Should I do a Master’s Degree? If you’re asking yourself this question then this article is for you! We take a look at what you need to consider before deciding to study a Master’s/Postgraduate Degree.
First off, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I excited about the opportunity to write another dissertation or research project?
- Financially speaking, can I afford to study at Postgraduate level in terms of living costs and tuition fees?
- Will this postgraduate degree enhance my future career prospects?
- Is this qualification highly rated by employers within this industry?
- Will this qualification help me to develop and improve the specific skills for my ideal career?
- Am I genuinely passionate and interested in the qualification and subject?
- Are the courses that I am looking for right for me?
- Will my studies enable me to qualify as a professional within my ideal industry?
Should I do a Master’s Degree?
Postgraduate Entry Requirements: Academic Qualifications
Usually, you will need to obtain a 2:1 from an accredited UK programme or from an esteemed school in another country. However, those students with a 2:2 or third class honours or no undergraduate degree at all… do not worry as postgraduate programmes will consider taking students into their courses if they have appropriate professional work experience. You should contact the admissions departments if you do not meet the academic criteria but still are interested in getting into the course programme.
Nor is there a need to worry that your lower-level degree may hinder your chances of obtaining postgraduate funding as this will not be the case. You will not be able to qualify for merit-based funding, such as bursaries or university scholarships but postgraduate loans and needs-based funding are not dependent on academic achievements only. Therefore you should still be eligible to qualify for them.
English Language Expertise
For students where English is not their first language, it is likely that you will be required to prove your proficiency in the language with a recognised language test, which include:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Cambridge English Language Assessment
The language requirements generally depend on your institution of interest and the course you are studying.
A personal statement may persuade the admissions tutor to offer you a place. So it is very important that it is written in a professional manner. In places where interviews are not conducted, it may be your best hope of entry into the course. It gives you an opportunity to explain to your chosen university why they should want you as a postgraduate student.
Some Helpful Tips:
- Tell them what you have done in terms of relevant study or work experience that will prove your suitability for the course
- Demonstrate that you have researched the university, the course and if possible its career opportunities. Admission tutors will look upon you more favourably if you have shown you have thought about what they are offering you. It is all about making the effort and thereby the impression!
- Mention what further readings you have done, such as news reports or academic papers
- Take your time. Give as much relevant information as possible. Never think “one sentence will do here”. Universities like well completed statements which provide reasons for applying and evidence for your application
- The information you provide must be presented effectively, considered carefully and entirely accurate. False information is never a good idea!
Should I do a Master’s Degree?
As with any application you need a list of referees who can support your position to attend the university. Before you list anyone make sure to check the school’s method for organizing references.
A helpful tip would be to give a referee plenty of time to have something prepared when you need it. If you already know that one of your referees will not be available when you need a reference, you should ask someone else that you worked closely with either academically or professionally.
For the application, it is recommended that you use a referee from a university you attended. Referees need to be individuals who are aware of your skill level and can state whether or not you are suitable for higher education. Some people choose to use their employer as a referee, especially if they are a senior professional and have attended higher education themselves. It is not recommended to use personal relationships as referees mainly because their judgement will not be interpreted as objective.
If the university you are applying for uses the UCAS Postgraduate Application management service, you will need to make an online application. Here are some tips:
- It is recommended that you contact your referees (at least 2) before you fill in their details so that they are expecting the request
- Before you submit the application you must enter the details of your referee, including a valid email address and then send them the request for a reference
- They will then receive an email with a link and an offer to accept this request through this link
- The referees will fill in the reference for you online and once you have submitted the application the providers will be able to access this reference
- References must not contain any false or misleading information and you must not write it yourself under any circumstances
- You will be able to access the status of the requests before or after submission but you will not be able to see content once it is completed
For most academic disciplines, applying to a research programme entails applying to take on a research project (15,000-20,000 words). A proposal for a research project is basically an outline on what you plan to research. It ranges between 1,000 and 1,200 words and typically includes:
- A suggested Research Title
- Background and context explaining why your topic is important for research
- An example of the research methodology used and how the work will be organized. You also may need to include data you will collect, your collection method and analysis of the outcome
It is worthwhile considering your areas of genuine interest in your selection process for your research project/dissertation as this will be more likely to support your motivation as you work through the task.