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What can I do with my masters?

Not only does your masters demonstrate commitment and the capability to complete an intensive and demanding qualification; it can also open doors for you...

Your masters is an ideal springboard into further study, taking a vocational qualification or making the transition into the work place.

  • Further study

    If you’ve enjoyed your time in academia, having a masters puts you in good stead for further study.
  • Applying for a job

    While many employers won’t specify a postgraduate qualification as a requirement for a role, the enhanced skills and experience from the extra stage of study are highly valued. Masters students are generally self-motivated, with excellent critical thinking and transferable skills. They also have more experience than their undergraduate counterparts; having had longer to get experience in the work place with part-time and vacation work.
  • Taking a career specific qualification

    For some professional careers postgraduate level qualifications are a prerequisite and for career changers, a subject specific qualification make the transfer much easier.

How can I increase my chances of getting a job?

A masters degree can increase your depth of knowledge well past that of an undergraduate, or extend your area of expertise – such as business psychology to your management degree. Your extra level of commitment helps you to stand out from the competition when it comes to applying for vacancies.

Pay particular attention in your application to demonstrate the extra value of your study and the transferable value of your skills to the business.
For instance:

  • Communication skills
  • Research
  • Planning and organisation
  • Critical thinking and data analysis
  • Teamwork and motivating others

Arts postgraduates find that it’s often these types of skill that have been of most interest to employers – rather than their particular discipline. For applicants who’ve undertaken further study directly in the same field as the employer should also stress their breadth of knowledge and any extra work placements undertaken.

Did you take advantage of extra-curricular opportunities during your masters? If you learnt a foreign language, enhanced your IT skills or assisted in group research add those skills to your CV.

If you feel that you have any particular skills gaps or a lack of experience, try and address those with the help of your university careers service and arranging placements.

Where can I find a job?

Research-based jobs are advertised on specialist jobs boards like

In many industries, it is relatively unusual to find a position advertised that specify requires advanced level qualifications. Employers and recruiters generally advertise vacancies using:

  • University careers services
  • Through recruitment agencies
  • Jobs boards
  • Newspapers and specialist trade magazines
  • Social media tools like LinkedIn
  • Careers fairs
  • Company websites and trade events.

Your application is the opportunity to showcase the transferable skills that you’ve acquired during your masters.

Should I consider further vocational, professional or postgrad study?

Some graduates undertake further study after a masters – on a full time basis, or part-time while working.

  • To be eligible to enter a particular profession (eg. teaching, law or other professions where vocational qualification is required to practice like architecture or health)
  • To become a specialist in a particular subject area, or to enhance your knowledge in an industry with fast-paced technological changes
  • Increasing your chances of promotion or career progression.

What are my options for further study?

At this point, you might want to consider whether you want to continue to study full-time, or whether you’d like to combine work with part-time or online study.

The entry requirements for some courses (most MBA courses for example) will stipulate a certain amount of work experience to maximise the benefit you’ll get from the course.

Course options after your masters

  • A conversion course to transfer into a different field – a graduate diploma in law if you don’t have a qualifying law degree and would like to qualify as a solicitor for example.
  • A professional or vocational qualification
  • A PGCE or PGDE to become a teacher
  • An engineering masters recognised by one of the professional bodies as the educational component of chartership
  • An MBA
  • Professional doctorate
  • PhD or new-route PhD

Will I get funding for further study?

If you already have a masters, you may find yourself exempt for a government backed loan for a qualification the same level. In these circumstances, charities, professional and specialist organisations as well as funding from universities and private loans are alternative options.

If you want to take a PhD (without a Research Council stipend), move into teaching or some subjects allied with medicine, your circumstances rather than qualifications will dictate the funding available.

Information on doctoral loans (up to £25,700) is available from the GOV.UK website.

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