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 by Rosie Crawford
, posted on 1 Feb '21

Video: What I considered before starting my Masters degree

Rosie Crawford is our current Student Ambassador and the recipient of the 2020-21 FindAMasters Scholarship. Take a look at her hints and tips about what you should consider to help you choose the right Masters degree.

When I was searching for my Masters degree, there were loads of things that I considered to help my make the right decision. I thought I'd put these into a video so hopefully they help you too!

Video transcript

Hey everyone, my name’s Rosie and I am the FindAMasters ambassador this year which is really exciting! In this video I am going to tell you about some things that you might want to consider if you’re thinking about Masters study.

Number one is a biggie and that is: is Masters study what you really want? You might not necessarily know at this point in time but just make sure you’re not thinking about a Masters or applying to a Masters just for the sake of it or just because your friends are or just because your parents did. Think about what you really want. If you really enjoy studying and learning new things and you can’t imagine yourself going into the world of proper 9-5 work yet, then maybe Masters study is perfect for you.

I took a year out because I was a bit overwhelmed with studying in my third year and I needed some time out in order to afford my Masters as well but that year out really solidified the fact that I definitely wanted to continue learning.

Number two: is a Masters really what you need? This is different to number one because a lot of professions…they don’t necessarily need any further study but if you want to do it, then why not? On the other hand, a lot of professions also require you to do a Masters. I’m in archaeology for example. I want to go into forensic archaeology. I’ve not done anything in forensics yet so I needed to do a Masters in specifically forensic archaeology in order to progress in that field.

Following on from that, number three is: do the courses that you’re looking at actually offer you practical experience and a proper path into a job or career that you want? Have a think about what it is you really want to get out of further study. Do you want to get practical experience that you haven’t had at your undergrad? Do you want to pick a specific subject that specialises something from your undergrad? Don’t just pick a subject that is exactly the same as what you’ve already done because there’s no extra skills there. Yes you’ll come out with a Masters at the end of it, but really you want skills and new ones to then apply to your future in the workplace or in further study after that.

Similarly, if there’s no Masters courses that you think offer what you want and need in order to build on previous skills, there are other options. You could do apprenticeships or a grad scheme. You know? You don’t have to go into a Masters and spend more money learning skills. You could also learn on the job. Some workplaces might even let you do a Masters alongside a grad job in order to build more skills that will benefit both you and them. So just have a look into all the different options you know? You don’t have to look straight for a Masters.

Number four is again, similar to the previous one but to look into different types of Masters. There are a lot of different letters being thrown about when you’re looking for Higher Education after your degree and it can be quite confusing. You’ve got MSt’s, MSc’s, MA’s…there’s so many things…MRes. It blew my mind a little bit and the different between them, mainly, is whether they’re taught or research based. So research based ones you might go in with a research proposal or they might give you research, your professors, and then your degree – your Masters – will be your research. Whereas a taught Masters might be more, like I’m doing now at Cranfield, which is: we have nine to five lectures. It’s like an undergrad but very specialised and there’s quite a big step up so we’re doing a lot more complex stuff.

Different universities as well call things different things so just bear that in mind that names of courses might be slightly different and just have a quick research into what all the letters mean and what they then mean for how your course is taught and think about how best you learn, how maybe you want something completely to undergrad, maybe you want something similar.

And finally, number five: do you need to take a break first? Ask yourself this question and be honest. Taking a post-uni gap year is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of; it’s very normal. Personally I think it’s a good idea only because that was my experience and it’s worked very well for me. I know other people who have really wanted to keep studying immediately and that worked for them. But a year out for example, means that you could get some work experience for a year, you could earn money to help you pay your rent when you’re actually in your Masters because the UK student loan system is very different at Masters level and working for a year really made is so much easier to cope with, so far anyway I’m hoping it’ll stay that way!

It’s also meant that there’s less pressure whilst you’re sitting finals whilst you’re in third year. I know how stressful third year is and having to apply for my courses and scholarships and all of that jazz alongside third year, that would’ve…hats off to you if you’ve done that. Well done!

On the other hand, there’s the job applications if you are gonna take a year out to work. I just worked in a school. You could work in a supermarket. You could do anything for a year. It doesn’t have to facilitate your Masters course, though if it did you could then like write it on your personal statement and things but just, it’s just a break, a brain break. You don’t realise how hard you’re working.

If you have any questions about what I’ve said or about any other things to do with a Masters, applying for a Masters etc...comment on this video or let FindAMasters know that you have these questions. They might have already answered them on their website. Who knows? Their website is great and I used it myself when I was looking into scholarships and things so would recommend!

I will be keeping an eye on comments and questions and I’m sure the FindAMasters team will forward me any questions that lots of people are asking so that I can make a blog post or future video that will really, really help you and answer what you want to know.

And on that note, I need to go and finish my assignment, so I’ll leave you there. I hope this helped, I hope you enjoyed and I’ll see you in the next one. Bye!

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