Has The Master’s Degree Bubble Burst?

Lindsay MacKenzie:

It’s no secret that the master’s degree market has become increasingly competitive. Dozens of colleges are starting degrees online and on campus in hot areas such as cybersecurity and data science. But the market is not as healthy as many college leaders believe it to be, said Adams.

The National Center for Education Statistics has lowered its expectations for master’s degree growth every year for the past five years. The projected 10-year annual growth rate in 2014 was 2.8 percent. The actual growth rate of master’s degree conferrals in the U.S. from 2013 to 2018 was 1.7 percent.

“In 2014, what were bullish projections of over a million master’s degree conferrals annually by 2024 steadily dropped to a projected 840,000 master’s degree conferrals by 2029. That’s almost 200,000 fewer master’s degrees conferred,” wrote Adams in a recent blog post in which she argues that the master’s degree market is a bubble that has “already burst.” The blog post is the first in a series that will discuss trends and changes in the master’s degree market.