You may be considering postgraduate study for any number of reasons, but here are a few to get you started, courtesy of Queen’s University Belfast:
You don’t have to do it at all
A strange reason?
Well, hear us out. Let’s be honest – a lot of you probably chose your undergraduate degree to please someone else.
We’re all suckers for the approving nod of the parent, the affirming smile of the careers teacher. Maybe you were predicted certain grades and went for the most obvious option.
Or, horrified at having to enjoy a pint or a cocktail on your own, you went where your mates were headed.
When it comes to postgraduate study, you’ll be older, wiser, and, having lived off Super Noodles and toast for the last three years, more conscious of the value of money.
You have the luxury of choosing something that really interests you and specialising in that subject. You’ll have the opportunity to try living somewhere new and meet some different people. The very fact that all this is optional means that the pressure’s off – if you want to do it, you will. With unbridled enthusiasm.
There. You see? Hopefully that little piece of reverse psychology worked…
You’ll actually enjoy your subject
The world is your oyster with postgraduate study. Undergraduate degrees have to cover a lot of ground in their three or four years, so chances are that some of your modules had you gripped, whilst others had you doodling on your lecture notes and thinking of more important issues, such as
• If your student loan would stretch to a holiday this year
• Who’s that in the second row? Haven’t seen them before
• Could you get away with wearing your socks for a third day?
• Drawing irises on your eyelids so you can grab a quick kip
With a Masters, you have the choice. With only your favourite topic at the forefront, your yawn rate will decrease significantly.
You’ll meet like-minded people
The postgraduate community at university tends to be a small unit, with their own spaces, accommodation and secret handshake.
Well, maybe not the last one, but it’s true that they nearly always enjoy more exclusive social and academic facilities.
Postgraduate students tend to come from all walks of life, exposing you to a greater variety of customs, languages and backgrounds than you probably experienced as an undergraduate.
Plus your colleagues, like you, will have a fascination for their subject area. It doesn’t have to be the same as yours – one of the great things about postgraduate study is the opportunity to hear others’ perspectives on life, academic and otherwise.
Chatting to current postgrads can give you invaluable insights into everything from funding your studies to where to get the best burrito. If you’d rather try before you buy, universities often run dedicated postgraduate open days.
It could provide a change of scene
People choose to study a Masters for all sorts of reasons – they’re at the end of their career tether and want a change. They want to stay on as a student. They couldn’t spare the time or the money earlier in life but they can now. They want to specialise to increase their earning potential…
Whatever your reason, a postgraduate degree is a gateway to new places and new opportunities.
Like the departure gate at the airport. Sort of.
Your wallet will thank you
Not at the outset, obviously. Postgraduate study isn’t cheap, but then premium products aren’t. You wouldn’t pick up a new BMW for a few quid and then expect twenty years’ loyal service from it.
A Masters is an investment in your future. Those two or three extra letters after your name (well, six if you include your undergrad too) will open more employment doors and help you stand out from the crowd as though you were balancing on stilts and wearing a neon wig.
(Some of the best positions out there actually require their applicants to have a postgraduate degree).
Masters = more senior position = more figures rolling into your bank account on pay day.
So your wallet will – eventually – thank you.
You’re still a student, but with fewer drawbacks
Postgraduate study can often be structured around work and home life, so you’ll be able to live a relatively normal life compared to your undergraduate days, whilst continuing to enjoy the perks of student life - the university atmosphere, the intellectual challenges, the interdisciplinary environment… and discount on your cinema tickets. What’s not to like?
You’ll officially be able to call yourself a ‘master’
Pretty cool, you have to admit.
Whatever you plan to do after you receive your scroll and your handshake, the adage ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ will no longer apply to you.