Why Masters Study?
Studying for a Masters degree abroad ( or a PhD) takes time, money and commitment. It is hard work and not a decision to be taken lightly. Before you make a decision to study overseas you must have a clear understanding of your career motives and how the degree will help you reach your goal. If you do not have a clear understanding, it is advisable that you take some time to do some reflections before you apply. Asking the right questions will help you find the right answers. I have compiled some important questions that will help you make the right decision.
[Photo: Student of the UBC studying for final exam( Author:Gnarlycraig)]
Why Study in the UK at all?
This was one question I asked myself many years ago before making my application. And I have never regretted it. The UK is a fantastic place to study as UK qualifications are recognized all over the world by employers and top universities, Some of the world’s greatest scientists, administrators and business men where products of British universities. Bill Clinton, Fela Kuti, and Lee Kuan Yew are good examples of people who studied in Britain and later went on to have astounding careers.
I have found from my own experience that the quality of a British education is excellent. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher education( QAA) is the body responsible for ensuring that UK universities uphold and maintain a high standard of teaching , learning and research set by the government.The number of historic landmarks and tourist attractions in the UK are pretty impressive, and studying in the UK is also a great way for international students to improve their English. I have written a post on 7 good reasons why you should study in Britain. you can Read it later by clicking on the link, meanwhile enjoy the video below about London; Courtesy of Whojax.
Do you Have enough Funds?
Studying in the UK is expensive as you need to have enough money to cater for tuition, living and maintenance costs. International students are required to pay more than what home students pay. EU nationals are comparatively better off because they pay the same fees as UK students. However , the rates of fees vary from institution to institution and according to the subject studied. Science based subjects are usually more expensive than arts or social science based subjects. More specialized qualifications( like medicine or dentistry) are even more expensive.
A UK postgraduate degree is certainly not cheap and I guess that why you are on this site– to find some form of scholarship or financial aid. I sincerely hope this site is detailed enough to help you in your educational journey, as I’ve always wished that undergraduate and postgraduate education in the United Kingdom would one day be cheaper .
Please watch the video below by my friend, Joddle an English teacher from London who teaches English online to home and international students. She runs the website http://www.joddle.co.uk and wishes like me that the cost of education in the UK was more affordable for international students.
The good news is that there are universities in the UK that offer scholarships and financial aid to International students. You will find them on this site. However full tuition scholarships are often very competitive and you would need to have a high track record of academic excellence to get one. However, another good thing about the UK is that you can work while you study. International students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full time during holidays. Working full time during the holidays can be a great way to earn money and acquire invaluable skills and experience which could be good on your CV. If you would like to know what you will need to work when you arrive at the UK , Please read my post on 5 things you will need to work in the UK.
Consider whether you really need a postgraduate Degree?
A postgraduate degree is not for everybody as not all career requires it. You must consider whether traveling abroad will be better for you than simply studying in your home country. What will you do with your degree when you finish? will you go back home to find a job or will you settle down in the United kingdom to work? in the past the UK government, under the post study work visa scheme, allowed all student with a degree to stay and work for two years after their studies. This is no longer the case. A new provision under Tier 2 has been introduced, specifically designed for recent graduates. This allows some degree students with a job offer to stay back in the Country and work after their studies under Tier 2 rules. Information is available from the UK Council for International Student Affairs and the UK Border Agency.
So it is important to think about the big picture of what you aim to achieve at the end of your studies. What if you don’t get a satisfactory job at the end of your studies – Do you intend to return home? It is prudent to study a field that is recognized and appreciated in your home country. so If you don’t get a decent job you can always return home.
Nevertheless, a postgraduate degree is a good thing. It could boost your appeal to employers and increase your career prospects. But you must strike a balance between what employers are looking for and what you passionate about. Nowadays employers tend to look more favorably on experience than additional qualifications. I know this for a fact because I been working in the United Kingdom for many years now. A UK postgraduate degree demonstrates to employers that you are committed to your subject and that you possess the technical knowledge about your field. Studies increasingly show that people with postgraduate degrees earn more than those with Bachelors degrees in the UK!
Will a Postgraduate degree help you earn a high paying Job?
Getting a Masters degree is not a guarantee that you will get a high paying job. But it is certainly a good start. As an international student It takes a lot of courage to leave your home country to study in another country ; as you will have to settle into your new environment and adapt to the new culture. However, having a foreign degree on your CV sends a big signal to employers that you are not fazed by the challenges of new territories. It tells employers that you have a can-do-mentality. This is definitely a good thing as employers are constantly seeking applicants with work transferable skills , such time management, critical thinking, research and leadership ability, and project management skills. It has been proven that 20% of graduate recruiters offer a higher salary to postgraduates degree holders.
It has been reported by the ”Council for Industry and Higher Education” that job applicants with international study experience are highly valued by multinational companies who are constantly seeking a multiculturally diverse work force.
Another helpful thing to do is to check from your university or browse the internet for the job prospects of those who studied the exact course you are interested in. Find out what they earn! This can be a good indicator of what you are likely to earn after your studies.
Have you Found the right School and the right Course?
Finding the right course is equally as important as choosing the right school. Before taking the leap of faith to do a post graduate degree you must first identify which course is right for you. Don’t study a course simply because your friends are interested in it. You must instead chose a course you are passionate about. It should be an area or field that you are absolutely interested in. This will help enjoy your time at the university.
Choosing a good school is extremely important because employers look favorably on graduates from schools with a high reputation. Before making your choice do a thorough research on the university. Find out about their teaching methods to see if it is right for you. Ask yourself these three golden questions– How successful are their graduates? Is the university highly regarded by employers? Is the program accredited by a professional body? Most importantly, make sure the school is not a bogus one! This is especially important for non-EU applicants who will require a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK. Check that the university is on the Tier 4 Sponsors Register or in the case of Bulgarian and Romanian students the DIUS register.
If you reside in the UK or are from the EU , visit the university in person. Speak with the tutors and find out about their research facilities. Ask the registered students about their own experiences. If you are taking up a doctoral post ensure you check out your supervisor too! The worst thing for an PhD student is to take up a position only to find out you can’t get along with your supervisor. International students who can”t visit their chosen university can simply read the university’s quality report via The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) website.
Will a Postgraduate Degree help You Change Career?
Maya Angelou once said if you don’t like something, change it. As we live our lives we sometimes discover new disciplines that interest us. A postgraduate degree can be a guaranteed way to change careers. However, one can change fields nowadays without necessary acquiring a new qualification. Today, most professional jobs are open to a wide variety of graduate degrees. For instance, engineering jobs are usually open to graduates from maths, physics, and engineering degrees. So before you take up further studies it is advisable to check if your current qualification will be sufficient to help you actualize your dreams.
I wish you all the best.
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