business, then you may want to consider pursuing postgraduate courses online. Not only does this prepare you to be more well-versed with remote work—it also gives you much needed flexibility to continue working while balancing your education. Take your online master’s degree with no graduating bachelors without fear of lagging behind due to your everyday duties at work.

What Advantages Can I Expect from Taking a Master’s Degree Without Bachelor’s?

Don’t discount your real-life work experience just because you did not take an undergraduate program! You have a wealth of professional knowledge in the palm of your hand, and this will come in handy for conducting dissertations and completing class requirements. In an online setting, you will not have to worry about working or collaborating too much with your course mates. This means that you can truly focus on letting your experience shine. You can even provide unique insights because of your circumstances, which can impress professors and colleagues alike.

Your prior work experience will also give you a better idea of which online master’s program is for you. Because of your professional experiences and the knowledge you have gotten along the way, you will have a much deeper understanding of where your strengths lie and the kind of career you want to carve out for yourself.

We hope that this short guide on taking a master’s degree without a bachelor’s program prior will help you on your educational journey. No matter how unorthodox your journey may be, remember that your experiences are what have molded you into the person that you are today. Take a chance and apply for your master’s degree with no bachelor’s program needed!

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