The master's will grow in importance as educational inflation continues. As more people attend universities and get bachelor's degrees, and as more entry-level jobs such as secretarial work require them, the bachelor's degree will become the new high school diploma and the master's will become the new bachelor's. At the moment, having a PhD can actually be a liability when it comes to getting hired (many firms will consider you overqualified or too expensive). I suspect this will change, too, as more and more people acquire doctorates even though there are fewer teaching positions than ever before. Of course, all of these developments are part of the higher education bubble that is bound to burst one day. +1 Then: Benefits > Cost Now or future: Cost > Benefits Exactly. In the last 10-20 years the cost of higher education has skyrocketed, while the income for people with those degrees has stayed the same or risen at a much slower rate. Then add in the current unemployment issues.... which makes it much worse - theres a sizeable chunk of recent grads with jd's, mba's, and other master's degrees that can't find jobs. It's no longer a guarantee that even an advanced degree will get you employment (just lots of loan payments...).