(Possible!) Mature Masters student needing all the advice you can give!

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Keep UK Metric
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Hi everyone

I am new to Student Room. I posted my query below in a different thread but I'm trying over here as I think Mature Students are more my crowd! There's a bit of detail, so stick with me.

My background: I'm mid 40s and a dad of two school-aged kids. Mum works full-time, I'm the kids' main carer. For the past decade I have combined being a stay at home dad with being a high profile parenting influencer. I'm now looking to the future as I can't do what I'm doing forever.

My highest educational qualification is a Higher National Diploma in Media / Journalism. I am thinking of either doing an MA or MSc in media. The long term aim might be to teach at 6th Form, further ed or higher ed level, but I may see if the MA opens up other options for me.

Another option is to 'top up' my HND by doing some modules with the Open University and converting it to an Open BA Degree. After this I could then go into secondary school teaching. But. . . the OU may not let me do this because I did my HND such a long time ago. I have had to ask for a special extension on my previous study transfer credits.

There are two (Online) Masters degrees I have been encouraged to apply for because of my industry experience.

I suspect you lot have a lot more experience in these things. My questions being:

1) Do you think I could realistically work two days a week, study and study two days if I did the MA part time?

2) For someone in my position who has got to do childcare and some paid work, might a taught Masters be a better option than one involving research?

3) What probing questions should I ask while trying to figure who to study with?

4) Any other insights / ideas / suggestions gratefully received!
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tinygirl96
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Firstly make up a list of goals. Next this type of thing is best discussed via email or over the phone. Face to face is also good. Request a proper formal meeting in order to discuss everything etc. Sort out your childcare plans now as well in case. You can then try
to search online for local qualified babysitters or hire one in person, ensure that you know everything about that particular person in question. Interview a few likely applicants and candidates carefully to find out all the details. Best of luck. Vet people wholly.
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ChammyIRL
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1) Do you think I could realistically work two days a week, study and study two days if I did the MA part time?

Part-time? Definitely. I'm starting my masters in January which is full-time and I'm looking for part-time work around it. Most masters courses are designed so students can also work with the fact there is no maintenance available. My course is only 8 hours of contact time (either in person or online) so work is very doable - it's when it gets to dissertation time that it'll be fun trying to balance it.

2) For someone in my position who has got to do childcare and some paid work, might a taught Masters be a better option than one involving research?


I'd say this is a very personal decision. If you are very proactive then a research one should be fine, for me, I like the taught aspect and really struggle to get motivated. I'm glad I chose physical uni, rather than online, for my courses otherwise I'd never have get them done haha.

Advice...just go for it. You'll find a workaround, especially if it's something you really want to do. Both my husband and I went back to uni as mature students. He quit his very well paid job to study physics and I've been a blogger for 6 years so continued to do that around my studies, though it took a back seat. We have a 12-year-old who is much more self-sufficient now, however, 2-3 years ago, during the holidays he would have to come into uni with us
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Keep UK Metric)
Hi everyone

I am new to Student Room. I posted my query below in a different thread but I'm trying over here as I think Mature Students are more my crowd! There's a bit of detail, so stick with me.

My background: I'm mid 40s and a dad of two school-aged kids. Mum works full-time, I'm the kids' main carer. For the past decade I have combined being a stay at home dad with being a high profile parenting influencer. I'm now looking to the future as I can't do what I'm doing forever.

My highest educational qualification is a Higher National Diploma in Media / Journalism. I am thinking of either doing an MA or MSc in media. The long term aim might be to teach at 6th Form, further ed or higher ed level, but I may see if the MA opens up other options for me.

Another option is to 'top up' my HND by doing some modules with the Open University and converting it to an Open BA Degree. After this I could then go into secondary school teaching. But. . . the OU may not let me do this because I did my HND such a long time ago. I have had to ask for a special extension on my previous study transfer credits.

There are two (Online) Masters degrees I have been encouraged to apply for because of my industry experience.

I suspect you lot have a lot more experience in these things. My questions being:

1) Do you think I could realistically work two days a week, study and study two days if I did the MA part time?

