How Many Years Is Master’s Degree in Nigeria?

If you’re considering taking your academic journey to the next level and pursuing a Master’s degree, you may be wondering how long it will take to complete this advanced program. In this article, we will delve into the duration of Master’s degree programs in Nigeria, exploring the factors that influence their length, the distinctions between academic and professional programs, and the remarkable benefits of pursuing a Master’s degree in the country.

Nigeria’s educational landscape is rich and well-equipped, with numerous universities and institutions offering Master’s degree programs across various disciplines. These programs serve as gateways to advanced knowledge and specialization, enabling individuals to deepen their expertise and gain a competitive edge in their chosen fields. However, understanding the duration of these programs is crucial for planning and making informed decisions about your educational journey.

The duration of Master’s degree programs in Nigeria typically ranges from 18 months to 2 years. However, it’s important to note that this can vary depending on several factors. We will explore these factors that influence the length of Master’s degree programs, shedding light on the variables that come into play, such as program requirements, research components, and individual circumstances.

Moreover, it is essential to comprehend the distinctions between academic and professional Master’s degree programs. Academic programs focus on theoretical knowledge, research methodologies, and critical thinking skills, equipping students for careers in academia or research-oriented fields. On the other hand, professional programs emphasize practical skills, industry-specific training, and preparing students for specific careers in the professional realm. Understanding these distinctions will help you choose the program that aligns with your career aspirations and personal interests.

Duration of Master’s Degree Programs in Nigeria

The duration of master’s degree programs in Nigeria varies depending on the Masters programme and the university. However, most programs take between 1 and 2 years to complete.

Full-time programs typically take 12 months to complete. Students in full-time programs take classes on a full-time basis, usually from Mondays to Fridays.
Part-time programs typically take 24 months to complete. Students in part-time programs take classes on a part-time basis, usually one or two classes per semester.

Some universities also offer accelerated master’s degree programs that can be completed in one year. These programmes are typically designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

Factors Affecting the Duration of Master’s Degree Programs

The duration of a master’s degree program can vary depending on a number of factors, including:

  • The type of program: There are two main types of master’s degree programs: coursework-based and research-based. Coursework-based programs typically take one to two years to complete, while research-based programs can take two to three years or more.
  • The number of credits required: The number of credits required to earn a master’s degree can vary from program to program. Most programs require between 30 and 60 credits.
  • The student’s pace of study: Students can choose to study full-time or part-time. Full-time students can typically complete their degree in one to two years, while part-time students may take two to three years or more.
  • The student’s work schedule: Students who work full-time may need to take longer to complete their degree than students who are able to focus on their studies full-time.
  • The student’s financial situation: Students who need to work to pay for their education may need to take longer to complete their degree than students who have financial support.
  • The student’s prior academic experience: Students with a strong academic background may be able to complete their degree in less time than students with a weaker academic background.
  • The student’s language skills: Students who need to take English language classes may need to take longer to complete their degree.
  • The student’s health: Students who experience health problems during their studies may need to take longer to complete their degree.

It is important to note that the duration of a master’s degree program is not always the same as the amount of time it takes to complete the required coursework. Students may also need to factor in time for research, exams, and other activities.

Distinctions Between Academic and Professional Master’s Degree Programs

When considering master’s degree programs, it’s important to understand the distinctions between academic and professional degrees. In Nigeria, there are two types of master’s degrees: professional and academic. These programs differ in their duration, purpose, and potential outcomes.


1. Academic Masters: The duration of academic master’s programs typically falls within the range of 18 to 21 months. However, factors such as thesis completion can extend this timeline.

2. Professional Masters: The duration of professional master’s programs varies depending on the mode of study:

  • Full-time: Professional programs are usually completed in one year and six months.
  • Part-time: Professional programs may take up to two years to complete.

Purpose and Focus:

  • Academic Masters: Academic master’s programs are primarily focused on advancing knowledge and research in a specific field. They are often considered a stepping stone towards pursuing a Ph.D. degree. These programs typically require the completion of 30 to 60 credit hours and may involve conducting original research culminating in a thesis.
  • Professional Masters: Professional master’s programs are designed to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge for a specific profession. They are considered “terminal” programs, meaning they do not lead to doctoral studies. Professional programs generally require the completion of 36 to 48 units and do not typically involve a thesis. While they may not require a bachelor’s degree in a specific field, some prior study or coursework in the subject area may be recommended.

Potential Outcomes:

  • Academic Masters: Completion of an academic master’s program can open doors to further academic pursuits, such as pursuing a Ph.D. degree or engaging in research-oriented careers within universities or research institutions.
  • Professional Masters: Professional master’s programs are well-suited for individuals seeking to enter a specific profession directly after graduation. These programs provide specialized knowledge and skills relevant to the industry and prepare students for roles in sectors such as business, management, or other professional fields.

Benefits of Master’s Degree in the Nigeria

Enrolling for a Master’s degree can have numerous advantages in Nigeria. Here are five reasons why you should consider pursuing a Master’s degree:

  • Gain a Deeper Understanding: A Master’s degree equips you with the skills to solve real-world problems and think critically. It provides an educational foundation in your field, enhancing your understanding and making you more valuable to employers.
  • Stand Out from the Rest: In Nigeria, where nearly a quarter of the population holds a bachelor’s degree, having a Master’s degree sets you apart. Less than 10 percent of Nigerians possess a Master’s degree, making it a differentiating factor for potential job applicants.
  • Increased Job Prospects: Holding a Master’s degree can positively impact your job search. The unemployment rate for individuals with a Master’s degree is lower compared to those with only an associate’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Higher Earning Potential: While salary is influenced by several factors, including field, location, and experience, individuals with a Master’s degree generally earn more than those without one. Statistics indicates that in certain fields, a Master’s degree can lead to higher earning potential.
  • Pursue Desired Careers: If you’re already employed but aspire to work in a different company or field, a Master’s degree can open doors. Positions in engineering, finance, public affairs, education, and healthcare often require candidates with advanced degrees.

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