why do you choose to study a master degree

Whatever your goals, its important is that you consider your reasons for postgraduate study carefully. Spending another year at university can seem appealing if youre not yet sure what you want to do after you graduate. But dont assume that youll automatically make yourself more employable by doing so. Equally, you should remember that following an academic career path can be challenging. Youll need to complete a
after your Masters, meaning at least four years more study. In most cases youll also need to spend time on a postdoctoral research project (a ) before securing a permanent job. There are plenty of people out there who can help you evaluate your postgraduate plans. You could (and should) consult your current universitys careers advisory service. You can also take advice from your lecturers or talk to friends, family and fellow students. But the person who really knows the most about your decision, is you. So take some time to reflect on your own decision and your reasoning. Should you study a Masters? Here are some good questions to ask yourself before you commit to a Masters. Are you passionate enough about your subject? A Masters wont just ask you to tackle more complex material. It will also challenge you to take more responsibility for the way in which you do so. Even a taught program will involve lots of independent reading and preparation. This means that youll need to be self-motivated and enthusiastic about what youre studying. If youre considering postgraduate study as a stopgap or plan b, think carefully about how youll cope with these expectations of you. Are you ready for another year (or more) of university study? If youve just finished three years of undergraduate work, you might have some understandable study fatigue.


Remember that you dont have to begin your Masters immediately after your Bachelors. A period in work could help you take a break from studying and reflect on your goals. You might even put yourself in a better position to afford a Masters. (You can always come back and study part-time, or via distance learning). Can you afford it? The cost of a Masters varies. Some subjects are more expensive than others. Some courses dont charge fees. But, whatever and wherever you study, youll need to pay living costs. You may able to cover these through or work. But you should still bear in mind that postgraduate study represents at least another year of missed full-time earnings. A Masters can have value, but its never entirely free. Make sure you know how youre going to cover your costs in the short term and that your qualification will be worth it in the long term. Are you studying the right qualification? Postgraduate study is very varied, with various and other qualifications. Some develop academic expertise. Others have more obvious professional and vocational applications. Some include lots of research. Others are much more applied. Review all the options available to you and pick a course that fits your interests and goals. Are you putting off a bigger decision about your future? This one calls for some honesty. Choosing to stay on for a Masters because you arent yet sure what you want to do for a career isnt actually the worst thing you can do. (Provided youve thought about the questions above). Youll pick up an additional qualification, develop transferable skills and potentially open the door to further academic training.


But you should be clear with yourself if this is part of your reason for studying a Masters. Dont try to convince yourself a Masters in medieval history is vital to your professional aspirations if it isnt. And dont coast into training for an academic career when, deep down, you know you really hate writing essays. Asking these questions should help you reflect on your decision making and think about what you hope to get out of a Masters degree. But you shouldnt take the self-interrogation too far. Masters degrees have lots to offer. We should know weve been for over a decade. If youre satisfied with your answers, you can be confident that a Masters degree could be a great choice for you too. Many GSAS students have more than a single reason for considering graduate studies at the masters level. Students often enter masters degree programs: Securing Your Career In the highly competitive global marketplace, a masters degree sets you apart from other job candidates. With a masters degree, youll be eligible for more jobs. The number of occupations that typically require a masters degree will increase by nearly 20% between 2006 and 2016. In many career sectors, such as higher education administration, public affairs, and social services, a master's degree is replacing a bachelor's as the minimum requirement for employment. With a bachelor's degree in the 1980s, one could secure an entry level position as an admissions counselor, academic adviser, or student services coordinator. By the 2000s, applicants for these same entry-level positions were not even considered unless they held a master's degree. While holding a graduate degree is not a guarantee of ultimate success, it certainly opens many more doors for employment.


A masters degree helps give you job security. Data from the 2012 U. S. Census Bureau show that the unemployment rate for holders of masters degree is 3. 5% compared with 4. 5% for those with only bachelors degrees, while unemployment rates among those with doctorates (2. 5%) and advanced professional degrees (2. 1%) are approximately half that of those with only a bachelors degree. Professional Development Masters degree programs are increasingly becoming professionalized, with a new focus on preparing graduates for careers in business, government, and non-profit settings. For graduate degree holders, the numbers are favorable: U. S. workers between the ages of 21 and 64 with a master's degree or higher earn an average annual salary of $55,242, versus those with a bachelor's degree whose average annual salary is $42,877, according to the United States Census Bureau. That represents nearly a 30 percent difference in average annual salaryand offers clear evidence that completing a graduate degree can make a positive impact on one's financial situation. Masters degree programs combine discipline-specific, advanced coursework with skills like critical thinking, analytic ability, and time management that are easily transferred if your career path changes. Earning a graduate degree is evidence of persistence, determination, intellectual prowess, and the ability to handle challenging environmentsall of which are sought-after qualities for individuals filling manager and director positions. An employee who has demonstrated success in a long-term situation that requires stamina, discipline, leadership, and the ability to work well with others is going to be in line for growth opportunities within his or her organization.


Employer Incentives: Some large corporations have funds set aside that will pay partial or full fees for qualified employees. Personal Development A masters degree not only deepens your education, but also allows you to contribute out of the classroom. Demand for services in education and not-for-profit sectors continues to grow and, as a highly-skilled masters degree recipient, youll be able to fulfill those roles. Choosing to pursue a masters degree takes initiative and commitment. The same traits, along with your newly gained knowledge and skills, will make you a successful leader and innovator when you complete your degree. Enjoy travel opportunities. Some programs, such as archaeology, require studying abroad for research purposes. For those who like to travel, this is a bonus. Be part of a chain of knowledge. Just imagine that the knowledge handed to you by your professor came from another professor who learned it from someone who learned it from a famous scientist or philosopher. You become part of a chain of knowledge. Greater recognition and credibility: There are countless numbers of graduate degree holders who have gone on to accomplish great things, and who are afforded the respect and recognition they deserve and have earned. Unquestionably, an advanced degree makes a difference on a rsum. It says something about who you are and the dedication you have to your chosen field. Sense of accomplishment: The effort put forth to complete your studies, despite moments of doubt and uncertainty, will stand as a central character-building life experience.

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