2) For someone in my position who has got to do childcare and some paid work, might a taught Masters be a better option than one involving research?

3) What probing questions should I ask while trying to figure who to study with?

4) Any other insights / ideas / suggestions gratefully received!
You seem to want to go into some form of teaching - I think you need to look at completing an undergraduate degree before thinking about Masters level courses. Who was it who encouraged you to apply to the online masters courses - the online providers themselves?

You don't say how long ago the HND was, but I suspect it was some time ago. It probably can't be 'topped up' now, and it may be difficult to get APL (accreditation for prior learning) for it as well, if it was a very long time ago, and you have not engaged in any academic learning or activities in the interim. Any decent university is going to need to see some evidence of recent academic study and attainment at Level 3 (A level) or equivalent before being happy to admit you onto a course, and I certainly can't see how (or indeed would ever recommend) you jump into a Masters level programme if you have been out of academic learning for a length of time. I appreciate you say you have 'industry experience', and sometimes this can be used in large part towards entry for an undergraduate programme (in terms of a general 'non-standard' offering), but industry experience ≠ an adequate academic preparation in a lot of cases.

Each university is going to have an opinion on what you are qualified to take now, and what they might like to see from you before you enrol on a programme. The best thing is going to be for you to draw up a shortlist of potential universities and speak to an AT about your circumstances.
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Keep UK Metric
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(Original post by ChammyIRL)
1) Do you think I could realistically work two days a week, study and study two days if I did the MA part time?

Part-time? Definitely. I'm starting my masters in January which is full-time and I'm looking for part-time work around it. Most masters courses are designed so students can also work with the fact there is no maintenance available. My course is only 8 hours of contact time (either in person or online) so work is very doable - it's when it gets to dissertation time that it'll be fun trying to balance it.

2) For someone in my position who has got to do childcare and some paid work, might a taught Masters be a better option than one involving research?


I'd say this is a very personal decision. If you are very proactive then a research one should be fine, for me, I like the taught aspect and really struggle to get motivated. I'm glad I chose physical uni, rather than online, for my courses otherwise I'd never have get them done haha.

Advice...just go for it. You'll find a workaround, especially if it's something you really want to do. Both my husband and I went back to uni as mature students. He quit his very well paid job to study physics and I've been a blogger for 6 years so continued to do that around my studies, though it took a back seat. We have a 12-year-old who is much more self-sufficient now, however, 2-3 years ago, during the holidays he would have to come into uni with us
Hurrah! Someone with kids who gets what I needed to know! Really appreciate this response. Given me much food for thought.
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Keep UK Metric
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(Original post by Reality Check)
You seem to want to go into some form of teaching - I think you need to look at completing an undergraduate degree before thinking about Masters level courses. Who was it who encouraged you to apply to the online masters courses - the online providers themselves?

You don't say how long ago the HND was, but I suspect it was some time ago. It probably can't be 'topped up' now, and it may be difficult to get APL (accreditation for prior learning) for it as well, if it was a very long time ago, and you have not engaged in any academic learning or activities in the interim. Any decent university is going to need to see some evidence of recent academic study and attainment at Level 3 (A level) or equivalent before being happy to admit you onto a course, and I certainly can't see how (or indeed would ever recommend) you jump into a Masters level programme if you have been out of academic learning for a length of time. I appreciate you say you have 'industry experience', and sometimes this can be used in large part towards entry for an undergraduate programme (in terms of a general 'non-standard' offering), but industry experience ≠ an adequate academic preparation in a lot of cases.

Each university is going to have an opinion on what you are qualified to take now, and what they might like to see from you before you enrol on a programme. The best thing is going to be for you to draw up a shortlist of potential universities and speak to an AT about your circumstances.
Based on this response, I may go and join the French Foreign Legion instead!
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Keep UK Metric)
Based on this response, I may go and join the French Foreign Legion instead!
I'm sorry - I thought you were looking for accurate and meaningful advice, rather than just platitudes and 'go team'.

I can't change facts just because they're unpalatable to you.
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