What to consider before choosing a master’s degree

Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you may be tempted to embark on a master’s degree, in order to further your career and develop your skills and knowledge. This is not a step to be taken lightly of course, as it is a big commitment. Especially straight after spending a few years in University – do you want to go straight into studying for another qualification? There are a lot of things to consider before you jump into a masters degree.

Can you afford it?

This is a sad reality, but some of us are not in a financial position to be able to go into doing a master’s degree, and do we really want extra student debt? Decide whether you feel comfortable getting loans, or whether you could wait a few years until you are more financially stable.

Are you ready for it?

Going straight from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s, especially if you have been in education constantly from being a child, might be a little too much. You may be reluctant to leave the relative safety net of education, but you could burn out – and perhaps it really is time for a break from studying. Of course, you may have already taken a few years out, or perhaps you feel you’ve got some momentum – in which case, go for it!

Consider your mode of study

Remember that with most courses you can choose to study full or part-time. There are benefits to both, which will be personal to you. For example, a full-time master’s will allow you to focus intensely on it and get it all done in a shorter period of time. However, if you need to be able to balance work, studying and a home life, a part-time mode of study might be best for you.

Prepare for a challenge

It is easy to expect your master’s degree to be just a little harder than your bachelor’s; however, there really is quite a large knowledge jump. You need to be prepared to read and research a lot more, and although there are likely to be fewer contact hours, your self-motivation is going to be really important as you will be doing a lot of the work on your own. You may find it easier to spend a year or so getting some experience in your chosen field, along with reading and researching at your leisure in order to feel more ready for your masters. However, for some people, this gap in study intimidates them as they may feel that they are likely to forget how to do certain academic things.

Is it worth it?

This is probably the big one. Once you look at the sacrifices you will be making, weigh up the rewards to make sure it is worth it. It seems as though it should be an easy answer, but remember that it will not guarantee you a job. You will gain great skills, knowledge and of course some letters after your name, but you will be sacrificing money, time and a social life. Decide whether a master’s degree will give you more than it will take from you.

Nothing is suitable for everyone, and deciding whether to do a masters degree is a very personal thing, however, hopefully, we have given you a few things to think about in the process.