Many students seriously consider postgraduate study and with recent changes in the labour market, this option may understandably seem even more appealing. However, the vast array of courses available alongside the financial and career implications to consider means that this is not a decision to be rushed. But panic not, there’s plenty of resources and support available to help you navigate the postgraduate study landscape. Start with the tips below, and remember it can be invaluable to make an appointment with an Employability Adviser to discuss your thoughts.
Know your course types:
- Masters degrees can be taught (e.g MA or MSc) or research led (e.gMRes) in many academic and vocational subjects
- Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas are the same level as Masters, but with fewer credits and normally without a dissertation
- PhDs – sometimes with an integrated Masters
- Professional qualifications that prepare you for a specific area of work (e.g. teaching, law, accountancy, marketing….)
Courses may be related to your undergraduate degree, or you may consider converting to a different subject or profession. Get more useful help and advice about this by looking on our Further Study webpage on the SHU website.
Make a well-informed choice
Your motivations and career plans. Common motivations include a passion for the subject or it being essential for the career you want. If you are considering a change or are not sure if further study will help you develop your career, try following the steps in our previous article about researching Career Possibilities. Avoid pursuing postgraduate study simply to give you more time to decide on a career area you want to pursue. Remember you can make an appointment with an impartial Employability Adviser to talk this through.
Researching courses. Cast your net wide initially to see what is out there by using sources such as Find a Masters. Ask academics and professionals in your field of interest what is well regarded. Visit (virtual) open days, for example the Hallam Virtual Open Day on 24th Feb 2021. Spend some time thinking about issues to consider and ask before doing this research, referring to the handy tips on Careers Connect.
Make your application sing!
If you decide to apply, plan your personal statement to ensure that it reflects a mature, well-informed and enthusiastic decision. There’s plenty of advice about topics to cover and structure here and here. An appointment with an Employability Adviser can also help you whatever stage you’re at, whether that’s struggling with writer’s block or reviewing your second draft!
Show me the money
There are a variety of funding sources ranging from non-means tested Masters loans to non-repayable to bursaries and scholarships. The latter can range widely from bursaries to train in shortage occupations (e.g certain teaching subjects and healthcare courses) to small charitable grants. Sheffield Hallam offers some discounts to alumni with additional discounts this year for Class of 2021 graduates . Research what type of funding relates to your preferred courses, as it is not one size fits all. For example, most teaching and healthcare postgraduate courses use the undergraduate loan system. Be aware that you can only access Masters loans once.
We’re here to help!
Don’t panic if this has raised lots of questions. Book in with your University Careers & Employability Service
Originally written by Laura Kerley is an Employability Adviser at Sheffield Hallam University