Postgraduate study? The right option for me?

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

If you are a final year student and unsure whether further study is an option for you then take a few minutes to read on.

For some students, a postgraduate qualification is a necessary requirement for their chosen career role and in some sectors acknowledged as an advantage. For others, there is a genuine desire to continue within academia for the joy of learning either for more depth in their existing subject area or indeed a new one. This acquisition of ‘knowledge capital’ is no bad thing and even better if combined with the development of higher-level skills and work experience at the same time.

We are all familiar now with the term “panic master’s”, an understandable phenomenon when we see finalists struggle with real concerns about their futures in an uncertain global economy. Whilst there is still room for optimism, and we are still seeing graduate vacancies, no one will deny the inevitable impact on graduate roles and opportunities generally in the current pandemic.

Ultimately it is a matter of personal choice of course. Are you asking yourself honest questions? Have you checked your motivation?  Are you considering further study because the alternative is too unpalatable and difficult? If this is the case, then you may find it helpful to talk to an adviser at the Careers Service and explore some alternatives post-graduation.

One could argue that career planning and good informed decision making is more important than ever, and it is great to be talking to students who are doing just that.

Whilst applications for master’s courses are now open for 2021, there is still time to do some research.  You may find the following action steps a helpful starting point.

  • Always be informed; go beyond the University web pages.
  • Connect with others on the course for valuable ‘inside’ knowledge on all aspects of course structure, module choice, and importantly employability and Industry links. To do this use Bristol Connects and LinkedIn Alumni
  • Would you benefit more from this course by gaining work experience beforehand?
  • Talk to employers at events and careers fairs. Do they value a postgraduate qualification? Take the time to explore case studies.

Crucially, at the moment students globally are reporting the challenges of remote engagement.  Whilst this works for some, would this work for you? Remember there is often far more emphasis on self-directed study within a postgraduate course.

Whilst you will need to be more creative and resilient with your job hunting you still have options.  It is worth exploring that if you feel that signing up for postgraduate study is your only option then maybe it is not the right one after all.