Although there are some that choose to study full-time, most MSc Systems Engineering Management (SEM) students are professional engineers in full-time work. It’s not an easy option – balancing work, study and your home life – so why do it? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot recently as I am also in the middle of a part-time programme – in my case an MBA with the OU. Having taken an eighteen-month pause when starting with UCLse, it’s now time to get on and complete it.
Even though I’m just over half way through I still had a lot to think about in deciding to get back to it. After all, half way means at least another eighteen months of studying after work and at weekends – more, if I pace out the modules a bit. I have to admit I don’t think I’ve found a killer argument for doing this, though I’ve discussed it with a lot of people. Often the horror of having to put yourself through more exams is mentioned and it’s true that’s not greatly appealing. What I’ve found harder is the discipline of continuously doing the extra study throughout the course. A 15-credit module is equivalent to around 150 study hours. With work and personal life going on, that implies quite a commitment every week, even before you throw in some family holidays and life’s little hiccups (obviously, just how much depends on the length of the course).
Despite this, I’ve still been motivated to continue as I’ve found that there’s so much you get out of it even as you go along. I was initially surprised how much the study could have an immediate impact on what I was doing work-wise – and of course this only builds as time goes by and you get more experience. Though I didn’t know it when I started, I think that’s now one of the key justifications for me, in addition to having the qualification when I finish.
What do you think about the part-time study experience?
For more information about the MSc Systems Engineering Management course and how we support our part-time students: