Masters degrees. Are they worth the extra money? Are they for me? There’s a wide range of advantages to completing postgraduate study.
Can having an extra qualification really help you get a job? Well, of course, this depends on what subject your Masters degree is in, but generally yes. 74% of young postgraduates were in high-skilled employment after completing their Masters degrees.
Furthermore, postgraduates begin work at a higher rate than undergraduates. Charlie Ball, deputy director of research at the Higher Education Careers Service Unit reported that “usually the uplift is about £2-3k to start with, so first degree graduates might be on around £17-22k six months after finishing their course, with Masters grads on slightly more.”
Having this added qualification will help your CV to stand out to employers especially those looking for applicants with specialised knowledge. And Masters degrees are a great option for allowing you to specialise in your chosen field.
Masters degrees are also a welcome option to the so-called Boomerang Generation: the undergraduates who return home still unsure of what they want to do in life. Having an extra year to think through your options can be highly beneficial. You can research more into potential career avenues and see whether they are for you.
And it might be more gratifying for you to wait one year to find the job you want to do, rather than just rushing into a job that you think you think you should do.
And finally, it is also another year of independence. You don’t have to return home to be stifled and smothered by your parents.
An important thing to consider when deciding whether to do a Masters degree is the costs. With student loan debts in the trillions, it may not make much sense to add to this number.
And how much you pay differs from university to university. Leeds Trinity offer English MAs for £2000, while Oxford quotes fees from £5,970 to £30,488 for MSc courses, such as medicine.
But you should remember that as a grad student, there will be plenty of scholarships that you could apply for. Many graduate studies departments may also have teaching or research assistant positions, which allow you to earn while you learn. At university, I was taught by lecturers who were studying for their PHDs.
If you thought that undergraduate degrees were difficult, then you ain’t seen nothing yet! Masters degrees have a far stronger emphasis on independent learning than undergraduate degrees. While you might be used to writing a 10,000 word dissertation at undergraduate level, this could quite easily double within a Masters degree.
And research projects for postgraduate students are just as gruelling. Take a gander at some of the dissertations completed by Master's students at De Montfort University. Some are over a hundred pages long.
If you think you’re up to the challenge, then you’ll find that the whole experience is great for building your character. As you’re working so independently, you’ll find it is solely up to you to solve any problems you encounter. This means you’ll become far more self-reliant and self-confident.
These are known as transferable skills and Master's degrees are great for developing them and encouraging you to take them into your future job and beyond.
Although it definitely isn’t for everyone, Masters degrees are a great option for those wanting to gain more skills and experience or to specialise in their chosen fields. And if you’re afraid of leaving university as a jobless undergraduate, then Masters degrees help to keep the scary working adult world at bay for another year.