There are many benefits to doing postgraduate study – but you need to be sure it’s the right choice for you.
The advantage of postgraduate study is that it allows you to enter employment with additional skills and knowledge. Although the main downside is that course fees can be a deterrent, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to undertake postgraduate study.
Continuing your studies
If you love what you are doing, you may want to continue your studies for their own sake. In fact, having a passion for your subject is possibly the best reason to go into postgraduate education, as long as you have a sensible idea of where it might lead you professionally once you have finished. If you aspire to a career in academia, it is essential to undertake a masters/PhD programme, and a strong interest in pursuing research would also be an asset.
Improving your job prospects
An increasingly competitive job market has forced many students to continue with lifelong learning and pursue a postgraduate certificate, diploma or masters in their initial area of study. Specialising at postgraduate level can augment your skills sets and make you a stronger job applicant. However, you should bear in mind that although most employers will recognise these additional qualifications and skills, they are not obliged to pay more for additional postgraduate qualifications.
Conversion courses offer you the opportunity to study another subject area at postgraduate level. This allows you to present yourself with skills and academic knowledge from at least two disciplines (depending on the nature of the conversion course or your initial undergraduate degree).
First steps to a career
Some professions require students to complete additional courses at postgraduate level to qualify in that area. For example, entry to careers like teaching or accountancy require further study specific to these areas like PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education).
Is this right for you?
Postgraduate programmes are demanding and fast-paced. Many undergraduates are weary on completion of full-time studies so you need to be sure you are capable of undertaking another year, or more, of study. Research masters programmes can take up to two years full-time and require lots of self-discipline and self motivation, so have you got those skills?
Many graduates may choose to take a year out to travel or to gain some work experience before embarking on further study. This can be hugely beneficial and also gives you the opportunity to gain some related work experience, and even make some money to help fund the course fees!