If you’re a recent graduate or heading into your final year, the start of a new semester can get you thinking about your options. If postgraduate study is a move worth considering, here’s what you need to know.
1. Postgraduate courses are more independent and project-focused
If you think that postgraduate study is just a repeat of your undergraduate degree, think again. Postgraduate courses require you to study more independently and are usually heavily project- or research-focused, seeing students work in teams or with staff supervisors throughout their program. It’s also likely that you’ll get a lot more choice in your subjects, with fewer core studies than at undergraduate level.
2. Masters degrees aren’t the only option
Many students thinking about further study assume that their next step is a masters degree. Masters programs can take one, two or even four years to complete full time, depending on the type you choose. If you don’t want to commit to a lengthy degree, why not choose a shorter qualification such as a graduate certificate or graduate diploma? These programs take six months or a year of full-time study respectively.
3. You’ll study with an interesting, varied cohort
It’s likely that most students in your undergraduate degree commenced study straight after high school. As a postgraduate, you will study alongside people from varied backgrounds — everyone from fresh graduates to professionals with decades of practice under their belt. Some students will have completed similar degrees; others may have studied in a completely different discipline or been accepted based on extensive work experience.
4. You will make valuable networks
Your fellow students, lecturers and tutors make up your industry, so you will make some very useful connections during your program. You will work with a range of a different people across group projects and in your classes, but it’s also worth getting involved on campus by joining a club or attending social events.
5. You can gain recognition in your field or qualify for practice
Postgraduate programs often lead to professional recognition in your field, in many cases being the final step towards being able to practice. Architecture is a good example, where students must complete a masters degree to fulfil registration requirements. In other fields, postgraduate study allows students to extend their qualifications. Accounting graduates, for instance, can become certified as a chartered accountant (CA) or chartered practising accountant (CPA).