To study or not to study that is the question….
Well its not THE question but its certainly one may of you may be asking yourself when it comes to postgraduate study. If your considering further study there are a number of things you will need to consider. Hopefully my insights will help you answer the following questions.
Deciding whether or not to go back to university is clearly a big decision and there are a number of questions I recommend you ask yourself in order to decide whether postgraduate study is right for you or not. Consider whether:
- A postgraduate qualification is required for entry into your career of choice
- you looking for a career change
- The course give you specialist knowledge
- You can afford to go back to university
- It is a course an employer may be willing to put you through if you worked for them
- you are willing to move to study the right course.
- A postgraduate qualification is required for entry into your career of choice.
Personally I came to the decision that doing an MA in a Library & Information Management was right for me because doing it would help me progress in my career either at the Careers Service or another information role.
Ultimately you are the only one who can make the final yes or no decision but if your a recent UoM graduate you can talk it over with a Careers Consultant if needed by booking a Guidance appointment.
What type of course should I study?
Broadly speaking there are 3 types of postgraduate courses –
- Taught programmes (MA & MSc)
- Research programmes (PhDs & MPhils)
- Conversion courses (law, teaching, medicine)
The route you take will largely depends on what you plan to do afterwards. For example if you are considering a career in research or academia a PhD will probably be necessary. Likewise if like me you your preferred job role requires a professional qualification, masters could be the right move. If you are interested in careers such as law, medicine, nursing or teaching you’ll have to do a conversion course.
If you’re not sure what your career plans are yet or would like to talk over the pros and cons of different qualifications it would be best for you to book a Careers Guidance appointment.
Part-Time or Full-Time?
You can study for postgraduate degrees either full-time or part-time. There are pros and cons to both.
- Full-Time If you are studying full-time expect a masters to last a year and a PhD around 3 years. Studying full time means getting your qualification quicker, you’ll spend less time as a student and get out into the workplace quicker. However studying at this level can be very intense – with lots to do and not a lot of time to do it in you need to think carefully about how you would balance your other commitments.
- Part-Time If you’re studying part-time masters will last 2 to 3 years and PhDs around 6. Studying for this length of time is clearly a big commitment and works for some but not for others. I did my masters part time whilst working full time at the Careers Service. Obviously this is the only way that I could fit doing this qualification without leaving my permanent job. If you are currently working or need to spread the cost of study over a longer period of time part time study could be right for you. However if you are not working full time you’ll have to consider whether you can sustain yourself for what could be a number of years of being a student.
UK or Overseas?
Another decision you’ll have to make is whether to study in the UK or overseas.
- UK study You may choose to study in the UK for a number of different reasons be that to be close to your family/friends (or far away) or because having studied at the Manchester you have a better understanding of the education system in the UK. If you are interested in studying in the UK our postgraduate study and funding guide will be of use to you as well as the information on our website.
- Overseas study Having said this some of you may find the idea of studying overseas attractive. Studying abroad can have a lot of benefits including enabling you to broaden your horizons or study at internationally recognised universities. It can also help you develop skills employers might be looking for including language skills and cultural awareness. If postgraduate study overseas appeals to you have a look at our country specific information along with our postgraduate study and funding guide.
If you are thinking about doing a conversion course in something like law, medicine or nursing the decision between UK or overseas study is an extremely important one. Because entry requirements into these professions differ from country to country it’s probably necessary to study in the country where you want to practice
Funding is probably the question we get asked most about when it comes to postgraduate study so it clearly concerns a lot of you. Here are some sources of funding you may be eligible to apply for:
- Scholarships/ funded places offered by the course provider
- Research councils
- Learned Societies
- Professional bodies
- Professional Career Development loan
Our postgraduate study and funding guide has more information about the different types of funding available. We also have a number of other resources designed to help you find funding.
- ‘The Grants Register’ is just one of the books we have available to access in the Careers Library which lists funding opportunities. Use our online catalogue to see the full range of resources.
- For funding opportunities overseas check out our country specific information.
- We also have specific advice for intentional students considering further study either in the UK or abroad.
If you are considering postgraduate study here at the University of Manchester you may be eligible for these funding opportunities
- Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme aimed at widening access to masters courses by removing financial barriers from students from underrepresented groups.
- Faculty of Humanities Alumni Loyalty Scheme If you are a current undergraduate or recent graduate of the university and plan to start a masters course in the Faulty of Humanities in September 2015 you may be eligible for this bursary offering a £3000 reduction in fees.