Near the end of your Bachelor’s degree, one important question you may ask yourself is whether or not you should go for a Master’s degree – and if so, if you should do it now or rather get some work experience first.
At the start of your career such a decision is difficult to make because there are so many unknown variables.
But let’s break down the things worth considering, and let’s look at a couple of pro’s and con’s:
Reasons to do a Master’s now, then work:
- A Master’s degree adds value to your job application, making it easier to compete against other applicants who don’t have one.
- International data suggest that in economic recessions, a Master’s could increase job security in the long run.
- You can get a higher salary. In the UK statistics show that the increase is 11% more. If you are an international student, this number may be even higher if you plan to return to your home country after graduation.
- After a long break from university, it might be tricky to get back into the “rhythm” of learning again.
- Taught Masters at British universities in general only take a year to complete. This may seem like a lot of time at the beginning of your career, but looking back in 10 or 20 years it won’t!
- Some industries require a degree higher than an undergraduate to advance beyond a certain point. That’s especially true in STEM fields.
- If you are aiming for a PhD, a Master’s is the most common (and occasionally necessary) next step.
Reasons to work now and postpone your Master’s:
- If you don’t have a clear career in mind, work experience can help you find out what subject to study at master level, and what career path to pursue later. That’s especially true of graduate schemes where you work in multiple departments throughout an initial year.
- Earning money now can give you some financial stability and allow you to rely on your savings when you decide to study again later. Being able to finance your postgraduate studies yourself is usually better than taking out a study loan.
- Initial work experience in some fields will add value to your learning experience during a Master’s. And if you can, try doing an internship abroad!
- If you are missing some requirements to get into your desired Master’s course, relevant work experience might help you enter a very selective university.
Things to check to see if a Master’s is right for you
It’s OK if you decide not to go for a Master’s. There are many reasons why it can turn into a difficult choice, so the list below contains some ideas to understand if pursuing this degree would make sense in your situation. In any case, you shouldn’t feel bad if your time to study is not right now. It’s always possible and never too late to try it again later in life.
If this describes you, a Master’s may be the right next step:
- You are passionate about the course subject and you are excited about learning more about it.
- You are aware of the time and dedication this degree will require.
- You can afford the cost of tuition without earning a salary, or have access to a scholarship or financial aid.
- You believe that this decision will have a benefit in your professional path.
- You found a study option that is exactly what you were looking for.
If this describes you, you should probably postpone doing a Master’s:
- You don’t know yet in which direction you want to focus your career.
- You found your Bachelor’s coursework too difficult – because at the postgraduate level, it will most likely be even more challenging.
- You are currently in a situation in which you can’t afford it even with loans, scholarships, help from your family or a part-time job.
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