MA Explained: Full Form, Courses, Colleges, Types, Jobs, Salaries



14 February, 2024

MA Explained: Full Form, Courses, Colleges, Types, Jobs, Salaries

What is the Full Form of an MA?

M.A., or ‘Masters of Arts,’ is a postgraduate degree programme offered in the field of humanities, fine arts and social science.  It is one of the most versatile degrees that offers a lot of professional opportunities and is an essential workforce requirement across all sectors and industries. Various specialisations like History, Politics, Geography, Psychology, English, Journalism and Mass Communication, etc. are offered at the masters level programme in the field of Arts.

If stats and surveys are to be believed, one of the most pursued courses globally and in India is the Master of Arts. The subjects offered are highly enriched in knowledge, and facts and had driven by the constant changes occurring across different sectors of society. The course is also generally more affordable than most technical courses and offers a lot more scope of finding a professional space for yourself.

Truth be told, presently in India, the course is a favourite among the students who prepare for government exams since it provides and prepares them with around 25-50% of the syllabus that most government exams dictate in their sections. It is also the favourite of many artistic minds or people who like to explore different fields.

How Did Master of Arts Become a Universal Degree?

Did you know that the College of Nursing in Delhi was the first institution offering a full-time master’s degree for the very first time in India in 1960.

The nature of the change is that it is always to come and revamp all the existing processes. Different sectors and industries keep changing with time but the foundational skills and techniques and knowledge used to run remain the same.

  • Economical and Feasible:

    First, one of the most evident factors that made a degree in Arts the most popular and pursued course, is because it costs significantly less than a degree in the field of Science or Commerce. Since it was more economically fit for people, more students used to and still enrol in the degree like Masters or Bachelors of Arts.

  • Competitive, Yet Opportunistic:

    Secondly, pursuing a Masters’ in Science or Commerce, like an M.Sc.  in Mathematics or an MBA restricts a learner to a particular subject and domain. However, a masters degree in the field of arts sees its application in a lot more workplaces and industries, plus, making the chances of employability for the learners significantly greater.

  • For the Artist in You:

    A Master of Arts is one degree that, in all its richness and crude nature, helps an artist and all creative persons to pursue their dreams, whether it be art or culture or heritage, a Masters’ degree in Arts gives them an educational distinction in that particular field.

About the Courses and Subjects

An MA programme like any masters course is of 2 years duration divided into 4 semesters. Students can choose from specialisations like-

  • MA in History
  • MA in Geography
  • MA in Archeology
  • MA in English
  • MA in Political Science
  • MA in Psychology
  • MA in Communications
  • MA in Economics
  • MA in Sociology
  • MA in Applied Linguistics
  • MA in Theatre
  • MA in Studio Art
  • MA in Legal Studies
  • MA in International Relations

M.A. programmes pursued online are hugely popular these days. They provide students with the flexibility of studying from any place and at any time in a self-paced manner.

Know Your Subjects!

Master of Arts is one of the most diversified courses that offers different specialisations. Depending upon personal interest, goals, aspirations and career prospects, a student can choose from the variety of streams offered in the Master of Arts.

History A master’s degree in the subject of History will deepen your knowledge about the events of the past, and the present interpretation of past societies, culture, evolution, arts, practices, etc.
Geography A postgraduate degree in Geography will increase the knowledge and achievement about the subject regarding the earth, the biome, the living in the non-living processes, different functions of the environment, etc.
Political Science It is an advanced study of theoretical knowledge and the practical applications of the policy in our daily lives, different functions of the government, tuition, policies, about the judiciary or executive powers, etc.
Archaeology A master’s degree in Archaeology provides a student with deep learning of the culture and practices of the past and helps restore & preserve the intangible & tangible heritages of a country.
English Pursuing a post-graduation in English will mean that you will dive deep into the concepts of the ligation of the ancient and the present English language while devoting your time and mind to Drama, linguistics, prose and poetry.
Economics MA in Economics refers to a student learning about wealth production, monetary exchanges, the flow of production, the micro and the macro processes involved, different schemes and implementations, flow or products, etc.
Sociology Sociology is one of the most complex, yet most interesting subjects as it deals with the study of the human and their nature in terms of society, development of relations and the old & existing social structures.
Psychology With a postgraduate degree, you can build your career in Psychology, which deals with the intrinsic nature of the mind, the theory and the research methods, etc. relative with emotions, learning, perception, memory, retention, etc. of the mind.
Communications One of the most thriving careers presently, a degree in Communications can help you diversify your portfolio, and you can work in different sectors like Marketing, PR, Sales, Journalism, etc. It deals with how media works, how communication occurs and its effect on society.
Theatre M.A. in Theatre will teach a student about different aspects of theatrical entertainment like the history of criticism, dramaturgy, songs, dance, acting, dramatic history and literature, etc.
Legal Studies Pursuing a master’s degree in Legal Studies means that one will learn about the legal system, different rules and regulations, legal processes, stakeholders involved, different provisions and legal changes, etc.
International Relations International Relations as a master’s degree emphasises the exchange across different countries, the diplomacy involved, global peace, studies, international development, etc.
Applied Linguistics This is a course of study that emphasises the students’ understanding of intercultural exchange and communication. It is about understanding how languages play a vital role in our lives and help solve different issues in real-life scenarios.

Admission Process for MA Programmes

  • Aspiring MA students can secure admission easily into the programme after completing their graduate degree, with an aggregate of 55% marks in any discipline from a UGC-recognised institution.

