A higher degree, which occupies the next level beyond the bachelor's degree and sits at level 7 in the National Qualifications Framework. A master's degree in education is abbreviated as M.Ed.; in science as M.Sc.; and in the arts as MA. To gain entry to master's level study, an applicant will usually be expected to have a good first degree, awarded at either first or upper second class. The master's curriculum often involves the candidate in acquiring research skills, and is normally assessed by dissertation or examination, or both of these. Exceptional students may progress from an M.Ed., M.Sc., or MA to the more demanding and far more specialized Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D. or D.Phil.). See also doctorate.