Are you weighing up the benefits of postgraduate study? The decision to continue in higher education after you graduate, or to return to study after focusing on your career, is a complex one and there is a lot to consider. A Masters degree is an essential entry requirement for some careers, and a very useful qualification for many others.
UK universities are globally renowned for the quality of their postgraduate courses. However, studying for a Masters degree is a considerable financial commitment and requires self-motivation, focus and dedication to the course. Therefore it is important to carefully consider whether it is the right choice for you and whether the course will be worth the hard work and high cost.
There are lots of reasons to do a Masters degree, so let’s take a closer look at the key advantages to postgraduate study in the UK....
Specialist knowledge in your field
It is likely that your study to date has given you a broad knowledge in a range of subjects pertaining to your degree choice. However, a Masters programme gives you the unique opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of your topic of interest.
Postgraduate study demonstrates dedication to your particular field of study, developing expert knowledge in that area. Choosing to study a Masters demonstrates your commitment to the subject when applying for future roles and helps you stand out from other applicants. Having ‘expert’ knowledge in a niche field can also aid you when considering consultation projects.
The expectations for students undertaking Masters degree programmes are considerably different to those studying undergraduate degrees. You’ll be required to be more autonomous and independent in your study. The expectation is on you to do the work, with less contact time and more in-depth reading and analysis. Many students develop a new level of confidence when required to work in this way, finding that completing their course doesn’t just represent academic achievement, but enriches their personal development too.
Studying in a different country will also further enhance your independence and you’ll gain a whole host of other valuable skills that will benefit not just your future career, but all aspects of your life. Increasing your circle of friends, learning about a new culture and gaining a new language will broaden your horizons, as well as demonstrating your desire for a challenge to future employers.
Improve your career prospects
With many organisations now looking for employees to have a Masters degree, the skills and experience gained during your postgraduate study will ensure that potential employees give your CV careful consideration when reviewing your application.
Further study will also improve your chances of getting a highly-skilled job. Research shows that 78% of postgraduates are in high-skilled work within 6 months, compared to 66% percent of undergraduates, demonstrating the added value a Masters degree programme can add to your employability.
There are many careers that require a Masters degree as part of the mandatory training to work within the sector, such as education, accountancy and many medical fields. If this applies to your career choice, it is important to check that the programme you are applying for is accredited by the correct professional body.
Higher earning potential
One of the main drivers for many students pursuing a Masters degree is the opportunity to increase their earning power. Postgraduate study will give you the opportunity to progress through your field of work quicker especially in areas such as business, engineering, education and healthcare. If perhaps you are already working within your preferred industry, a Masters degree may rapidly improve your career progression and earning capacity.
If you are interested in a career in business, then you’ll be pleased to know that the average postgraduate salary is £46,000 compared to the average graduate salary of £27,000. Similarly, postgraduates entering the engineering sector can aim for an average salary of £37,000, which compares favourably to engineering graduates achieving £27,000 on average.
Career change opportunity
If you are looking for a new challenge in your career, then a Masters programme is the perfect opportunity to change direction. With many people now working later in life, a number of us are looking to have a second, and even third, careers. By studying a completely different subject at Masters level, you’ll be able to get a head start in your new career - potentially avoiding restarting at the bottom of the career ladder. With many Masters courses open to students with a wide range of bachelor degrees you can find a course that will give you a great start in your new career.
The opportunity to network with your fellow students and faculty members can be a major benefit to graduate study. By developing long term professional contacts, you may find you end up with some unexpected job opportunities. Your Masters programme will offer plenty of opportunities to meet people in relevant industries, seek out opportunities for internships, placements and potentially job roles. Either way, you will definitely gain several contacts that you can use to build your career in your chosen field.
Studying at Surrey
So, now you have a better idea of the benefits of postgraduate study, you are probably keen to get a better understanding of the opportunities available to you. The University of Surrey offers a wide range of Masters programmes across the spectrum of subjects. With a vibrant international community, Surrey is a great place for you to study a postgraduate degree. Close to the excitement of London, but with the benefits of town life in Guildford – the International Study Centre means you can start your study abroad adventure with classmates from all over the world.
At University of Surrey International Study Centre we provide bespoke Pre-Masters programmes designed especially for our international students and aimed at providing you with the skills and knowledge required to progress onto one of Surrey’s top Masters courses. You can also work towards improving your English language skills to reach the required level with our English for Pre-Masters course.
Hear firsthand from Pre-Masters Programme student Victoria and discover more about life as a postgraduate student at the International Study Centre: