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Masters Discussion Forum

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This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > Masters Advice / Support


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How far to take third postgraduate qualification?


User: spidermanspiderman - 07 September 2016 22:26

I study subjects at postgraduate level because I wish to teach them in FE and don't like to be tied to one subject, especially as someone who needs to be picky about the hours I work due to health reasons.

I already hold an MA and an MSc. I am on my third postgraduate qualification and currently I am working towards the PgDip which should hopefully be finished by the end of the year. After this I'm not sure what to do: 

Aim for a hat trick because that would be cool? Aim for the full masters because I know I can do it and want to show that I have the fullest grasp of the subject possible?

Or

Leave with the PgDip because it will save me some serious money and I'm fed up of being mega skint (and all the stresses that come with that)? Call it a day at PgDip because I have already demonstrated my ability to use research skills at masters level with my other two masters degrees?

I know that in an ideal world that a third masters would be awesome but financially I'm really at the point of "stop the ride I wanna get off!" I just want to be sure that leaving with the PgDip won't close any options to me in a severe way. I definitely want to teach the subject in FE and I have an interest in doing a PhD at a later date but I don't know in which of my subjects anyway.

Advice please :)

User: AOE26 - 08 September 2016 10:13

I don't think multiple MSc's will help you - unless the area you want to teach in (or PHD) is not your MSc subject.

User: TreeofLife - 08 September 2016 10:25

I think with your other masters a PgDip is fine. Generally, extra qualifications won't your future career much if they are equal level.

User: spidermanspiderman - 08 September 2016 11:16

I want to teach the subject (at A level in further education) that I currently hold the dilemma with.

User: TreeofLife - 08 September 2016 12:19

It actually doesn't matter what subjects you have postgraduate qualifications in in order to teach at A-level. You can teach biology with a maths degree for example...

User: spidermanspiderman - 08 September 2016 13:35

So if I apply to sociology teaching jobs with a pgdip in sociology and my teaching qualification, I will be in with as much chance as any other applicant?

User: TreeofLife - 08 September 2016 14:08

Of course it might support your application if you have additional qualifications in a subject, but I think they will be assessing other qualities as well. If you don't appear to fit with their ethos or if you can't evidence good teaching abilities, I doubt extra qualifications will make any difference.

Once you have evidenced you have the ability to learn (ie one masters), it's assumed you can learn any other subject you need to know.

User: fallenonion - 10 September 2016 22:30

Hi there. As an FE teacher myself, I know where you're coming from but I'd second that multiple masters degrees aren't necessary. I'd say getting some experience in teaching those subjects would be better. I mean, my specialism is English but over the years I've found myself teaching media and film for example. I didn't need to do a masters in those subjects, I just shouted up and said 'I can do that' when the chance arose, knowing the diversity would be good on my cv. Good luck with it.

User: spidermanspiderman - 11 September 2016 12:59

Quote From fallenonion:
Hi there. As an FE teacher myself, I know where you're coming from but I'd second that multiple masters degrees aren't necessary. I'd say getting some experience in teaching those subjects would be better. I mean, my specialism is English but over the years I've found myself teaching media and film for example. I didn't need to do a masters in those subjects, I just shouted up and said 'I can do that' when the chance arose, knowing the diversity would be good on my cv. Good luck with it.

Thanks. So with a PgDip in Sociology, level 5 diploma in education and training (eventually! I'm currently working towards the level 4 certificate) and experience of tutoring A level sociology, it's not unrealistic to think that I could realistically apply for sociology teaching jobs in FE?

User: fallenonion - 11 September 2016 16:08

Sure. I would prioritize getting the level 5 if anything as that's PGCE equivalent. Don't just wait for advertised jobs either, write to heads of department in all your local colleges and offer yourself up for long term cover / supply posts as budgets mean many colleges like to avoid using agencies. It's not as hard to get in as you think. And it's a nice place to be for people who are academically inclined. So far I've managed a masters on the job, am working with my local uni to mentor PGCE students, and like you want to do a phd at some point.

User: spidermanspiderman - 11 September 2016 16:49

Quote From fallenonion:
Sure. I would prioritize getting the level 5 if anything as that's PGCE equivalent. Don't just wait for advertised jobs either, write to heads of department in all your local colleges and offer yourself up for long term cover / supply posts as budgets mean many colleges like to avoid using agencies. It's not as hard to get in as you think. And it's a nice place to be for people who are academically inclined. So far I've managed a masters on the job, am working with my local uni to mentor PGCE students, and like you want to do a phd at some point.

This is awesome :) thank you so much for this! :) I'm definitely going to send speculative applications to colleges once I've done level 5. I need to work very part time due to health reasons so I'm hoping that this type of application will allow for me to be more forward about the scope and limitations of what I can offer.

Thanks for this. If the cost of doing the dissertation for my current course literally just fell in my lap (one can dream lol!) I think I would prefer to take on another subject at pgcert or pgdip (ideally psychology) rather than bash out another dissertation purely on the basis that I feel that I should. What are your thoughts?

User: fallenonion - 11 September 2016 18:28

No worries! Re second paragraph, not sure to be honest. I mean, you already have an MA and MSc. Plus your PgDip. Next? I wouldn't like to say. I guess if you have a passion for psychology go for it but personally I'd start saving for your PhD, having 'done' M-level.

I totally see where you're coming from in terms of loving study though. Did my first degree years ago. Worked for a couple of years in a boring office job, felt my brain shrinking, then I think half the reason for my doing a PGCE was just to do some more study. The happiest three years of my life were when I was doing my Masters on top of doing my current job. Sad eh? Although I did manage a life in between, I promise.

Now I'm split between doing either a PhD in English or doing an EdD. But then, I think it's important to find a balance and not rush into things. Hence I've had a break, just to see what comes along, and as it turns out, through my PGCE mentoring, I've just discovered that the uni are looking to take on some Associate Lecturers in Education (hourly paid) and all they need is a higher degree (Masters) and professional experience. A doctorate is just a 'desireable'. So I'm applying for that and crossing my fingers.

The moral of the story being (whether I get an interview or not), sometimes getting more expensive qualifications isn't the only way, and just being available and experienced is enough - provided there's a need.

User: spidermanspiderman - 17 September 2016 14:05

Hello again :)

The dilemma is proper eating me today. If I committed to doing the full MA I pretty much know what I would do my dissertation on and could probably have it all written up within two to three months maximum. With all due respect to the process, it wouldn't be too difficult to get the full masters so it makes it frustrating to not do that.

On the other hand this year has been a mega struggle: my personal life has been difficult, I have a chronic health condition and have to think twice about whether I can afford very basic stuff (prescriptions, fresh food, shoes when mine have holes in etc). All of this has made it a real battle in terms of my mental health and it probably would be better to leave with the PgDip (IF it is fit for its intended purpose...teaching A level sociology in FE) in this regard but I worry if I'll be mega gutted about walking away from the full Masters with the first paragraph in mind.

Stressed.

User: spidermanspiderman - 17 September 2016 14:24

Nb. Maybe I'm being my own worst enemy by moving the goalposts. I was only going to do the PgCert initially and then I was like "I'm enjoying this and can get APL'd to a PgDip with a bit more input". Wish I didn't keep moving the goalposts and mashing my mind with it. This is supposed to be fun (I love studying) and I don't want it to turn into a monster.

User: fallenonion - 17 September 2016 18:51

Hi again. I know exactly what you mean. I often do my own head in with my dilemmas. You wouldn't believe how much 'should I, shouldn't I' I went through before doing my MSc. Then I'm the same now with the next step. I've also had mental health problems in the past which have sometimes made things difficult for me. Come to that, I've also had a few financial headaches along the way too. Heck, one time, in the space of a few months, I lost a job, a partner, my dog, then my home and ended up sleeping in cars and living in a Travel Lodge for like a month...seriously!). But it's all good now and one of the most important things I think is to know when the stress is outweighing the satisfaction, then take a break. At one bit I was doing my master's dissertation, and trying to research the best route for my next step, and trying to do my day-job. I stressed myself out so much that once my essay was done and submitted, and I still hadn't decided, I ended up in one of my 'downward spiral / black holes' (again!) and had to seek professional help (again!). Two sessions in, I had some clarity and thought 'why, Onion, are you doing this to yourself?' So I've started to chill with it and just see what comes. Is there any way your uni would let you stick with the PGCert, take a break, see where it leads, then maybe resume at a later date if it turned out you needed the full masters? I think it's important to remember, especially at post-grad level, you're the customer. Universities want your money, and they should be flexible especially when there are mitigating health reasons. Talk to them, is my suggestion. See careers people. Don't let it become a monster!
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