Every year millions of students graduate from collage and must now decide on what to do next. Should they brave the harsh realities of the real world or stay sequestered in academia. For many the choice is to go to graduate school for an advanced degree of some type, often a Masters. This isn't to say that Graduate school is easier than the real world. If you fail you will lose your initial investment of time and money, and you will probably have difficulty convincing another graduate-admissions committee to give you a second chance when you've decided that you are really ready.
I"m going to write this based on my own graduate school experience, discussions with other graduate students while I was working on my dissertation, and my observations since then. So "Why a Graduate Degree"? There are probably as many reasons to go to graduate school as there are people wanting to go to graduate school. Here are what I think are four common reasons.
1). Better pay and marketability. .
This is probably the most obvious and most common reason. In General this is true for all graduate degrees as well, but not all graduate degrees are equal. Advanced degrees in chemistry or physics generally pay better than advanced degrees in political science or English whether they are Masters or Doctors. Medical Doctors generally make more than Biologists with Ph.D.'s. We shouldn't forget that better pay also results from better marketability.
2). A graduate degree also tends to lead to more interesting work in interesting places.
A good example of this comes from the experience of a cousin of mine; one of her first assignments after graduating from Law School and landing a job required her to fly to London on the Concord. She also worked in Singapore for a number of years.
Another common, and often over looked, reason is a students" desire to please their parents, not because of a particular interest in the field.