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How common is a Master in the UK ?

How prevalent is to have a Master in the UK ?

I live in France and pretty much everyone in the corporate world has a master. Most jobs won't hire you if you don't have one as 5y of study is the common practice.

Thoughts?

I work in a Big4 and I think I'm probably the only one not to have one....
Reply 1
Fewer than 2% of the British [population hold a master's, if memory serves.
It's worth bearing in mind in the UK there is very limited government support for pursuing a masters degree, whereas in France there is somewhat more (at the very least the Grandes Ecoles diplomas all are technically masters under the Bologna process I understand, and are usually government funded - in fact some classify you as a trainee civil servant and actually give you a regular stipend as well).

Also masters degrees in the UK are very expensive whereas in Europe in general they're fairly cheap - I don't know about France specifically but I know in e.g. Germany you just have to pay a nominal fee every term to continue matriculation and otherwise just have to pay your living costs out of pocket, so it's very cheap compared to the UK (and US, which is why a friend of mine from the US is doing his masters there).

Between those two factors, it's not really surprising masters degrees in the UK are relatively uncommon, since they're expensive and not well supported by government funding, so most just can't pursue a masters whether they want to or not.
Original post by artful_lounger
It's worth bearing in mind in the UK there is very limited government support for pursuing a masters degree, whereas in France there is somewhat more (at the very least the Grandes Ecoles diplomas all are technically masters under the Bologna process I understand, and are usually government funded - in fact some classify you as a trainee civil servant and actually give you a regular stipend as well).

Also masters degrees in the UK are very expensive whereas in Europe in general they're fairly cheap - I don't know about France specifically but I know in e.g. Germany you just have to pay a nominal fee every term to continue matriculation and otherwise just have to pay your living costs out of pocket, so it's very cheap compared to the UK (and US, which is why a friend of mine from the US is doing his masters there).

Between those two factors, it's not really surprising masters degrees in the UK are relatively uncommon, since they're expensive and not well supported by government funding, so most just can't pursue a masters whether they want to or not.


Hi ! Thanks for answering !

Would you say it's purely cost related or just there's no particular reason to further one's studies beyond a bachelor for most jobs ?

In France studies are counted on a yearly basis so Bac+3 is undergrad, bac+5 is master.

Path Grande École is around €7-15k/year. You have to do 2y of "preparation" for the entry exam upon which you will join what is referred as 3rd year of education and once you graduate the 5th year you're awarded a Master Grande École. During this time you also do 2 internships so essentially half of the time you're not studying. This is the favoured path for Business/Finance or Engineering.

Alternatively, if you go to a traditional univeristy (less than €1k), its 3y for an undergraduate and then for a master it would be 2 years.

Wondering if this system have devalued what a master is, as pretty much everyone with a corporate job in Paris ought to have a master. All job ads require specifically Bac+5. Yet a friend got a second master in the UK and he told me it was brutal, despite already having a french grande école master in finance (albeit not from a top5).

Thoughts? :smile:

I did consider getting a French master to align with national requirements but it just feels silly because I'm sure I won't learn anything I haven't already covered in my LSE BSc.
Original post by MissAccount
Hi ! Thanks for answering !

Would you say it's purely cost related or just there's no particular reason to further one's studies beyond a bachelor for most jobs ?

In France studies are counted on a yearly basis so Bac+3 is undergrad, bac+5 is master.

Path Grande École is around €7-15k/year. You have to do 2y of "preparation" for the entry exam upon which you will join what is referred as 3rd year of education and once you graduate the 5th year you're awarded a Master Grande École. During this time you also do 2 internships so essentially half of the time you're not studying. This is the favoured path for Business/Finance or Engineering.

Alternatively, if you go to a traditional univeristy (less than €1k), its 3y for an undergraduate and then for a master it would be 2 years.

Wondering if this system have devalued what a master is, as pretty much everyone with a corporate job in Paris ought to have a master. All job ads require specifically Bac+5. Yet a friend got a second master in the UK and he told me it was brutal, despite already having a french grande école master in finance (albeit not from a top5).

Thoughts? :smile:

I did consider getting a French master to align with national requirements but it just feels silly because I'm sure I won't learn anything I haven't already covered in my LSE BSc.

I don't think UK roles generally* look for masters degrees. Usually either a bachelors is sufficient, or they want you to have a PhD. Typically people doing masters degrees aiming for finance and related fields are doing it because they didn't go to a target uni for undergrad and are trying to get a target uni on their CV through the masters degree.

Bear in mind masters degrees in the UK are anywhere from £10-40k+ a year, depending on where and what you are studying. Business/finance related courses at top unis in particular tend to have extremely high tuition fee costs, and then you have to add to that the cost of studying in what are usually the most expensive cities in the UK (Oxford, Cambridge, London, Bristol, etc).

So I think it's both personally - there's less "value added" from a masters if you're going into "industry" (except for engineering and similar where people normally do an integrated undergraduate masters i.e. an MEng), and the costs make it prohibitive anyway. If you are aiming for academia and a PhD, or roles in industry requiring a PhD (e.g. quant finance, most R&D roles in STEM sectors) then you may need to get a masters, but for the STEM fields those are usually integrated into the undergraduate degree as above.

Spoiler

(edited 1 year ago)
I’m only a Jedi Knight :frown:, but I’m sure I’ll gain the rank of Master soon
Thanks !
Great thread! My take is that masters degrees are much less common and pretty much unimportant compared with a number of European countries. One reason I returned to the U.K. ( a lot of years ago) is that I could see possible career limitations not having a masters degree when pretty much everyone else at my grade and above did.

The flip side is that professional qualifications seem to be more essential to progression here than in a lot of other places.
Original post by ajj2000
Great thread! My take is that masters degrees are much less common and pretty much unimportant compared with a number of European countries. One reason I returned to the U.K. ( a lot of years ago) is that I could see possible career limitations not having a masters degree when pretty much everyone else at my grade and above did.

The flip side is that professional qualifications seem to be more essential to progression here than in a lot of other places.


Great thread but not that many responses 😅🤣

I'm kind of feeling the same. I know I'm missing out on jobs just because I don't tick that HR box. But at the same time I don't think I'll get any added benefit or new knowledge from having a master ... When I was applying for jobs, the only interviews I got were for UK companies 😅

It's strange this mismatch between UK and eu.
Original post by MissAccount
Great thread but not that many responses 😅🤣

I'm kind of feeling the same. I know I'm missing out on jobs just because I don't tick that HR box. But at the same time I don't think I'll get any added benefit or new knowledge from having a master ... When I was applying for jobs, the only interviews I got were for UK companies 😅

It's strange this mismatch between UK and eu.

I decided to move back - although I was a bit foolish possibly not going for a part time MBA.

What qualifications do you have? Any options for easy routes to pick up a masters degree?
I was looking lasg

Original post by ajj2000
I decided to move back - although I was a bit foolish possibly not going for a part time MBA.

What qualifications do you have? Any options for easy routes to pick up a masters degree?

I was looking last night at MBA but the tuition fees is craaaaazyyyy .... £50-100K
My Bsc is from LSE so don't want to go to a less ranked uni 😬 Master at LSE is 30K.
Original post by MissAccount
I was looking lasg


I was looking last night at MBA but the tuition fees is craaaaazyyyy .... £50-100K
My Bsc is from LSE so don't want to go to a less ranked uni 😬 Master at LSE is 30K.


Yup - they were much more affordable when I was looking - even if I hadn't received some company contribution. Drinking seemed more important at the time....

What work do you do in big 4? If consulting is there no chance of some sponsorship?

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