Finding scholarships for your master's degree is often necessary because students looking to attend graduate school are often already saddled with student debt. The good news is that for top students or those who demonstrate financial need, a number of scholarships are available. The primary place that money comes for master’s degree students is from the institution where they study. These scholarships can range from fellowships, assistantships, or even grants based on merit or minority status.
Many top institutions, particularly in the maths and sciences offer students large scholarships on the condition that they act as teaching or research assistants. Teaching assistants operate in varying capacities depending on the university, but in general their duties include grading papers, holding office hours where students can receive extra help, and sometimes even teaching intro level classes on their own. Research assistants aid professors in the lab or by helping them in other ways with their research. Often these positions can give a student a free ride and a chance to work hands on in a field that they love.
Many minority students can receive awards to study in areas where they are underrepresented. For example, women entering into the sciences and particularly engineering can often receive large awards from universities and for third party organizations that support the increased representation of certain minority groups in the work place. You may also qualify for certain awards if you are an ethnic minority. Other things include being the child of a serviceman or women, having a recognized impairment, or come from a low socioeconomic background.
Of course merit is also a huge part of getting scholarships for a master’s degree. Top universities will offer the best candidates full rides in order to make sure they don’t attend competitor’s schools. Even if you aren’t at the very top of your class, you may be able to attract scholarship offers from a less well-known school.