Postgraduate funding of up to £10,000 is now an accessible resource for students wishing to stay on at university and enhance their learning experience at a higher level. The funding also allows for anyone who has been out of education for a certain time period to come back to university and study an MA in a subject they have always wanted to do or study further.
Whatever the reason you choose to study, a postgraduate course offers various differences to the way an undergraduate course is taught. The heavier workload is only one example of how it changes on an MA. So, if you are thinking about going onto that extra level, here’s a few things that you’ll need to prepare yourself for and the differences between an undergraduate degree to a postgraduate Masters:
The intensity – At undergrad level, my day often consisted of just an hour lecture for the whole day, whereas the timetable becomes a lot busier at postgrad level. All the modules are usually placed in two-to-three days, in order to allow students to work alongside the course. This means – shock horror – university becomes a 9-to-5 day life, with only a short lunch in between.
Add in the fact that you are only there for a year and all the seminars suddenly become a busy routine, with as much crammed into them as possible before the year finishes.
The workload – It wouldn’t be a fair appraisal without saying the obvious – a heavier workload is certainly a major part of a postgrad degree. Assignments are seemingly endless, seminars are busy and then, of course, there’s even the summer project. At Masters level, there is no summer holiday, only the sight of the library and the ever-ticking clock that quickly counts down to that September deadline.
The people – On an MA course, groups are much smaller and cosier than on an undergrad course. It often becomes much more of a team effort to get through all the work, with lecturers and students all forming a close team relationship. The other students can vary by age, location, occupation and motivation for taking the course, but one thing that is the same with everyone at postgrad level – everybody is incredibly dedicated to what they are studying.
The rewards – You may be thinking – OK, so there are some major differences, but what will I get out of this, that I didn’t get at undergrad level? Well, quite a lot actually. For starters, you will gain a deeper insight into your chosen field as the level of research required for projects is very high. This means that not only will your analytical and research skills improve, but you will also tackle potential topics that would impress your future employers.
You’ll be able to gain additional experience alongside (if your timetable allows it) and learn potential new skills that could help you in a future career – not to mention dramatically improving your knowledge and passion for the subject you love – even if it does mean a few 9-to-5s.
By Kiyle Tesh