Know your route
With over 50,000 postgraduate opportunities to choose from finding a course is like looking for a needle-in-a-haystack.
However, the whole process becomes a whole lot easier once you narrow down what you’re looking for. Use the following help choose what type of course and institution suits you:
The End Result - What do you really want to get out of further study? Unfortunately a postgrad degree is not a golden ticket to guaranteed employment, meaning that you need to seriously weigh up the skills another qualification will give you compared to working.
Are you interested in the course? - Further education is demanding, both physically and financially. If you’re going to go down this route, you need to ensure that you make it worth the effort. You won’t get anywhere unless you are interested in the subject and super motivated. Failing a course because you’ve gone into it half-heartedly gives future employers the wrong message.
Funding - Potentially, you could get everything paid for, including rent and living costs, so where do you stand the greatest chance of getting funded? Bursaries and scholarships for postgraduate education can come from a number of sources, including the universities themselves. In order to improve your chances, try and find the universities with the most generous funding opportunities for your subject.
Location - Many people choose to stay in their university city, where they already have friends, a support network, and accommodation. Or maybe you think a completely fresh start will benefit you more. If you’re currently living at home with your parents and can’t afford to rent in a university city, look into distance learning opportunities.
Academic Reputation - If you’re undertaking a professional qualification, ensure that the specific course is accredited and recognised by professional bodies. If you’re looking for a Master’s or PhD course, shop around for the best institution. Start by looking at the annual university league tables.
Resources and Support - How big is the library? How many people are there on the course? If it is heavily subscribed, you might have to prepare yourself for fierce competition over books and other course materials. Also, look at the strength of the department in which you’ll be working. You should aim to find a university with members of staff who share your interests for the best possible supervision.
Entry Requirements - Don’t forget to check the entry requirements! As a general rule, if you have a 2:1 or above, you should be okay. However, if you’re applying to highly competitive courses in prestigious institutions, you will not only need excellent grades, but a knock-out application.