X Close

UCL Careers

Home

Find Your Future

Menu

Archive for the 'Masters' Category

Is a Masters Right for me? Assessing Your Options for Postgraduate Study

Joe O'Brien1 July 2020

Read time: 3 minutes

Written by Nicole Estwick, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

Dissertation complete. Exams over and Graduation is approaching. What’s next? For some, heading straight into full time employment may be the obvious choice but for a growing number of students, further study is becoming an increasingly popular option, particularly this year where according to careers platform Prospects* there has been a 40% increase in postgraduate course searches during Spring 2020- the period in which the Covid 19 outbreak reached its peak in the UK.

But how do you decide whether or not continuing onto postgraduate study is right for you, especially as someone who may be graduating this year? In this post we’ll cover some of the key points you may want consider in your decision making process.

  1. Should I do a Masters straight after my undergraduate degree?

Continuing on to complete a Masters straight after your undergraduate degree is a popular option for those who do not wish to disrupt the familiarity of studying at university or want to continue to develop a deeper understanding of their subject, however it is not the only option. Many individuals who study at postgraduate level are in fact mature students with 61% aged 25 or older coming back to study after a period of work experience. In some cases, employers may even sponsor students to complete a Masters part time alongside their professional role.

In the current climate where parts of the job market remain unclear for graduates, continuing onto complete a Masters this year may help you to build up your skills and expertise in a particular area to increase your chances of success for when the job market returns to normal so it’s worth considering if this could be an option for you. Alternatively you may want to assess if it would be better to take on postgraduate study after or alongside gaining work experience and once you have a clearer sense of your career goals.

  1. Is a Masters essential for my chosen career path?

A Postgraduate level qualification is an essential requirement to enter some professions, but not all, therefore it’s important to assess the value of a Masters qualification in relation to your career goals.

Take the time to research this by looking at job descriptions to see if a Masters is listed as essential (required) or desirable (not required) and gather insights from individuals working in the field you’re interested in through networking platforms such as LinkedIn or the UCL Alumni Online Community. Finally, seeking out whether the companies you are interested in are hiring at present and what value they  place against work experience vs. academic qualifications is also very useful – this will vary from sector by sector but the insights gathered may help you to move forward in making a decision on whether to continue your studies.

  1. How will I fund further study?

Another big consideration to make in terms of pursuing further study is the financial investment required. Postgraduate study in the UK differs to your undergraduate degree in that course fees vary across subjects and can be higher in some cases than your original degree meaning that you may need to . Although there are financial bursaries and scholarships available, these vary between each university and can be competitive. Before making a decision, it is worth assessing if pursuing a postgraduate degree would be a good investment and if you have the tools in place to support yourself financially for an extended period of study along with general living costs. The website findamasters.com has some useful advice on this.

  1. Have I considered alternative options?

Finally, postgraduate study is not solely limited to Masters Programmes and some professions such as accountancy and HR require separate qualifications that must be completed as industry standard. These can be Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma courses. Another alternative are online courses available on platforms such as Futurelearn, Coursera and more which offer a chance to gain a in a broad range of academic and vocational subjects. Although these may not go into the same level of detail as a traditional Masters course and accreditation may vary, they offer a more flexible and often cheaper way to gain a qualification that you can make use of in your future career. It’s worth considering if this form of further study is recognised by employers in the area you’re interested in and if this could work for you as an alternative to a traditional Master’s qualification.

Thinking through your ideas for further study with the points above in mind may help you in your decision making process on whether or not to continue your studies as applications come to a close over the summer months.

For those requiring further support in assessing their options you can book into speak to a careers consultant in a 1:1 short guidance appointment or check out our ‘Should I do a Masters?’ CareersLab video.

UCL Careers Researchers Programme – Summer 2019

UCL Careers18 March 2019


Find your future: UCL Careers Researchers EventsUCL Careers are delighted to confirm their programme of workshops and events for the summer term 2019, specifically designed for UCL’s Researcher’s community.

