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Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Thinking about postgraduate study but wondering what the benefits are?

For many students, the reasons for choosing to undergo postgraduate study are wide ranging but tend to be driven by career needs and personal desires.

If you have an interest in a specific subject and believe postgraduate study will improve your employability by broadening your career options and providing you with a better salary, it is likely that you will view postgraduate study as a natural progression from your undergraduate degree.

However, it is important to realise that while there are many benefits to postgraduate study, there are some drawbacks too.

You must therefore weigh up the pros and cons carefully before enrolling on a postgraduate programme.

Pros

1. Improve your salary prospects

While it is not guaranteed that a postgraduate programme will boost your income, certain qualifications, particularly those in economics and finance, can enhance your salary.

It is important to remember that having a postgraduate qualification will not automatically entitle you to a better salary but will increase your chance of securing a higher paid job.

2. Enhance your employability

If your undergraduate performance was weak at best, a master’s degree may help you to improve your chance of gaining a job in a competitive industry.

The majority of universities require you to have achieved at least a 2.2 at undergraduate level to study at postgraduate level.

With the majority of employers favouring graduates with a 2.1 or higher, you may be better able to enter into a postgraduate programme of study than secure a graduate level job if your degree classification is less than a 2.1.

3. Start specialising

If you particularly enjoyed certain topics as an undergraduate student, you will be able to explore these topics in greater depth when you enrol on postgraduate study, and contribute to your field.

However, you must ensure that your chosen course is tailored towards your chosen specialisations.

4. Broaden intellectual interests

A postgraduate programme will be a logical progression from your undergraduate study if you are keen to broaden your intellectual interest.

If you enjoyed research modules as an undergraduate, you could consider embarking on a research master’s degree.

5. Progress your career

If you are looking for progression within your existing role, it’s common to take a short course to boost your expertise. However, if you obtain a full postgraduate degree alongside your graduate job, you will gain additional skills and knowledge, and indicate to your employer you are serious about career progression.

For some, taking a year out of work to attain a postgraduate degree is possible. But recently, more flexible programmes are becoming more widely available for those who want to obtain a full postgraduate degree without giving up their job. This includes part-time postgraduate courses and the growing trend of online courses.

6. Personal achievement

Obviously, there is a lot of work involved in studying for a postgraduate course, so getting to the end of it and having the qualification under your belt is a great reward in itself - so don't underestimate it!

Cons

1. Scarce funding

Although there are now Student Loans available for postgraduate study, funding is still otherwise scarce. You may find some scholarships are available for postgraduate study, however, you are unable to secure one, you will have to meet the cost of your postgraduate study yourself.

Fees for postgraduate programmes vary considerably, with business and finance related courses proving more expensive than others.

It is not just tuition fees that you will need to budget for; you will need to pay for your living costs too.

2. Higher workload

Assessment at postgraduate level may involve fewer essays and exams.

However, assessments are longer and require you to go into greater depth.

Unless you are truly passionate about your subject matter, you may find the assessment process long and tedious.

3. Isolated social life

Due to the independent nature of many postgraduate courses, the social side of being a postgraduate student can be disappointing in comparison to that of your undergraduate years.

Although you will undoubtably make friends with those in your classes, you may find opportunities to socialise more restricted, especially given the larger workload.

4. Inaccessibility to accommodation

As a postgraduate student, you will not necessarily be entitled to accommodation in your university’s halls of residence.

This means that you must find your own accommodation, preferably located away from noisy undergraduates.

Further information

For more tips and advice on taking a postgraduate course, please see: