If you’re currently in the process of applying for a Master’s course, or you're strongly considering one, you probably have a firm idea in your mind of what you want to study. Yet deciding where to study –that can be the tricky part.
While Coronavirus has seen students adapt a blended learning approach, there's still a number of things you may want to consider.
If you want to study a Master’s Degree to help further your career prospects, it's worth looking at your University’s industry reputation first. Many world-class institutions will develop working relationships with leading companies, offering their students the opportunity to network and gain hands-on experience within a working environment.
You obviously want to attend a university with a good reputation to enhance your career prospects. You can generally establish how well a University’s specific department is by the success of its previous graduates, and you should be able to find this information online.
However, if you are looking to pursue a career in academia, then you should look at The Complete University Guide Rankings and attend a University which places more of an academic focus on study.
Some students will self-fund their Master’s qualification by taking out a loan from the bank. However, it's worth knowing that the maximum you can borrow generally equates to £10,000, and this needs to help cover your living needs as well as your course fees.
You might not be looking to move with the current pandemic situation, however it is worth understanding that in reality £10,000 might not stretch that far if you do end up moving. So it's important not only to look at the cost of your programme, but also the cost of living in the local area. If prices are high, is there the possibility of finding some part-time work while you study for example?
If you want to pursue a career in a specific industry such as finance, design or journalism, you should aim to study in a city which has a thriving industry. While your university will have many industry contacts, your course leaders will also expect you to demonstrate passion and initiative through acquiring contacts of your own.
The geographical location of your University can also have a significant bearing upon how much you enjoy your time of study. While some people love the hustle and bustle of a larger city, others may find it intimidating and opt to study at smaller institutions. You should aim to study somewhere that makes you happy, and that will depend upon your personality – there is no right or wrong answer.
Before making a definite decision, you should also carefully examine the structure of any potential course that you might take. Some Master’s courses will require students to commit to a high number of contact hours, and others may have a more flexible approach to learning. Examine how flexible the course hours are, and whether this will fit in with other aspects of your life (such as part-time or freelance work)
Similarly, although core modules for your subject may be the same irrespective of where you study, many Master’s courses also require their students to study compulsory modules. If this is the case, look at the options available to you at your chosen establishment and question whether or not this appeals to your areas of interest.
Many Universities will also offer students the option to study on a part-time or full-time basis. If you are self-funding, then part-time study may be something you wish to consider in order to allow you the opportunity to take on more paid work while qualifying.
There are many other little things that may influence where you study your Master’s qualification such as family ties, student social life and your familiarity with the location. These shouldn’t be a key factor in deciding where you end up, but if you’re stuck between two offers (lucky you) then you may want to take them into consideration.
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