(Original post by returnmigrant)
1) "I really enjoyed doing the undergrad". Masters is very different - much more independent work, a much smaller course group who wont be as 'social and therefore you'll have a limited 'student experience' etc. If you are thinking of doing a Masters because you don't want your undergrad years to end, think carefully about the reality of postgrad life.
2) No, it wont give you any sort of edge for employment. You'll still be a fresh graduate with no useful work experience - and no evidence of vocational skills..
3) You'll be further in debt. Funding for Arts postgrad is pitifully small and the new postgrad loans (if they actually happen) wont cover anything like the full cost of a 12 month course.
4) A Masters in 'History' is pretty pointless unless you think you may (eventually) apply for a PhD. A more useful qualification would be an MA giving you an employment skill - Museum Studies, Archive Management, Archeology etc, and even then without relevant work experience this is still risky straight after an undergrad degree.
5) Get a job. Then think about the real point/purpose of doing postgrad.
Sorry if this sounds hugely negative - I counsel students daily who will admit that 'doing a Masters' is a nice way of putting off the 'real world' job decisions off for another year, and extending their 'student experience'. Its usually a very expensive and disappointing year - and they realise at the end of it that they are no more qualified for anything than before the Masters degree.
This is generally awful advice and I hope people are not making decisions based on it.
1) A taught masters is very similar to final year of undergrad - the only real differences, typically, are no lectures (seminars only) and twelve rather than nine months in length. The structure is almost identical, i.e. taught modules for two semesters and a dissertation of 10-15k words at the end. A masters by research or an MPhil or a PhD are significantly different as they are dissertation-only; you aren't a student so much as a full-time independent researcher.
2) Whether it gives you an advantage in employment depends on the particularities of the job and the person. E.g. I interned at PwC's research consultancy stream and they look favourably upon postgraduate study in your application, regardless of subject. You will also further develop personal and transferable skills which you may not develop if you just get any old job in which you will not apply yourself.
3) The postgraduate loan of £10k will be sufficient providing you have a part time job (which all students ought to) and don't apply to an expensive university, i.e. avoid London. My course was £4k at the best department in the UK based on research output in my branch. Accomodation was £4k. That still left £2k plus earnings - I was very comfortable. I'm in no extra debt as I saved up the funds required, which is very common.
4) and 5) Whether a masters in history is pointless depends on the person; their aspirations, interests, view of life, etc. If you have a passion for the subject then it won't be pointless as time enjoyed is not time wasted. You should always pursue your strongest interests. If after some self-reflection you feel that, actually, history was an interest during your undergraduate years but not presently your strongest
interest and perhaps does not fit into what you ultimately want from life, then consider alternatives. As long as your next step is always pointed in the direction that you are most enthusiastic about, it will not be pointless.
When people say "x masters is pointless" what they really mean is "x masters is pointless for a specific job and in my view of how life is meant to be lived".
The mindset today is that if an action or decision isn't directly geared towards a job then it is pointless - nevermind the personal and professional enjoyment and development you may experience and the doors it may open - only the job-focus is the criterion by which the action ought to be judged. It's a symptom of a much greater problem of consumerism that Edward Skidelsky wrote a great little book on with his father (and with whom I was lucky enough to be supervised by). In other words, your decision on embarking into postgraduate study - or into anything in life - should be based on numerous factors, weighted as per your interests and goals. Blanket statements as in the previous post will not do.