The most prestigious master’s degrees that take you from zero to hundred

most prestigious master's degrees
The most prestigious master's degrees can often be found in some of the most prestigious universities. Source: AFP.

Choosing to pursue a master’s degree isn’t an easy decision, and if you’re looking into the most prestigious master’s degrees, be prepared for an extra load of hard work and dedication. 

So whether you’re an experienced working adult looking to change your career trajectory or a student nearing the completion of your bachelor’s degree, the decision to continue your education with a master’s degree — however prestigious it may be — lies before you. 

Of course, having to decide on this scale will likely have you grappling with a plethora of questions — Is it necessary? Should I work first? Do I have the time? Should I do it abroad? 

most prestigious master's degrees

Tertiary education doesn’t just stop at earning your bachelor’s. Source: AFP.

Is it worth pursuing a master’s degree?

To answer those questions, consider your current career goals and personal aspirations. 

If you’re aiming to specialise in a field or role, pursuing a master’s degree helps position you as an industry leader with valuable knowledge and transferable skills. 

Still, many opt to step into the working world first for several reasons, including gaining valuable insights and a better understanding of real-world scenarios that can be applied during their studies, as well as wanting to experience their chosen field of work firsthand. 

It helps you clarify your career and education goals and, more importantly, decide whether it is worth pursuing a master’s degree. Who knows, you might end up gaining interest in a completely different field along the way. 

As to whether you have the time, many universities currently offer flexible, part-time online courses (this includes the most prestigious master’s degrees!) that can easily work around your schedule, no matter how jam-packed your schedule is. 

It never hurts to gain more knowledge — Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” 

most prestigious master's degrees

Pursuing higher education can often bring up the question of if you’re choosing to study abroad. Source: AFP.

But now comes the most important question: Should you pursue your master’s overseas? 

While are some pros and cons to consider about studying abroad: 


  • Cultural exposure: Studying abroad lets you immerse yourself in a new culture, allowing you to gain personal growth and expand your worldview. 
  • Networking opportunities: Studying abroad gives you the chance to connect with students, professors, and professionals from different backgrounds and with different experiences, expanding your network globally. 
  • Better education: All students choose to study overseas simply because universities abroad offer quality education with innovative programmes and renowned faculty members, top-tier facilities, and better research opportunities.


  • Financial costs: The biggest hurdle for many aspiring students who wish to pursue education overseas. It can be expensive, with tuition fees, living expenses, travel costs, and visa fees adding up. It’s worth considering financial aid, but it may not be available for all international students. 
  • Cultural adjustment: Adjusting to a new culture, social norms, and academic expectations can be challenging and may require time and effort to adapt. 
  • Distance from home: Being far away from family, friends, and familiar support systems can be emotionally challenging, especially during times of homesickness or in case of emergencies. 

It’s essential that you carefully weigh all the pros and cons that include your circumstances before deciding to pursue a master’s degree abroad. 

most prestigious master's degrees

The most prestigious master’s degrees can be a one-way ticket to a position in multinational companies. Source: AFP.

What are the most prestigious master’s degrees?

If you’ve made it this far, then it’s time to have a look at the most prestigious master’s degrees you can pursue. 

Before that, it’s worth noting that everyone, including different industries and fields, defines the prestige of a master’s degree differently based on their perspectives and experiences. 

Some may perceive that the prestige of a master’s degree depends on the university’s reputation, while others consider certain elements like accreditation status and alumni network strength. 

It simply depends on what you prioritise above the rest. 

Just keep in mind that you should also consider other factors like institutional reputation, programme quality, faculty expertise, alumni success, and employer perception as you evaluate the prestige and value of your desired master’s degree programme. 

If you’re unsure of where to start, fret not, we’ve compiled some master’s degrees that are prestigious for various good reasons. 

5 most prestigious master’s degrees

1. Master of Public Health

With the recent global pandemic that took place in most of 2020 and 2021, the prestige and popularity of the Master of Public Health (MPH) programme have seen a major increase in the market. 

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and University of California, Berkeley (School of Public Health) are some of the best universities to pursue an MPH. 

These universities are accredited and have influential alumni networks in public health and healthcare. 

More importantly, their MPH programmes offer comprehensive education, renowned faculty, and opportunities for hands-on research and public health practice, equipping you to address global health challenges in areas such as epidemiology, health policy, and community health.

2. Master of Arts in International Relations

If you love working with people from different backgrounds and countries, an MA in International Relations may be what you’re looking for. 

The programme offers a nuanced understanding of global issues, diplomatic skills, and cross-cultural competency, opening doors to careers in diplomacy, government, NGOs, and multinational corporations. 

Johns Hopkins University (SAIS), Georgetown University, and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) are fantastic reputable universities to pursue the programme as they provide interdisciplinary education, a renowned faculty, and connections to global organisations and policymakers. This is how you’ll be ready for an influential career in international affairs.

most prestigious master's degrees

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) means experts in the field are high in demand. Source: AFP.

3. Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In case you’ve been living under a rock, it goes without saying that an MSc in AI has gained an incredible amount of prestige recently, thanks to the introduction of a certain viral chatbot in November 2022. 

As you hop on the AI trend, you’ll soon be learning AI algorithms, machine learning, and data science, becoming a future-ready graduate prepared to take on roles in AI research, software development, autonomous systems, and technology innovation. 

Some universities to look out for are Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Cambridge, and University of California, Berkeley, which have been accredited with strong AI and machine learning programmes and possess strong alumni networks. 

On top of advanced education in AI, these universities offer access to leading AI researchers and industry partnerships, as well as opportunities for hands-on projects and internships.

4. Master of Arts in Economics

Whether in the past or future, one thing that continues to play a huge role in the progress of the world, countries, businesses, and people is economics. 

No matter how far into the future we live in, knowledge about economics will remain an invaluable skill for governments, bankers, corporations, and more. 

That’s why an MA in Economics continue to be one of the most prestigious master’s degrees out there, providing you with advanced economic theory, quantitative analysis skills, and research opportunities. 

Some of the top schools to pursue an MA in Economics are the University of Chicago (Department of Economics), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

most prestigious master's degrees

Harvard Business School is world-renowned for its MBA programme. Source: AFP.

5. Master of Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA is, without a doubt, one of the most popular master’s degrees in the world. It has continued to carry high prestige in the market because it can lead you to top jobs with high pay. 

In fact, Martin Van Der Werf, the director of editorial and education policy at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, says that an MBA is almost always worth pursuing because it gives you new career positions and boosts your overall pay. 

Some of the top universities to pursue an MBA include Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, HKUST, Ivey Business School, and SDA Bocconi School of Management. 

Their MBA programmes offer rigorous curricula, renowned faculty, extensive resources, and opportunities for experiential learning, contributing to their worldwide reputation for producing successful business professionals.