Are Master's Degrees Worth It? Everything You Should Consider
Are you wondering whether studying for a master’s degree is worth it?
Well, we’re here to help you through all the things to consider to find out if postgraduate study is right for you.
We’ll be discussing what this qualification is, the pros and cons as well as the cost of courses and the intensity of study.
Let’s get going…
About Master’s Degrees
A Master’s qualification is a postgraduate degree course that individuals can pursue once they have completed their undergraduate degree.
This in-depth level of study is the most popular postgraduate option within the UK as it enables individuals to further their knowledge in their area of interest or to enter a different field to their undergraduate degree.
In some cases, it can better your chances of employment and boost your career prospects.
There are 18,529 Masters Degrees in the UK with a huge range of courses and qualifications available across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
So, if you are thinking about pursuing a master’s degree, there is tons of choice when it comes to your chosen subject.
How Hard Is A Master’s?
A master’s degree normally takes one or two years if studied full time or two to four years’ if studied part time.
The qualification is a Level 7 which means it is above bachelor’s degrees but below PhDs.
Studying for this degree level is intense and they are normally worth 180 credits, which is 60 credits above an undergrad study.
You’ll find that studying for a master’s degree is similar to an undergraduate in the way they are taught. This is because they consist of lectures, seminars and assignments, with work assessed by exams, essays, dissertations and group projects.
Similarly, to an undergraduate, students are expected to work independently but receive support from their tutors and lecturers.
Depending on the chosen subject and university, you may have to have received a 2.1 in your Bachelors and relevant work experience, however, this varies so it’s worth researching different requirements.
Studying for a master’s degree may be harder than your undergraduate study as there is a larger workload and more dedication required because you’re focusing on a specialist topic and gaining in depth knowledge.
Although, the length of study is shorter, your class sizes are smaller, and you can do a lot of the work at home as they tend to be more flexible.
This level of study is really what you make of it, if you’re determined and ready to work hard then go for it. It’s similar jumping from your a-level studies to your undergraduate study!
How Much Does It Cost In The UK?
A master’s degree in the UK costs less in tuition fees than a bachelor’s with an average cost of around £8,740.
However, the money aspects will vary depending on different subject areas, universities and the country you’re completing your study.
The price for UK Master’s programmes are decided by universities themselves so they aren’t subject to a cap like undergraduate degree fees are.
Master’s are normally higher in costs for international students too so it’s something you should look into if you’re an overseas graduate.
All individuals will also need to bear in mind living costs and other study expenses whilst choosing this postgraduate option.
You’ll be able to check out postgraduate fees when you search for courses.
The UK government offers postgraduate student loans up to the value of £10,609 no matter whether you are doing a one year, two tear, three year or four-year course.
This means if your tuition fees and living costs are higher than that, you will have to get additional income to cover your costs whether it’s from scholarships, grants, bursaries or from a job.
Just like your bachelor’s degree you have to begin repaying your loan and average debt when your income reaches a certain amount (the threshold).
You can find out more about how to apply for a loan, postgrad repayments and eligibility on the government website government website.
Does A Master’s Boost Your Career Prospects?
There are many advantages of master’s programs with studies showing that they can increase your chances of employment and can boost your lifetime earnings.
One study found that 76.5% of postgraduates are employed in highly skilled roles compared to 65.4% of graduates.
Whilst another study found that postgraduates are 11% more likely to be in full-time employment than those with a bachelor’s degree education.
The skills and experience gained during this advanced degree study may stand out on your CV when employers are reviewing your application too.
Such as, if you’re applying for a job and are up against other people, the employer may be more inclined to choose the one with a higher qualification level than the other. But, this isn’t always the case.
Overall, there is higher employment for postgraduates in the UK, however, it doesn’t mean that a master’s will magically get you employed, you need to be able to ‘sell’ your skills and experience gained from it.
Should I Do A Master’s Degree?
Well, that really depends on you, a master’s degree program will enable you to learn more about the chosen subject you’re interested in working in, boost your personal development and skill set as well as possibly improving your employability.
Studying for a master’s isn’t just about boosting your chances of getting a job though. It is also about the love of the specific subject you want to choose.
So, if you haven’t found that dream field you want to go into yet, then hold off.
There’s no rush in immediately doing a master’s degree if you’re not sure what industry to go into or whether you really want to do one.
As we mentioned earlier, some people study for a master’s degree if they are looking for a career change, meaning they may be able to get further up the career ladder with a stepping stone in their new chosen field.
A master’s is also an option many people consider if they’re not ready to go into the world of work and want to cling onto the student life.
Although, it is vastly different from your uni years as an undergrad.
So, if your only real reason for choosing this study option is because you’re nostalgic about being a student again, it’s probably not worth the time, effort and costs of studying for a masters. But you do you!
Are Master’s Degrees Worth It?
Master’s degrees are worth it if you make them worth it – you’ll need a lot of self motivation!
If this postgrad option will improve your career prospects, give you the specific skills needed for your ideal career and is a course and subject you’re genuinely passionate about then the benefits will speak for themselves.
Whereas, if you’re struggling to find many significant benefits, then it probably isn’t for you.
Before committing to studying for a master’s degree, we’d suggest doing some research on whether the qualification is rated highly by employers within your chosen industry too.
For some industries it’s deemed as essential or highly sought out whilst for others, it’s not.
It’s important to carefully consider all your options and the pros and cons.
If you’re still on the fence about pursuing a master’s degree and whether to progress directly from your undergraduate study, then think about your career goals and speak to your family and friends, research your prospective course and ask any questions you may have.
You can even wait a few years if you’re not sure, the right program for you isn’t going anywhere and you’ll get a clear idea as time goes on.
There we have it; we hope this post has helped you out and we wish you all the best if you’re currently applying for a master’s or searching for other postgraduate options.
Are you set to start on a degree programme? Then good luck you’ll be a master of knowledge in no time!
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