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New years champagne

 by Chantelle Francis
, posted on 4 Dec '19

8 Great Reasons to Start a Masters in January

Were you considering doing a Masters degree this year, but missed the September deadline?

Were you a little unsure about what you wanted to do, but now wish you’d taken the chance?

Well, if you don’t want to wait until next September, why not apply to start a course in January?

Flexibility is at the heart of postgraduate study and many courses accept new students in the spring term. In fact, right now we list over 7,000 Masters courses with a January or Spring intake.

And if you’re worried you might be at a disadvantage for being a late bloomer, fear not. We’ve compiled 8 great reasons for you to start your perfect Masters degree in January.

#1 – More time to consider your options

Going from undergraduate to postgraduate study can be a big step. And you may not feel ready to make it straight after your Bachelors.

Applying for a Masters in January gives you a little more time to consider what you want to do, and why you want to actually do it.

And having more time to put together your application, particularly your personal statement, is certainly a bonus.

Finally, taking the opportunity to contact potential universities and supervisors may also give you an added edge that September students may not have taken full advantage of.

#2 – More time to secure funding

Read about the UK’s postgraduate loans, but didn’t apply in time for September? Well, you haven’t missed out. You can also apply for a Masters loan for courses in January – great!

Scholarships will continue to be available too – many aren't limited to students beginning study in September. Universities offer a variety of support for postgraduates and much of this is provided throughout the year.

Starting your Masters later won't just mean you're eligible for the same funding as other students. It could also make some funding easier to come by. For example, you may find that applying for funding through external partners is less competitive for a January start.

#3 – Ideal for international students

If you’ve been studying outside the UK, it’s possible that your undergraduate course didn’t finish in time for September. Countries in the southern hemisphere (such as Australia and New Zealand) often have academic years that run well into the autumn.

If that’s the case for you, then the January intake could be ideal.

Preparing for a Masters abroad can also take a bit more time, wherever you're applying from. A spring start can give you an extra 'buffer' to help sort visas, accommodation and travel.

And don’t worry: if you choose to study in the UK, you won’t be stuck for accommodation. Universities make every effort to ensure that students beginning courses in January have just as many living options as those who have started earlier in the year.

#4 – Beneficial for mature students and professionals

For mature students and those already working in a professional environment, taking a year out for the traditional academic year can really throw things into chaos.

Undertaking a Masters degree that begins in January allows you to take a neat calendar year away from work, without impeding your professional duties.

If taking time off work completely is not an option, then studying a professional Masters degree such as the MBA is an ideal way of combining your professional and academic pursuits.

This being the case, it’s no surprise that over 2,000 of our January course listings are in Business and Management subjects, with high numbers of spring programmes also available in Architecture, Building and Planning, Education, Medicine, and Law.

#5 – New year, new challenge?

Cliché it may seem, it’s fair to say that aspirations are high come the end of the year.

With the momentum of the New Year on your side, you may find that you're more motivated to undertake your course and to make the most of it.

Having taken some time to think about what you’d really like to achieve, you might be that little bit more sure that you’re doing your Masters degree for the right reasons.

#6 – The perfect balance

For some students, jumping straight into postgraduate study after a gruelling 3 years of undergraduate work may not seem immediately appealing.

If you know you don’t want to take a full gap year, but feel you need a few extra months to relax or work, starting in January is a great way to allow yourself proper preparations, be that mentally or financially.

#7 – Less competition

As noted above, securing funding could be that little bit easier when starting your Masters in January.

However, the job market is another thing to consider.

When completing your Masters in December / January, you may find that competition for vacancies is a bit lower.

After the rush of Christmas, many businesses may be looking to expand and rejuvenate – and you’ll be fresh out of your Masters to undertake a new role.

You may have even acquired a little bit of extra experience between your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, whether that be from taking up work, travelling or volunteering.

#8 – Brexit buffer

Worried that Brexit means you’ve missed the chance to study in the UK? Don’t be.

Fee and funding arrangements for EU students has been guaranteed to stay the same as those for domestic students up until (and including) the 2020-21 academic year.

What’s more, there’ll be no effect if the UK leaves the EU during your course. Provided you begin before the end of the 2020-21 academic year, your circumstances will stay the same for the duration of your Masters.

The new ruling applies across the UK, with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all having offered assurances for EU students beginning in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

If you’re a UK student hoping to study a Masters in Europe, the situation isn’t quite as clear and largely depends on whether the UK can agree an exit deal with the EU or not. You can stay up to date by checking our Brexit FAQ or by signing up to our newsletter.

Taking the next step

So, has this post tempted you to consider a Masters in the New Year? If so, great. But don't delay too long. You’ll still want to leave enough time to find the right course and get on with your application.

Editor's note: This blog was first published on 02/11/2016. We've checked and updated it for current readers.

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