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Should you get a Master's?

Discover the benefits of getting a Master's and how it can boost your career.

If you want to expand your skillset with practical knowledge, studying for a Master's could be the perfect next step.

Taught Master's degrees can develop your expertise in a field you're passionate about, and give you the skills required to put your knowledge to work.

Whether you've finished your undergraduate degree or you're currently in the workforce, Master's degrees can give you plenty of options.

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Don’t just take our word for it – check out some of our Student Stories to see the great experience our students had at uni.

Reasons to do a Master's

1. Become an expert in your field

Build on your knowledge from your undergraduate study or work by engaging with complex topics in a more specialised field of your choice.

You'll be able to learn more about what you're passionate about and gain the tools required to make meaningful contributions in your own settings.

You'll dive into key areas and challenges in your field, and learn different approaches to problems. You'll also develop an understanding of how your theoretical learning can be put to use.

2. Learn with engaged course mates

On a Master's you and your peers are all studying to get better at what you do. You'll learn with motivated course mates bringing their own perspectives and experiences to the same problems.

You'll build a solid study group with your peers to push and encourage each other to develop. You'll also gain new insights from your course mates that can help shape your learning.

3. Boost your salary and career prospects

Master's qualifications are highly regarded by employers.

Having a Master's shows your ability to perform to a high level under pressure for an extended period. It also demonstrates your level of expertise in your chosen subject.

A relevant Master's may give you an advantage over other graduates with a Bachelor's degree when applying for jobs – and if you're an international student, a Master's is a great way to demonstrate your capabilities in the UK.

UK Government data shows that postgraduates regularly have the highest employment rate, with nearly 79% of all working-age postgraduates in professional or high-skilled employment.

This translates to postgraduates earning an average of £8,000 more per year than graduates with a Bachelors degree. (Graduate Labour Market Statistics, 2019).

Mircea Student Story

I wanted to explore the design world at a higher level. This qualification gives me the opportunity to research and develop a personal project under the guidance of qualified tutors.

Mircea Iustin Dobrean, MA Architecture

4. Open up research opportunities

While taught Master's degrees focus on coursework, your time studying at university can also open up research opportunities for you.

To complete your written assignments, you'll still need to conduct secondary research and learn to use your findings appropriately. Some courses also include a mini-thesis to give you a taste of what academic research is like.

If you find that research is something you're passionate about, you can expand one of your assessments or mini-thesis through to a PhD.

5. New city, new experiences

Studying for a Master's might mean moving cities or even countries. If you've been wanting a change of setting along with your career path it's a great opportunity to give both a try.

If you're an international student, studying in a different country gives you the chance to graduate with both fantastic life experiences and a great qualification.

Portsmouth is a welcoming, student-friendly city – one where you'll meet people from all around the world, and have the chance to make connections with people in a whole new environment.

6. More skills-based than a research degree

Master's degrees focus on learning through teaching rather than a long-term research project or thesis. Coursework and assessments are geared towards building up your practical knowledge and skillset.

So when you study for a Master's, you can expand your knowledge and develop skills which are directly transferable to your career path or workplace.

You'll also learn to apply your greater expertise to practical scenarios through your assessments and submissions.

7. Pivot to a new career

If you've decided to pursue a new career, a Master's is an excellent way to prepare yourself for what comes next.

You often don't need a Bachelor's degree in the field you want to study for your Master's. Having an undergraduate qualification can be helpful in your application, but it's not necessarily essential.

Along with the knowledge and skills you'll gain, you'll walk away with a qualification that people in your new field will recognise. So when you come to apply for job roles, your Master's degree will give employers confidence in your knowledge and expertise.

Alongside your existing skills and employment experience, your Master's qualification can make you an attractive candidate to potential employers.

8. Networking opportunities

When you study for a Master's, you'll be learning from some of the best in your field and study under academics with proven expertise, and extensive academic and professional experience.

There are often guest lectures, conferences and other speaking opportunities too, so you can learn from industry experts. You'll also have the opportunity to network and pick their brains on key topics.

9. Professional development

If you're already in a career or industry you're passionate about, a Master's degree offers you a fantastic professional development opportunity.

It's a great way to accelerate your career progression. You'll have access to the latest academic developments in your field and apply your workplace skills in new theoretical and practical settings.

You could even get support from your employer in completing this course, including integrating it with your work, reorganising work arrangements or through sponsorship and financial support.

Toni James student story

I previously served 7 years in the Royal Navy. I wanted to pursue a postgraduate qualification to enhance my learning, and gain more knowledge and understanding that will help to boost my career. I chose Portsmouth because of the accreditations that can be had from professional bodies, the use of financial databases such as Bloomberg and statistical software such as EViews, which enhances practical learning in the real world.

Toni James, MSc Economics, Finance and Banking

Can you afford it?

Before you decide on a Master's it's important to think about the costs involved.

If you're a UK or EU national you can get access to Government Postgraduate Master's Loan which you can use to fund your tuition fees, living costs and other course costs. You might also qualify for one of our £3,000 Master's Scholarships and if you're a Portsmouth graduate you could be eligible for a 20% tuition fee discount.

If you're an international student you'll need to plan out how you can cover your costs and fund yourself while you're studying.

If you're currently working you may need to adjust your working hours or potentially look for part-time work. You might have less money to play with if you're studying full-time and working on the side.

If you're moving cities or countries there are some costs you'll need to consider too. You'll need to factor in things like the initial cost of moving and your deposit if you're renting a place.


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