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Studying a Master's Degree - What to Expect

Wondering what to expect when it comes to studying a Master’s course? If you have finished your undergraduate degree and you’re thinking about continuing on to do a Master’s, you might be curious about how different the experience is. Although Master’s courses are often structured in a fairly similar way to Bachelor’s degree, there are still noticeable and important differences between the two. We’ve put together a quick guide to give you an idea of what to expect, so when you start studying once again, you can feel comfortable and confident that fewer surprises might be coming your way. 

Will there be more work?

The short answer is yes, there probably will be. A Master’s degree is a level up from your Bachelor’s, so you should also expect a rise in the depth and complexity of the work you’ll be doing.  

What this means is that while you might not see a substantial increase in things like the word count of essays, your lecturers will be expecting an improvement in the quality of the work you complete. Expect to become reacquainted with the library in a big way. 

How will your Master’s degree be structured?

Your Master’s degree will be structured in a similar way to your undergraduate degree – you’ll likely follow the same term structure as undergraduate students, and your course will almost certainly be broken up into modules.  

There will absolutely be differences between postgraduate and undergraduate degrees. Most Master’s courses are a full year in length, for instance, meaning you’ll be working over the summer to complete your dissertation (after most undergraduate students have finished for the year). You may also find that you have fewer modules than you did during your undergraduate degree, but the modules you do have will require a lot more time and focus. 

How much contact time will you get?

Contact time at Master’s level should be similar to the contact time you received during your undergraduate course, but with smaller class sizes. You’ll also be encouraged to spend more one-on-one time with your personal tutor, who will be there to assist you with any issues you have during your degree.  

However, you’ll be expected to spend more time carrying out research on your own. A Master’s degree is often seen as a stepping stone between an undergraduate and a PhD, meaning there is a greater emphasis placed on independent research. 

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