Should I do a Masters Degree?

In an increasingly competitive jobs market, a Masters degree has many benefits and can set you apart from other candidates – as well as increase your earning potential. Studying for a Masters degree is an exciting prospect and there are many reasons to consider taking a postgraduate course.

Why do a Masters?

A Masters degree can aid a career change, help you to gain chartership and provide you with useful industry contacts and connections. However, Masters study is intense and often comes with a hefty price tag. In most cases, you’ll need some relevant work experience for entry onto a programme. To make the most of postgraduate study it’s vital to have a solid reason for committing to a course.

Here are some of the benefits of doing a Masters Degree:

  • Progress in current career path
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Enable progression to a higher-level qualification
  • Enter a particular profession
  • Gaining specialised knowledge to advance in a field

Will a Masters Degree help get a job?

Masters degrees in the UK are highly regarded by employers. For some roles,  a Masters degree is an essential entry requirement, while for many others it is highly beneficial. Research job profiles and entry requirements of professions you are interested in.

Having a relevant Masters degree under your belt could give you a crucial competitive edge in a crowded jobs market – employers are increasingly looking for ways to distinguish between candidates, and this extra higher-level qualification shows your ability to commit to an intense period of work. Masters study may also be extremely useful if you’re looking to change careers.

If you’re already working in your preferred industry, a Masters degree could lead to rapid career progression. It could emphasise your drive, determination and willingness to increase your ability in a chosen area. 

You will only benefit fully from a Masters if it’s complemented by relevant work experience. Without this, your employability will be weaker, and you run the risk of getting into unnecessary debt.

Is pursuing a Masters Degree worth the cost?

Obtaining a Masters degree can be expensive, time-consuming and emotionally draining. Therefore, you need to weigh up your reasons for studying a course carefully. Masters study is cheaper than doing an undergraduate degree even though fees vary widely. On a positive note, postgraduates earn considerably more than their undergraduate counterparts.

You must think deeply about why you want to pursue Masters study before committing. Many applicants wrongly believe that a Masters degree will automatically enhance their career and allow them to earn more – yet this is only true if the qualification genuinely gets them closer to fulfilling their ambitions. To be certain that Masters study will meet your expectations, and be worth the hard work and high costs, you should:

  • be passionate about your subject
  • browse relevant job advertisements to identify what employer’s value most, as industry certifications and accreditations are important for certain roles
  • consider everything in the context of your overall career plan, ensuring that the qualification offers the best way of achieving your ultimate career goals
  • consider whether Masters study will boost your credentials significantly above your existing undergraduate education
  • contact careers services, professional bodies or individual employers for further advice.

There are situations where you should avoid Masters study. If you can’t convince yourself it’s the right move, you’ll almost certainly lack the commitment to ensure that it’s a worthwhile investment.

If you’re looking to study immediately after completing your undergraduate degree, you may want to reconsider. You shouldn’t pursue a Masters in the hope that it’ll automatically add to your CV or simply because you need more time to think about your career. Unless your goals are crystal clear, spending some time in the workplace or researching your options while taking a gap year may be more beneficial at this point.

Will I have time to do a Masters?

Masters study must fit around your lifestyle, so identifying the mode of study that’s right for you is essential.

Full-time study is the most common, and especially suits continuing students. You’ll work intensively for the duration of your programme, achieving your qualification as quickly as possible. Contact hours vary from course to course, but full-time study generally involves several lectures and seminars every week. However, it could alternatively require you to attend university.

Am I ready to do a Masters?

Before committing to a Masters degree, ask yourself:

  • Am I fully aware of the level of commitment required to undertake Masters study?
  • Can I afford Masters study, in terms of tuition fees and living costs?
  • Will the postgraduate qualification improve my career prospects?
  • Does the qualification require me to possess specific skills?
  • Will the qualification equip me with the specific skills needed for my ideal career?
  • Am I certain that the courses that I’m looking at are right for me?