In some fields, it’s enough to simply hold your masters’ degree. This one piece of paper will manage to open all kinds of doors for you and set you up for that dream career. In other careers, your degree may not be enough anymore as employers ramp up their demands. Suddenly, the notion of a master’s that is “topical” becomes a reality and is one that you need to give serious thought to as you decide what path you want to take.

What Does Topical Even Mean?

When the word topical is thrown around in the same sentence as ‘masters’ degree’, it refers to a degree with a specialized niche. Let’s take, for instance, an online paralegal degree. Obviously, this degree is meant to set you up with the skills and knowledge you need to become a successful paralegal.

But, here’s the thing – you can turn that online para degree into a topical one by choosing to specialize in a particular niche such as international law, government law, etc. What this means is that you’ll want to look for courses that focus on that particular area you want to specialize in. By the time you graduate, you will be an expert in that particular area.

How to Pick a Topical Niche

So how do you know what is topical and what areas are best to specialize in? This is where some research and even networking can pay off. You can start by picking up the newspaper and watching the news. Start looking for trends and areas that keep coming up. Perhaps there is a big focus on intellectual property law right now, thanks to increased funding when it comes to research and technology. If that’s the case, then this is a topical area you could specialize in.

As far as networking goes, this is a great way to talk to people already working in the field and ask them about the trends they see. What areas are the most in-demand at the moment?

In order to be topical, an area of study should be relevant to today’s economic and social climate, should be in the headlines on a regular basis, and be a niche where this interest won’t be dying off anytime soon.

Find Your Niche along the Way

It would be great to enter into college already knowing your niche and what you want to specialize in, but that’s not usually the case. For many students, it’s a matter of getting into their program, starting to learn about the field and find what really stands out to them. From there, you can start to find that niche that you can specialize in. That may mean taking extra courses to ensure you cover all areas of that specialized area, which is also perfectly fine.

Going that Extra Mile

While it may seem like a lot more work to obtain a master’s degree that has a topical niche, in the end, that will be what helps you to get a job and ensure you are relevant in today’s workforce.