3

I've seen both "study" and "study for" used and I'm not sure which one is more natural. For example:

Also, does the sentence "he's currently studying for a M.A. Media Studies degree at University X" make sense? Or is "he's currently studying for a degree in M.A. Media Studies at University X" better?

  • I would say either "study for a degree" or "take a degree". I would never use "study a degree". – Mick Oct 24 '16 at 20:40
5

In Europe, it seems either are acceptable. In the US, I have almost never heard "study a Master's degree" used and it sounds incorrect to my ears. I would use "study for" to achieve broader appeal.

Google results (searching from the US):

  • "study for a Master's degree" - 998,999
  • "study a Master's degree" - 168,000

Also of note:

  • The top results for "study a Master's degree" were The Guardian, a .co.uk site, and "studyineurope.eu"
  • When limiting searches to *.co.uk, "study for a Master's degree" still had significantly more hits.

Conclusion: go with "study for" a degree.

Example sentences: "I am studying Economics," "I am studying for a degree/career in Economics."

  • What do you mean in Europe, study a Master's degree is acceptable? There is no country in continental Europe where English is an official language and the Brits most certainly do not say that. I don't see how this answer merits three points. – Lambie Oct 24 '16 at 23:11
2

Agree with @Mick re "study for a degree" rather than "study a degree". The latter doesn't make sense in any English I've ever heard. As per @devc2, "working toward a degree" would also convey the intended meaning.

Your last two questions:

Also, does the sentence "he's currently studying for a M.A. Media Studies degree at University X" make sense? Or is "he's currently studying for a degree in M.A. Media Studies at University X" better?

Here your first option makes sense, but your second option doesn't work because "M.A." should be modifying "degree", not "Media Studies". For my taste, the best way to express what you intend to say is:

"He's currently studying for an M.A. degree in Media Studies at University X."

OR

"He's currently working toward an M.A. degree in Media Studies at University X."

Hope this helps.

2

It's now considered somewhat archaic, but British students would say, "I am reading law [or whatever]". The word reading was a kind of code word, a shibboleth used to signal joint membership of an elite institution or club. "Reading" for your degree was prevalent at a time when only a tiny percentage of pupils at school went on to tertiary education, and of those who did, the majority were from public (private fee-paying) and grammar schools.

This has now changed with more than 50% of secondary school pupils going on to tertiary education, a more representative percentage of the UK's public sector. Reading law, history or whatever is still to be heard and in use by students and alumni of Oxbridge and the older universities in the UK. Its usage, as far as I know, is confined to the UK and its Commonwealth countries.

Edit: Cannot find a reference online other than a Stackexchange discussion in 2011 and more recently.

0

She was working toward a law degree

work toward

  1. To exert oneself in order to achieve some goal: I enrolled in college last year and I am working toward a degree in medicine.
  2. To move something or someone in the direction of something or someone by exerting effort: I caught a large fish on my line and slowly worked it toward the boat.
  • Well, it all depends. In my case, I was blundering my way toward a law degree. – Peter Point Oct 25 '16 at 12:57

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