Discover the differences between our academic and professional master’s and doctoral programs

The master’s and doctoral courses at Fundação Getulio Vargas are well regarded in Brazil and abroad.
21 March 2023
Discover the differences between our academic and professional master’s and doctoral programs

Climbing the career ladder, opening up new possibilities and envisioning a new future may be some of the goals of people looking to do a master’s or doctoral degree. Doing these specialist qualifications can be an important moment in our lives, stepping up our professional development and providing new opportunities for growth.

In the academic hierarchy, a two-year master’s course comes after an undergraduate degree. If you are interested in continuing on the academic path, you can then do a doctorate and explore your field in greater depth for another four years.

The master’s and doctoral courses at Fundação Getulio Vargas are well regarded in Brazil and abroad, turning out qualified professionals and high-level researchers who are capable of positively impacting society.

For both master’s and doctorates, there are two types of programs: academic and professional. Defining which one to choose may be confusing at first, but the profile and focus of study are quite different. In terms of academic ranking, both professional and academic courses have the same value.

Below we describe the differences between them and what both can offer to complement your professional career.

Academic master’s and doctorate

Our academic master’s and doctoral programs emphasize the generation and dissemination of research, through publications in first-rate journals, in different areas of knowledge. Students are expected to engage with national and international knowledge production networks. This is considered fundamental for both the quality of academic output and for the training of teaching staff, especially in higher education.

It is worth noting that most of the academic programs offered by FGV are free and it is possible to obtain a scholarship from a research funding agency such as the Brazilian Education Ministry’s graduate education support agency, CAPES, or from FGV itself.

Our academic programs are aimed at people who want to have a career in academic research and write papers published in journals of national and international impact, as a professor, researcher or both. An academic master’s or doctorate can also help you reach high management positions in the private and public sectors.

Professional master’s and doctorate

Our professional programs are designed for people who wish to improve their professional work by developing the skill of scientific thinking applied to real problems. They combine solid scientific and theoretical rigor with case studies and practical applications arising from students’ everyday activities in the job market. Thus, practical problems are often brought into the classroom and solved during the course.

The research areas are chosen in line with each professional’s subjects of interest, based on a flexible curriculum and evening classes. Modern academic resources are used to help participants overcome their professional challenges and create innovative solutions.

Manuel Pires, a professor on the Professional Master’s in Economics and Finance Program (MDPE) at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ School of Public Policy and Government (FGV EPPG), stresses the course’s case studies and practical application of content. He says that since 2017, when he started to teach at the school, he has noticed that students are very interested in learning, sharing experiences and doing research projects. “This is the kind of combination that makes this master’s degree stand out from what you see elsewhere in terms of education,” he says.

Which should you choose? Professional or academic?

Professor Gilberto Sarfati, the coordinator of the Professional Master’s in Management for Competitiveness (MPGC) at the Sao Paulo School of Business Administration (FGV EAESP), says that the two paths are very different. “You should only do an academic program if you are willing to make a career change to focus completely on research and teaching,” he says.

If you already have an academic affinity (perhaps you had a scholarship during your undergraduate studies, for example), if you are already doing research that you would like to delve into deeper going forward, and if you are interested in teaching and like the experience of sharing knowledge in the classroom, then an academic master’s or doctorate is for you.

Based on problems identified in students’ areas of expertise, our professional master’s courses occur empirically, adding theory to practice. If you wish to continue to work at a private company, government organization or not-for-profit organization, a professional program is most appropriate.

Research areas

One of the most important points when choosing a course is research areas. There are different thematic research areas for each course, with the goal of deepening participants’ scientific knowledge and research skills.

Each course has different research areas, which you can choose in line with your interests. This is one of the strengths of all the master’s and doctoral programs offered by FGV, whether professional and academic, as there are many great options to choose from.

To find out more about FGV’s master’s and doctoral programs, click here.

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