  • Many institutions may conduct entrance exams for admission into the course.

  • Anyone who has completed their graduation from any subject can go for a master’s degree programme in the field of Arts unless specified. One can switch from a bachelor’s degree in the field of Science or Commerce to pursuing Masters’ in Arts in their desired specialisation.

Job Profiles and Salaries of MA Graduates

By pursuing MA in various specialisations, one can pursue different fields of work depending which particular industry they wish to venture into. Here is a list of some of the job profiles related to the field of Arts along with the expected income.

Job Profile Average Annual Salary Range
Economist INR 5.2 to 16 Lakhs
Archeologist INR 3.2 to 8.7 Lakhs
Legal Advisor INR 4.1 to 10.6 Lakhs
International Relations Expert INR 4.4 to 13.5 Lakhs
Theatre Actor INR 2.5 to 20 Lakhs
Public Relations INR 3.3 to 9.3 Lakhs
Psychologist INR 4.7 to 15.9 Lakh
Professor INR 5.8 to 12.5 Lakhs

Modes of Learning

One of the biggest perks of pursuing an M.A. degree is that there are various modes available through which you can pursue your studies, thanks to the power of technology and the various learning tools available on the Internet. You can pursue an M.A. via different modes of learning like regular, distance, and online modes. This introduces students to not only a flexible and self-paced mode of learning and gives the students the freedom to either pursue a degree full-time or through other modes of learning. Also, a degree pursued through part-time/online mode is as valid and credible as a regular degree and the institution today puts extra efforts in making sure that the student enjoys a classroom-like experience even when learning through a screen.

Let’s explore all the modes available to you in the M.A. programme:

  • Full-Time MA:

    A full-time M.A. is a regular degree in which a student has to physically attend classes by visiting the campus each day. All the study materials, books, assignments, other documents, etc. are mostly made available through offline mode. Even the exams are conducted in classrooms. Ping is perfect for the students who wish to enjoy the real classroom experience, take part and enjoy the campus and likes to have face-to-face live interactions with other people. This intensifies the bond between fellow students, the faculty members and the people who meet on a daily basis.

  • Part-Time MA:

    If you do not wish to attend classes on a regular basis and would like to devote more part of your time to some other activity, pursuing an M.A. through a part-time mode is the perfect option for you.  In part-time courses, the classes are usually scheduled during the evening times or on weekends which gives the students more flexibility in terms of their choice of time they wish to study at and manage other courses or activities effectively while balancing them with their studies.

  • Distance MA:

    The biggest perk of pursuing an M.A. through the distance mode of education is that it takes away the physical value of attending a university far away from where you live, particularly.  You can be at any part of the world and can still pursue education from any institution which is miles away from you, thanks to this evolved mode of learning. It is a perfect degree that helps maintain a balance between your work commitment and studies. It offers accessibility to continue learning, flexibility in terms of the institution you want to study from, the time you wish to attend your classes, how much time you wish to invest in earning a degree, how much finances you wish to spend on a degree, etc.

  • Online MA:

    An Online M.A. is one of the most evolved methods of learning presently. It provides more freedom of choice and flexibility for learners, allowing them to study at their own pace from anytime and anywhere. In this mode, students get access to live and recorded classes so that you can attend it without worrying about the place and time. For queries, online assistance is always provided by the institutions. Many colleges and universities have 24/7 student assistance portals available for their ease of access.

Top Institutions Offering M.A. Programmes in India

Top Institutions Offering Regular MA Programmes:

Institution Programme Fee (Depends upon the Specialisation)
Symbiosis Centre for Arts and Commerce Studies INR 56,000 to 1,11,400
Ramjas College, Delhi University INR 28,329
Amity University Starts from INR 1,30,000
Chandigarh University INR 1,80,000-2,50,000
Christ University Starts from INR 1,05,000 Per Annum

Top Institutions Offering Online MA Programmes:

Institution Programme Fee (Depends upon the Specialisation)
SGVU INR 28,000
Online Manipal INR 75,000- 1,40,000
Amity University INR 1,60,000
Chandigarh University INR 1,00,000
Bharathiar University INR 44,880

How to Find the Right MA Specialisation and College?

Choosing the right programme is not just about picking a specialisation or a college. It is also about your particular interest in a given field, your goals and aspirations, future prospects, chances of career growth in your chosen field, etc. Pursuing a master’s degree means that you will be investing two years of your time into earning that degree. There are many specialisations offered in Arts, therefore, the number of people opting for this field is also generally large which significantly contributes to more competition. Therefore, the time and value spent on a particular degree should amount to a career that has:

  • High Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Feasible Cost
  • Reputation and Facilities of the Institution
  • Diversified Career Options
  • Placement Opportunities
  • Subjective and Practical Knowledge
  • Courses Offered and Their Relevance
  • Alumni Network or Support


M.A. or Masters of Arts is a very prominent degree in our society in the field of humanities, that earns people respectable job opportunities. It is also one of the most creative fields that empowers people to pursue something different and carry on the legacy of art and culture. Multiple specialisations are offered in the field of arts and even a science or commerce student can switch to arts field while pursuing their master’s. However, the competition is also very high in this field. Therefore, the kind of subject you wish to choose for your masters, the kind of mode you want to choose to pursue your degree in and the kind of institution you wish to purchase from are the three important factors to consider while going for a master’s degree.

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