Student and Graduate Publishing

Start the New Year with a Masters

Sunday, 11 January 2015 16:05

If you’re looking to start a Masters in the new year, you may be able to start sooner than you thought.  MastersCompare has over 130 courses starting in January and February 2015. A diverse range of study modes are on offer, including fulltime, part time and online learning, from a range of universities and covering the full range of subject areas.  See the full list at

To help you with your search for a postgraduate Masters, MastersCompare has put together some useful things to think about when creating a shortlist once you’ve found your courses of interest:

Deciding on YOUR priorities

Knowing what you want, even if you don’t get all of it, will help you choose between courses. What are your basic criteria for a Masters level course?

Modules - how much choice is there really? – some masters courses offer a specific set of modules or courses which all students follow, whilst others have a wide range you can choose from. If there are modules you are particularly interested in, check to make sure they will definitely be offered the year you want to do the course. 

Specialist masters courses – some specialist masters courses can be specific about entry requirements, looking for students who have focussed on this in some way in their first degree, or in some cases, their job. Two courses with the same name at different Universities may have different emphases and cover different areas of specialisation, depending on the expertise and interest of the academics. 

Interdisciplinary masters courses – these can be found across the subjects, from Arts and Humanities to Engineering through science and social science. Occasionally, when a course is described as interdisciplinary this can refer to the range of students the course is applicable to, rather than the content offered.

Conversion courses – despite their name, these aren’t always available to everyone, eg there may be business courses specifically aimed at engineers or scientists, or humanities courses aimed at students who already have a first degree in another area of humanities or social sciences, or medicine conversion courses aimed only at scientists. We’d always recommend looking first at the entry qualifications and who the course is aimed at.

Masters courses related to the stage of your career – if you are looking at a specifically job related masters course, it’s useful to know what career stage the course is aimed at – check this out carefully as some may imply they are for everyone when they actually have a focus at one level or another or where most students actually attending the course are from a particular career stage. The list of modules should give you a good idea, as should any student profiles and information on graduate destinations. If it's vague or unclear, ask the University.

Assessment – all masters course descriptions should include how they are assessed. If you have decided that you can’t face any more exams, then look out for continuous assessment. Many masters courses include a project or a dissertation, so if you like the course but that’s not your favourite part, take a look to see if you could do the course up to PG Diploma level – some courses are designed so that you can do the taught elements of the course but leave out the dissertation, although you don’t get the full masters if you do that.

Internships and Placements – some courses include some time in a company or organisation related to the course content. Some Masters courses will expect you to find your own placement, others will have established contacts within the industry. 

Accreditations and ‘required’ courses for career advancement – if you need a certain professional accreditation, always check the course description wording very carefully to make sure the level accreditation is correct for what you need. 

Start your search today.