Future Learning

What’s next? Could Postgraduate study be for you?

As you hurtle towards the end of your degree, rather than be ready to leave it all behind, are you thinking you might like to pursue your subject further?

Whilst some people will have applied for their Masters study already, there’s still plenty time to consider your options and apply.  Many courses here, and at other Universities accept applications into the summer – but it’s always worth checking as some will close if they fill up.

Funding for Masters courses can be difficult to find, but there is some out there. Quite often, funding is at course level and so it’s always worth looking at the school or department website for the course you’re looking to apply for.

More general funding available here includes The University’s Manchester Master’s Bursary which offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000. The bursaries are aimed at widening access to master’s courses by removing barriers to postgraduate education for students from underrepresented groups. This means that applicants need to meet a number of criteria to be eligible, take a look if you’re eligible – but be quick the closing date is the 31st May

All that said, it’s easy to feel rushed or pressured if you have nothing definite planned, but it’s important that you really think about whether postgraduate study is the right option for you.

Reasons for considering postgraduate study:

1) You’re passionate about the subject you’ve studied at first-degree level and you feel you still have the enthusiasm and commitment for further study.

2) Furthering or enhancing your career prospects. There is a word of caution attached to this school of thought. Whilst academic ability is one of the skills graduate employers will be looking for, it is one of many and so if this is your primary reason for thinking about further study you might want to discuss your thoughts further with a careers advisor. That said, postgraduate study is a pre requisite for some jobs and there is research to suggests that postgraduates earn more over the course of their careers.

3) You’re looking for a change of direction. It is true many postgraduate courses can act as conversion courses if you want to enter a different sector, but make sure you do your research about which courses employers are looking for.

Other things to consider:

  • Finding you’re not eligible for funding or that it’s already been allocated can be disheartening, however, as funding is limited most Masters’ students are self-funding and many consider part time study for this reason.
  • Staying on because you love university and don’t want to leave isn’t always the best reason to do a Masters course! Think about how things will be changing for everyone. How many of your friends are staying on?  Will they be studying or working?  Will you have the motivation needed for your course?
  • Staying on because you don’t know what else to do? Again not a great reason to choose further study! It’s perhaps best you discuss your thoughts with a careers advisor, or talk to an academic tutor about the reality of postgraduate study.

Further advice on undertaking postgraduate study and postgraduate courses can be found from The Careers Service , FindAMasters and Prospects.  

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