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After University

Study Options - Masters


A is usually referred to as a or an , masters in a science or art related disciple. The period of full-time study required is one year and two years on a part-time basis.

Why take a Masters degree?

Students often choose to do a Masters degree for several reasons. The most common reasons for taking an MBA are to broaden their academic achievements, get on the career ladder of their chosen career, to fulfil their interest, or simply to avoid joining the workforce. It is worth noting that students that do take a Masters can broaden experiences in a subject, develop skills and broaden knowledge, widen future job prospects or enable a career change.

You may also choose to do a Masters degree for any the following reasons:

  • To make a good investment in your career.
  • To take personal responsibility for career development.
  • To obtain a global focus.
  • To prepare yourself for "during career" specialist changes which are becoming more and more frequent.

Entrance Requirements

All applicants for a Masters degree must have a first in any subject, although some MBA's for example will require a first degree and a number of years work experience. Specific requirements will differ on the chosen and .

Things to consider

Are you motivated enough to take on upto two years of extra study, which will largely be done independently? Each student will be allocated a who will provide frequent personal supervision and monitor the progress of your research. Some will offer in addition, two members of the faculty who are responsible for providing you with specialised techniques. Many students are noted as saying having a good supervisor can make all the difference.

The successful completion of a of study is dependent on a positive commitment from both the teaching and supervisory staff and the students themselves. To maintain the highest standards in graduate teaching and research, Universities operate a Code of Practice, which deals with all aspects of teaching, supervision and study. All programmes of study are regularly reviewed to ensure that the teaching arrangements are satisfactory and that students are making appropriate progress. To ensure this, the views of students, academic staff and examiners are considered so that, where necessary, change takes place.

Information on all programmes are provided in programme handbooks, which describe in detail the syllabus, teaching arrangements, methods of assessment and other information essential to students. Advice is also given on how students may discuss any problems or difficulties.

Where to do a Masters degree

Students, who undertake a degree after their first degree, quite often remain at the same University where surroundings are familiar. You may however, choose to go elsewhere to experience different surroundings, meet new staff and discover new study techniques. If you do decide to go somewhere new for your Masters, you should think carefully about the location, the institution and the supervisors available.

Try and find out if the institutions have other that you could exchange thoughts and ideas with. This can also be a good indication of whether the is highly regarded in its postgraduate programs. You should also aim to speak to peers who may have completed Masters degrees themselves, to ascertain their thoughts and impressions. Some Universities and institutions are particularly well known for their post-graduate courses, so it is worth seeking out them out.

When to study

This will need particular consideration. Factors that may influence your decision include having the relevant experience and to start a Masters, will you start as soon as you have graduated, or take a break from studying and then embark on the Masters? It is worth remembering that you can do a Masters part-time, as some find the workload too difficult combined with full time work.

If you do choose to undertake your Masters on a part-time basis, as this is a more popular option you will need to ensure that your institution has a place for you. You will need to check your will support you, and it may be worthwhile finding out if others in the organization have done this in the past.

When applying for your place you must also provide two references with the application, these can be in the form of a letter or the institution can provide forms. All information provided will be treated as confidential.

When to apply

When applying for a Masters degree there is no system like to do searching and admissions for you. You will find that each University and institution will impose their own deadlines. Most Masters degree programs will run from September to June.


The most important thing of all, is information: make sure that you investigate every possible funding source and make sure that you are fully aware of dates, deadlines and eligibility criteria.

By arming yourself with the right information at the outset, you increase your chances of success.

Where do you find out more? Your University careers service should be your first port of call but you should also try to talk to current students and find out how they fund themselves.

Ask the course provider how the students in their departments are supported and whether there is any institutional support available. Consult the at the students' union and find out from the University itself about and hardship schemes.

Remember that you are not alone. Thousands of your contemporaries will be going on to study and most of them will not be receiving funding. Knowledge is power and the more you know about how funding works, the more chance you will have of finding some. Higher education institutions really do want postgraduate students to enroll on their courses.

Getting accepted on a course is no guarantee of receiving funding but it does mean that you are inside the system and better fixed to find out about institutional schemes or prizes and competitions. Many institutions have become more flexible about how they accept payment for , too. On some courses, it is possible to pay in installments rather than all at once at the beginning of the year. Although there is often a small percentage increase on the overall cost of the course, paying in this way does mean that you can plan your budget more easily and do not have to worry about making a large initial outlay. Some also offer preferential tuition fees to their alumni.

As a postgraduate student, you will have to cope with two types of expense: fees and the cost of living. If you have just finished an degree, you will probably be used to having to struggle to make ends meet. In this respect, your life as a postgraduate could be very similar! If you have been in employment or returning to education after a long period, things may be very different to what you have been used to. Undergraduates have only recently had to pay tuition fees. Postgraduates, on the other hand, have always had to take them into account. Although tuition costs for UK students are subsidised through paid to institutions through the Higher Education Funding Councils, most postgraduate students have to pay a contribution towards them. The average fee for a one-year Masters course is 2,740, although the figure varies depending on the institution and the course you take.

, for example, may cost as much as 13,000. Students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) often pay as much as double the EAA-student rate.

Additional Information

More information on Masters degrees are readily available in careers libraries, newspapers and periodicals. The Careers Services Unit provides a Prospectus Postgraduate Funding Guide and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services can provide a Postgraduate Study and Research guide.

All the Research Councils and the maintain web sites with further information. You should consult these before applying: