The undergraduate days are sadly over (remember the time in first year when you thought they’d never end?) and you’re unsure about what to do next. You have your sights set on a specific career but you actually enjoyed the academic work involved in your undergraduate degree and might like to continue learning and developing your knowledge. So what to do? Should you do a Master’s degree? Let’s take a look at what the benefits of doing a Master’s degree are, which should give you some pointers as to whether you should do one yourself.
Ladies and gentlemen, a drum roll please for the first benefit of doing a Master’s degree… increased employability!
The first question you should be asking yourself when considering an MA or MSc is how the qualification will help your employment prospects. For many, undertaking the hefty task of completing a Master’s degree is the first step towards a PhD and a full-blown career in academia. Alternatively, the career of your choice may require you to have a postgraduate qualification on that CV of yours. This is particularly the case for scientific or technical career paths.
Or perhaps you might want to change or accelerate your career. Having a Master’s degree can help you stand out from the masses who are waving their Bachelor degrees in the faces of several employers. By slipping your MA onto the metaphorical desk of a potential employee, you’re giving them a cheeky nudge and helping yourself stand out from the crowd. You could potentially earn a little bit more dollar too.
As well as giving your career prospects a gentle nudge along the way, you may decide to do a Master’s degree simply because you love academia. Master’s degrees allow a lot more scope for original research and study but it’s unbelievably important (and we can’t stress this enough) that you don’t undertake a Master’s because you don’t know what you want to do and want to extend the joys of student life for an extra year.
A Master’s degree is a lot of hard work and commitment, including evening and weekend work. You need to be sure that you’ll enjoy it, particularly because it’s not a cheap option either (and you won’t be entitled to a student loan as you would already have done a degree!)
Don’t Rush Into Anything…
You should give a Master’s as much thought as you did your undergraduate degree. Will it help my career prospects? Do I want to continue with academic study?
If you have a clear goal in mind, and want and/or need to do a Master’s to achieve this goal, then go ahead and apply. If you’re still unsure about what career path you want to follow, don’t do a Master’s just because your friends are or because you think it’s your only option. It’s not. And because a Master’s is so expensive, it’s better to take a year out to work out what you want to do rather than rushing into something you might not enjoy. Whatever you decide to do, just give a good, long, hard think and take everything into account.