February 5, 2016, by Alice Gould

Should I Do a Masters?

By Alice Gould

Before I went on my year abroad in Sweden, I had no intention of doing a masters; the thought had never crossed my mind.

Law students aren’t really expected to do a masters. In fact, I’d even been told by a law firm at a careers event that they didn’t care about masters at all!

That all changed on my year abroad.

I had gone on a hike during Welcome Week and was talking to a girl from the Netherlands. She asked me what I planned to do my masters in. When I told her I wasn’t planning on doing one, she looked at me as if I’d told her I was going to rip up my degree transcript and go to clown school.

As I talked to more people in the international community, I began to realise that in most other countries a masters is considered an essential part of your education. If I ever wanted to work internationally—which I do—I was going to have to rethink my education choices.

Where should I do a masters?

One of the main reasons I never considered doing a masters was the huge cost. Most of the human rights masters I liked the look of in the UK cost around £7,000, not to mention the living expenses. Neither myself nor my parents have this kind of money just lying around, and the idea of another loan terrified me.

However, the UK isn’t the only option. As a member of the EU, we have access to education in all other member states – many of which offer free education. There are also many other countries with much lower rates.

After several long research sessions, I have narrowed my options down to three: a two year Erasmus Mundus MA Human Rights Policy and Practice, which takes place in London, Sweden, and Spain; a one year course in human rights and democratisation, with the first semester in Venice and a second semester in one of their partner institutions; and a one year human rights masters in Hong Kong.

Now or a year later?

I’d always planned to do a gap year after university, but now I’m not sure whether I should apply for a masters right away.

Applications have opened and a part of me is desperate to apply now – just so I feel like I have a plan. At the same time, I feel I will be in a stronger position if I wait until I’ve had a year out and completed some work experience or internships. I guess I’ll keep you updated on my choice!

Are you wondering if you should do a masters? You can find out more about further study on the Careers and Employability website or book an appointment with a careers adviser to talk through your options. For quick queries, send a tweet to @UoNCareers.

Posted in Alumni StoriesCareers AdviceChoosing Your CareerInternational StudentsStudent Bloggers