Whatever your academic background, professional profile and aims, you can find many programmes globally which will fit your needs perfectly and give you a cutting edge in your future career progression.

One of the main dilemmas many candidates face when making the final decision about which programme to enrol in, is whether to go for a one-year or a two-year Master’s programmes. Even though this should be determined on a case-to-case basis and there is no formula for choosing your programme correctly, there are some main pros and cons to both types of programmes.

This two-part article is aimed at outlining some of the main pros and cons of one-year vs two-year Master’s programmes in general.

Check out: How Master's Programmes Differ

One-year Master’s programmes:


One of the main advantages of the one-year programme is undeniably the fact that it is, well, short! This is a particularly appreciated feature by people who are taking time off from work, because even though they are investing time and money in their post-graduate studies, the relatively short duration of such programmes allows them to get back to their careers quickly. In this sense, another crucial benefit of the one-year programme is that participants who already have some professional experience will have considerably less forfeited salary during the time of their studies. In other words, if you leave your job to do a Master’s, not only do you pay your tuition and living expenses but you are also not earning what you would if you didn’t go to school. In this scenario, the one-year option is clearly better.

Furthermore, when it comes to paying your dues, good quality education is always a serious investment. In this sense, a one-year Master’s will be much lighter on your wallet, or alternatively, will leave you with a smaller debt post graduation, which you will be able to pay back much faster.

One more major pro of the one-year Master’s programmes is the fact that it is a smart thing to do when the market is unstable and the demand for recent graduates is not that high. Even though this particular advantage applies to both the one-year and the two-year programmes, spending time in school when the economic environment is not job-hunting friendly is a pro that should always be kept in mind.


Even though the one-year Master’s programmes has many advantages, there are certain aspects that you need to consider carefully before applying. The length of the programme could be a pro as we discussed, but the fact that one year may be too short when it comes to obtaining specialised knowledge in a particular area may also be a con. Usually, one-year programmes are designed to fit all necessary courses within the curriculum, but such a short period will rarely allow you to take enough electives. Additionally, a placement is something that prospective employers value greatly and the length of these programmes rarely allow for a full-time study-related placement within its course.

Furthermore, some universities offer some specialised courses every other year and in this case you may realise that a course you are really interested in is not offered until the year after your graduation.

One more thing you need to keep in mind if you choose a one-year Master’s programmes is that  if you want to go for a PhD after your Master’s, one year isnot always sufficient time to acquaint yourself with your graduate professors. Consequently, you may be forced to ask your undergraduate professors for references for your PhD application. In this sense, having references from undergrad professors when you have already been admitted to a Master’s programme may seem odd to the admissions committee.

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Read the second part of the article: One-Year Vs. Two-Year Master’s Programmes – Pros and Cons