Master of Arts (Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin)
Academic title or rank at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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In the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin, Bachelors of Arts are promoted to the degree of Master of Arts or Master in Arts (MA) on application after six or seven years' seniority as members of the university (including years as an undergraduate). It is an academic rank indicating seniority, and not an additional postgraduate qualification, and within the universities there are in fact no postgraduate degrees which result in the postnominals 'MA'. No further examination or study is required for this promotion and it is equivalent to undergraduate degrees awarded by other universities.
This practice differs from most other universities worldwide, at which the degree reflects further postgraduate study or achievement. These degrees are therefore sometimes referred to as the Oxford and Cambridge MA and the Dublin or Trinity MA, to draw attention to the difference. However, as with gaining a postgraduate degree from another university, once incepted and promoted to a Master, the graduate no longer wears the academic dress or uses the post-nominal letters pertaining to a Bachelor of Arts, being no longer of that rank.
All three universities have other masters' (i.e. postgraduate) degrees which do require further study and examination, but these have other titles, such as Master of Letters (MLitt), Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Master of Studies (MSt), Master of Engineering (MAI, or MEng), Master of Science (MSc) or Master of Business (MBA).
In the ancient universities of Scotland, a degree with the same name is awarded as a first degree to graduates in certain subjects (see Master of Arts (Scotland)).