Once you’ve graduated, it can be difficult to decide which step to take next for your career. With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, a second degree may seem like an obvious way to make sure your CV stands out. However, taking on a postgraduate course is a huge commitment – both time-wise and financially – and the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are numerous factors to consider, from the university and its location, to the costs and funding involved, to what career your postgraduate degree could lead to, and that’s barely scraping the surface. Before you make a final choice, ask yourself these questions.
Will a postgraduate degree improve my employability?
Will a postgraduate degree lead to a better salary?
Which is more important: experience or knowledge?
Think about what you want, and why
What do you want to get out of your postgraduate degree? You should consider your options with your career goals in mind: are you looking to change careers, or do you need the degree for your preferred career? Will your proposed degree provide you with a big boost to your career prospects and salary potential? Is it worth the cost?
Make sure you’re doing a postgraduate degree for the right reasons
If you’re unsure about your career path, you might prefer to take a gap year to take time out to research your options, or spend some time working in a role in your preferred sector.
Attend university event days
University events like the QS World Grad School Tour are extremely useful in helping you choose a postgraduate degree.
Talk to past students
This will give you an honest view of how students have found the course, what they’re doing now, and how they funded it etc etc..
Rush into any decisions
Depending on where you study, postgraduate degrees can be expensive as well as time-consuming. Whatever you do, don’t pick a course or a university without thoroughly researching it first.
Just rely on university rankings
Although university rankings such as the QS World University Rankings® can be really helpful for getting an idea of the most prestigious universities both overall and for your subject, it’s best to not place too much importance on rankings when choosing a degree.
Forget to think about funding
Another factor in the process of choosing a degree is how you’re going to afford it. you need to be absolutely sure your course is right for you before you make the investment.
Underestimate the effort required for your postgraduate degree
You’ve probably heard about how challenging master’s and PhDs are compared to undergraduate programs, This means you’ll probably spend less time going out socializing than you did as an undergraduate. So, when you’re choosing a postgraduate degree, be sure it’s one you can commit to without losing interest, even when the work gets really tough.
Benefits after completing postgraduate degree
Getting a master’s degree
A key reason to consider taking up graduate studies is the wage pay-off you are going to get after you are employed with this additional academic merit.
In-depth knowledge of the subject
Some postgraduate programmes are geared towards the development of an in-depth knowledge of the subject. You need to consider how enthusiastic you feel about the specific course, since completing a master’s degree may be a challenge if the topic is not an area of special interest for you.
If you think that more studying may be beneficial to your career advancement, you can look into professional certifications that tackle only the specific area of knowledge or skill that you want to strengthen. This is not as expensive as pursuing a postgraduate degree, but results in the enhanced skills you need.