March 30, 2023, by aoyab1

Choosing a Master’s: My Tips

By Alice Bennett, Politics and International Relations student blogger

Choosing a master’s is a big decision that requires a lot of careful thought and consideration. Taken from my own experience as a current master’s student, here are five tips to consider when exploring the option of further study.

1. Do something that will help your career

Your career path is the most important thing to consider, particularly if you have a clear plan in mind. A postgraduate degree can be a great opportunity to expand and develop your skillset in your discipline to impress employers as well as providing a chance to change your path with a conversion course. These courses include subjects such as Law and Psychology, and are available to applicants from a variety of undergraduate degrees.

2. Don’t do a panic master’s!

Coming from someone who partially chose to do a master’s because I didn’t know what else to do, do NOT do a master’s if you simply don’t know what to do after your undergraduate degree. Personally, I feel that postgraduate study was right for me, and I am passionate about my subject and am making the most of extracurriculars and opportunities that the university provides. However, undertaking a master’s without much thought would be a mistake, especially given that it’s often very expensive.

3. Do something you love

A master’s (and I’m guessing a PhD) is very difficult. It’s time-consuming, demanding and requires far more independent study than undergraduate degrees. Choosing a subject that you are passionate about is essential given the amount of self-motivation that postgraduate study entails.

4. Don’t base your decisions off of others’ opinions

I have encountered quite a lot of negativity when I chose to do a master’s and it isn’t all unfounded. It is an important decision, and postgraduate study requires a lot of sacrifices (both time and money), however, the decision should be yours alone. Although if you’re unsure, it can be beneficial to speak with the Careers team about your ideas.

5. Do plan your finances

As mentioned before, if you don’t receive any funding for your chosen master’s, it can get rather pricey. Some companies pay for their employees to undertake a master’s, and there are many other ways to obtain funding, but it is worth planning your finances far in advance either way as you may need time before you begin your studies to save up, particularly if you are planning on renting accommodation. Trust me, you don’t want to be working too many hours at a part-time job whilst working on your dissertation.

Personally, I have greatly enjoyed my master’s and staying at Nottingham has been a brilliant experience, and I would recommend looking into a master’s degree if there is a subject you are passionate about or a course that would help you progress in your career.

Explore the Careers webpages on further study to help with your research and planning. Still unsure? Book an appointment to chat to a careers adviser. 

Posted in Choosing Your CareerFurther studyPostgraduate Taught Students