The programme includes workshops led by UCL Careers Consultants, for careers both in academia and beyond, to help researchers identify and develop core competencies, which are vital for competing in the job market, as well as a mix of Employer Forums and Employer Workshops that give the opportunity to hear from professionals in a range of sectors outside of academia, to ask questions, understand the job market and build business networks.

Researchers won’t want to miss the big event of the summer term – the annual full-day ‘Professional Careers Beyond Academia’ Conference. Presented by UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network & UCL Careers, supported by UCL Organisational Development, this conference will be held at the Institute of Child Health on 6th June, focusing on the field of life & health sciences and its related areas, such as UK and Global Public Health, Science Communications, Research & Development, Consultancy, Government Policy and more.

Booking on all events is now open.

For the full programme of events/workshops coming up for researchers this summer and book your place/s, please view the ‘Events Calendar’ on our Researchers page.

 

Any queries, please contact careers.researchers@ucl.ac.uk

Want to know more about the PhD application process? Attend ‘Applying for a PhD’ on 7th Dec

uczjvwa23 November 2015

Are you an undergraduate or master’s degree student who would like to know more about the PhD application process and what studying a PhD is like? Then sign up to attend ‘Applying for a PhD’! The event will take place on 7th December from 13:00 to 14:00 and will give you the chance to hear 3 UCL PhD students answer questions about how they applied for a PhD and what life as a PhD student is like. The PhD students will be sitting on a panel and will answer a variety of questions on topics such as PhD funding, finding a supervisor as well as how they found the transition from an undergraduate/masters degree to PhD.

Book now using your My UCL Careers account

Panel of speakers:

Marion Brooks-Barlett – PhD graduate in Material Physics

Marion Brooks-Bartlett is a recent PhD graduate in Material Physics who conducted research into phases and phase transitions of novel magnetic materials, which have potential use in spintronics. Whilst her PhD was highly technical, she undertook a largely experimental Master’s degree in Chemistry, obtaining a first class with honours. Both degrees she obtained from UCL with a joint funded PhD studentship from Uppsala Universitet, Sweden. Besides research, Marion has a strong interest for diversity in science. She is an appointed member of the first Inclusion and Diversity committee for the Royal Society of Chemistry and was a member of the Athena Swan committee, during her PhD, helping the department work towards a Silver Award.

Michael Flower – 2nd year PhD student in Clinical Neurosciences

I am a Clinical Research Fellow and Honorary Neurology Registrar at the UCL Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital for Neurology. I’m currently in the second year of a 4 year PhD in Clinical Neurosciences researching the genetics of neurodegenerative diseases.  I take a genomic, transcriptomic and cell biology approach.

Before this I worked on the pathogenic mechanisms underlying multiple sclerosis, next-generation sequencing in spinocerebellar ataxias, paroxysmal disorders and hereditary neuropathies, and RNA metabolism and axonal transport in motor neurone disease at Bristol University.

I graduated in medicine and neuroscience from Cambridge University, where I was awarded the Jimm Knott prize. I enjoy teaching and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. At Bristol University I was an Honorary Clinical Lecturer and gained a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education.

Heather Scott – 4th year PhD student in English Language and Literature

Heather Scott is currently completing the final year of her PhD at UCL in the Department of English Language and Literature. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Regina, Canada, and then undertook a Master of Letters in Victorian Literature at the University of Glasgow. Her PhD thesis examines the rise of the Garden Cemetery in London.

Kirsty Wood – 4th year PhD student in Structural Biology

Kirsty is in her 4th year of a CASE Studentship PhD in Structural Biology, in partnership with The Binding Site. She graduated from the University of Bristol in Pharmacology, afterwards working for 4 years as a Scientific Officer at the Chelsea site of the Institute of Cancer Research. She then completed an MRes in Molecular Neuroscience at St. George’s/Royal Holloway, University of London, with a brief stint at the University of Cambridge for a collaboration, before commencing her PhD at UCL. Her current work focuses on elucidating protein structures of antibody fragments to investigate mechanisms of amyloid fibril formation.