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Masters Discussion Forum

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This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > Choosing a Masters


Deciding where to go!

User: northernkl - 28 July 2016 10:46

Hey, so I'm about to enter my final undergraduate year, where I'm currently studying Mathematics. I didn't choose the integrated masters path, so now i'm starting to think ahead to what i'm going to do when that scary day of finishing uni comes around. I kinda think i've figured out if i'm going to do a masters that i'd like to home in on data science, but i've still got time to change my mind. The biggest decision for me is picking where to go! I have no idea. Do I even stay in the UK or go overseas? There's so many programmes to choose from as well. Just wondering how everyone else decided where to pick? I suppose I've got loads of free time at the moment to go and visit places and check them out. Help appreciated!

User: kikothedog - 28 July 2016 11:26

For both my undergrad and master it was about the course, for my PhD it was down to job prospects and adding new skill sets. Also 4 years over 3 meant extra security of income. Whatever you choose good luck!

User: northernkl - 02 August 2016 16:20

Thanks Kikothedog. Interested to see what others think to help me make this decision!

User: TreeofLife - 02 August 2016 16:45

It's really hard to say on that basis. You need to be able to narrow it done a bit. Pick a country and look from that point, or pick a course and see who offers it. Data science is a good choice, I think there's quite a lot of use for modellers, statisticians and bioinformaticians in Biology for example.

If you are looking for Masters, then you have to think about how you can fund it as well, and maybe some places are cheaper than others or might offer scholarships.

For me, I picked my MSc because it was funded and was at my undergrad uni and was a subject I was interested in. I picked my PhD because it was another subject I was interested in and it was just down the road from my house!

Those probably aren't the best reasons for picking courses though - probably best to think how useful the qualification will be afterwards.

User: northernkl - 03 August 2016 13:47

Hey TreeofLife thanks for your reply. I think I will probably end up in the UK - it'll make this decision a lot easier.

I feel like data science will be a useful masters to have, but need to start checking out where does scholarships and funding. Would you have done your MSc if it wasnt funded do you think?

This is a way harder decision to make than my undergrad!

User: kikothedog - 03 August 2016 15:53

Given the climate right now I'd only do a masters or phd if there was already funding in place, right now imo you don't want to be self-funded.

User: northernkl - 03 August 2016 16:06

That's a good point. Suppose that will help narrow my search down a bit. Anyone had any issues making new friends or anything not being an undergrad student at uni? Quite keen to go somewhere where i can still get involved with stuff (if i have the time!)

User: TreeofLife - 03 August 2016 16:18

I wouldn't have done my masters if it wasn't funded because I couldn't have afforded it. Actually I just wanted to do a PhD but there were no funded ones available in my area at my uni so I did the MSc instead.

I agree with kiko, there's no point in doing a PhD if it's not funded. Masters are unlikely to be funded though. I was just in the right place at the right time for mine.

And yes, picking a uni with a good social life is important. Try to find out about this if you can. Pick somewhere in a city, rather than a campus in the middle of nowhere, since you are unlikely to be staying in uni accommodation. I find it's better when people live close enough to the uni to walk to places and then be able to walk home etc.

User: northernkl - 03 August 2016 16:28

I see.

Did you join any societies or go to any events TreeofLife? I'm guessing there isn't a freshers for postgrads?

Did you look at any rankings for unis at all or just mainly look at the funding? feel like i need to focus in on specific areas to research, rather than doing a broad general search?

User: TreeofLife - 03 August 2016 16:43

I didn't join any societies because they aren't really my thing, they are less common for postgrads as well I think, although I do know several PhD students that were in societies.

There was no freshers week specifically for postgrads, but you could join in with the undergrad stuff if you wanted to. There were a few specific events for postgrads, but I didn't go to many of these.

My social life during my PhD was quite department specific - we had PhD student presentations once a week and we usually went to the pub afterwards. People also tended to go to the pub on Fridays. We had things like departmental quizzes/bbqs and then as a lab we went out for lunch once a month as well.

People also tended to send emails around like 'going to xxxx on xxxx, anyway want to join let us know/meet us at xxxx'. We also had several postgrad reps that arranged things. It was quite easy to get involved with stuff if you wanted to.

I imagine most places are pretty similar in this respect.

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