Should You Take An MA?

Doing a bachelor’s degree can be a tough process, and many people decide that after achieving a BA that’s where they want their academic journey to end. However, going a step further and achieving a Master’s degree can be beneficial for a lot of different reasons. I myself am coming to the conclusion of my Master’s degree, and even though it’s only been a year long, it has presented a lot of unique challenges which set it apart from a BA. This article is going to outline these challenges, as well as summarise all the amazing benefits obtaining a Master’s degree can give you going forward.

Funding – You might be concerned about the fees associated with a Master’s degree, which is understandable since of course you will have to pay for tuition and your living costs. However, you don’t need to worry! Student Finance England offer loans for post-graduate study, and I personally had no issues funding my studies and living costs this year with their help. You can find more information on their website at https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance  

Increased Work Load – It goes without saying that assessed work at Master’s degree level increases, and by this I mean that word counts for essays will be greater, and you will most likely have to incorporate more specialist knowledge into your assessments than at BA level. This will undoubtedly be difficult, however, if you manage your time effectively and keep an open line of communication with you tutors then you can’t go far wrong!

Increased Grading Standard – In a Master’s degree, the standard of work expected from students is greater than at BA level. An essay written at BA level may achieve a First, but if you were to submit that same essay for judgment in a Master’s degree, it would not be graded as highly. This is because the content of your course is more specialised and catering particularly to professional practises related to its field, so the assessment quality is also raised to be closer to the industry standard. This may seem daunting, but your course and tutors will provide you with the information and guidance you need to help you structure your assignments and work to this higher standard, which you can carry forward into the future.

Working Independently – Though of course you will receive guidance and help during your Master’s studies, when working on this degree you will be expected to operate far more independently compared to BA level. On your BA, where you may have had prompts and suggestions for ideas/subjects/research for assessments, on an MA you will not receive this kind of specific assistance. You will be treated as a professional, and therefore expected to spend the necessary time outside of class on your own research, cultivating your ideas, and shaping your work according to your own inspirations. Though this seems like it may be a lot of work, it is worth it because of how it will help you build your professional skills and confidence.

Adds To Your CV – If you achieve a Master’s degree, it is an educational accomplishment that you can display on your CV for employers to view. Though having a BA is an excellent achievement that employers will notice, having a Master’s degree places you on a higher level. It will make you stand out from the crowd far more in the job-seeking environment, and give you a better chance at getting the kind of post-graduate job you want in your preferred industry.

Meeting New People – Though you will have developed a community of friends and peers through your BA studies, doing an MA means you are likely to meet even more people from different walks of life. I personally did my Master’s alongside people who had come in from doing different degrees at different universities, some from different countries, and there was a great age range amongst the class cohort. Not only do you now have more people to peer review work with, but you have the opportunity to learn about their experiences and make more friends!

Professional Knowledge – As I’ve said, when you study on an MA you are treated more professionally and expected to work closer to an industry standard, and this is because an MA gives you far more specialist knowledge than a BA. Where a BA introduces you to important information/your craft, an MA helps you apply your interests into the professional world and teaches you how to get the career you really want – it also can reveal many professional avenues that you may not have thought of yourself, so it can be extremely helpful if you aren’t quite sure what you want to go into job-wise.

So, should you do a Master’s degree? My answer to this question is yes! Doing an MA, though filled with its own unique challenges (and undoubtedly each course will have its own other challenges too), is so valuable! It provides you with professional knowledge and skills, expands your community, increases your chances of employment, and can help you really hone your confidence and independence. If you’re still unsure, then just reach out to your tutors and ask them what relevant MA’s are available for you, and you will without a doubt get all the information and support you need!

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