If you’ve recently graduated from university or are set to finish your degree soon, the idea of getting a master’s degree might be one that has crossed your mind.
Getting your master’s degree is a huge decision, and chances are you’re going to spend some time questioning what you should study and what type of master’s degree to get. Even if you have a firm career goal in mind or even a general idea of what you would like to eventually do, with so many options to choose from, picking the right one for you and your future career aspirations can be daunting. Keep these tips in mind to help you choose the right study option for you.
Reasons to Study for a Master’s Degree
Before you apply to a postgraduate course, it’s a wise idea to first spend some time thinking about your reasoning for pursuing a master’s degree. Some common reasons for getting a master’s degree include:
- To advance in your current field
- To gain more credibility and better employment prospects
- To earn a higher salary
- To prepare to get a PhD or doctorate
- To find university teaching opportunities
- To expand your professional network
- To pursue a career in a different field to the one that you studied as an undergraduate
All of these reasons are valid, and definitely worth considering getting a master’s degree for. Of course, you might also have a reason that isn’t on the list – perhaps you have a very specific career goal in mind that demands a master’s qualification, or maybe you simply have a lifelong love of learning, and can’t imagine not expanding your knowledge further in your chosen subject.
If you’re still on the fence about getting a master’s degree – after all, it’s a huge investment of both time and money – then it’s worth thinking about whether or not there are any alternatives that you could pursue instead. Perhaps a graduate programme would help you get your foot on the career ladder of your choosing? Or an industry qualification can be an ideal choice for many professionals working in a wide range of fields including finance, business, nursing, engineering and more. It’s worth spending some time considering your career goals and weighing up the pros and cons of each route available to get you there, to help you determine if a master’s degree is the right choice for you, or whether you’d prefer to do something different.
Choosing a Degree
Choosing a master’s degree is very individual and personal to you, so think about your career goals, your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes before you make your decision. Defining your career goals is the first step that you should take, as most master’s programmes are highly specialised and designed to help you get into a certain career. Based on what you would like to do for work, you can find a master’s degree that will provide you with the necessary knowledge, skills and educational requirements to get there. One of the best ways to research different course options is to use University Compare to search for postgraduate courses UK. This student comparison site makes it easy to find the right course for you; just enter your chosen subject on this site and you will be presented with a list of relevant master’s degrees to consider. You can narrow your search results further by geographical location, specific universities, entry requirements, type of master’s degree and more.
Choosing the Right Type of Postgraduate Course
There are many different types of master’s degrees to choose from. The most common are MSc (Masters of Science), MA (Masters of Arts), MBA (Masters of Business Administration and PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education).
Masters of Science: These programmes typically last one to two years and often require you to complete a scientific thesis. They can be earned in a range of STEM subjects including mathematics, social sciences, human sciences, earth sciences, applied sciences, information technology and more.
Masters of Arts: Again, this is a programme that lasts one to two years. Typically, in subject areas that are not scientific, including humanities, arts, media, history, philosophy and more.
Masters of Business Administration: MBA courses are management degrees designed to produce a well-rounded business professional. They offer general and practical knowledge about all the various aspects of a business including HR, finance, operations and marketing. If you choose to study for an MBA, you can also specialise in certain areas of business.
Post Graduate Certificate of Education: This is a course that is designed to qualify you to become a teacher. You will generally be qualified to teach the subject that you studied as an undergraduate student.
Deciding Where to Study
Once you have figured out what you would like to study as a master’s subject and the right type of degree for you, the next step is to determine which university you would like to attend. As a master’s student, you have various options, including traditional universities where you take classes on-campus, or online programmes that you can study from home with more flexibility. There is no difference between the two in terms of quality, and you will graduate with the same qualification whichever way you choose to study it. There are various factors that you should take into consideration before deciding where to study for your master’s degree. Many students continue as a postgraduate student at the same university where they got their undergraduate degree to take advantage of tuition discounts. You should also consider:
Length of study: Some universities might offer longer or shorter master’s courses than others; consider whether you want to study an extra year to gain work experience, or study part-time rather than full-time.
Cost: Consider not only the cost of tuition, but also the cost of living at your choice of university. If you need to work part-time to fund your living expenses, will finding a job be easy?
Location: It’s also worth giving some thought to the logistical aspect of where you will study. Will you be far from family and friends? Are you ready to study in an unfamiliar area, or would you rather stick to where you know?
There’s a lot to think about if you have decided to study for a master’s degree. Keep these tips in mind to help you choose the right course.