Careers Future Learning

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

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As you head into the last leg of your final year, chances are you’ll have started to think about what comes next. If you’re unsure about a ‘career’ following graduation and aren’t excited by the prospect of a 9-5 just yet, then further study might be for you. In fact around 20 per cent of undergraduates go on to further study.

Things to think about…

And, if postgraduate study isn’t something you’ve seriously thought about before, here are some of the reasons graduates go onto further study:

  • You absolutely love the subject you have been studying at undergraduate level. You still have a passion for it and feel you have the enthusiasm and commitment for further study. Maybe there is an area you would like to research further, or a particular module you loved. There might even have been something you didn’t get to study that you would like the chance to. The work you’re doing now might have sparked some ideas for what you’d like to research further; undertaking specific research during a dissertation or project will allow you to become an authority on your chosen subject, and it’s a real achievement when you see your bound dissertation or thesis.
  • Furthering or enhancing your career prospects. Many employers love applicants who have gone onto do further study as it shows deep commitment, ability to work independently and set your own deadlines. Consider the skills you would learn from postgraduate study and how these can be transferable to the roles you are interested in; you will need to be able to articulate the additional skills extra studies have given you. This is even more reason to make sure the course is right for you! Make sure you are genuinely excited about your course and consider if it has opportunities such as placements or projects you can get involved with that will increase your employability.
  • Postgraduate study is a prerequisite for your chosen career. For some jobs, postgraduate study is a requirement, so ensure you research enough to find out exactly what qualifications you need. You will need a PGCE, for example, if you want to go into teaching. You might also be interested in taking a postgraduate conversion course, which allows you to enter a profession you have not studied at undergraduate level. This course might be desirable to employees and may be more directly linked to your chosen career. If this is your primary reason for thinking about further study, however, you might want to discuss your thoughts further with a careers advisor and do some research on your chosen field.
  • You’re looking for a change of direction. So you are passionate about a subject – just not exactly the one you’re doing? Or, there is a similar or overlapping field that you would like to explore more. Some Master’s courses offer study in fields that are not available at Undergraduate level, so this may be your opportunity to study more in an area that interests you. Many postgraduate courses accept people from a range of related academic backgrounds, so don’t be put off by your undergrad course.

Funding postgraduate study

We know this can be a big issue when thinking about further study and it’s important to explore your option and sites such as FindAMasters , Find A PhD, Postgraduate Studentships and  Prospects are all really useful resources.

The University website has information about funding and the University also has a bursary for students who are looking at studying a Master’s at Manchester. The Manchester Master’s Bursary is now open for applications up til 11 June 2023 .

Further advice and information

Sign up for one of our subject-specific or general information sessions to get a sense of what it’s like to study for a Master’s, and specifically what it’s like to study for one at Manchester.

On a final note, it’s easy to feel rushed or pressured at this time in your studies if you don’t have anything definite planned, but it’s important that you really think about whether postgraduate study is the right option for you. Further advice on your next steps, including postgraduate study can be found at The Careers Service.

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