In the UK it was reported that 2,316,475 students in the academic year of 2016-17 studied higher education in university. Unlike the pre-millennium era when choosing a higher education course at university was somewhat of a niche market, we are now at a stage where not only the number of undergraduates is skyrocketing, the quantity of post graduates has boomed alike (551,580).
The number of university graduates is increasing year on year, therefore, so is the number of graduates entering the UK’s workforce. Therefore, graduate roles that many students are applying to following the completion of their course, either immediately or several years later, are often becoming oversubscribed. With competition for these jobs heating up, many students are instead opting to remain in higher education prior to the completion of their undergraduate degree by signing onto a master’s course.
Offering a wide range of postgraduate degrees, Northumbria University help us contemplate the effect that saying in academia for longer has on your future.
The power of academic knowledge
Doing a postgraduate degree can be a suitable option for those students still unsure about their future career preference. Take for example a recent graduate of business management. Due to the wide scope which this course covers at undergraduate level, the number of career routes they could go down is incredibly high. Choose a more concentrated postgraduate course, however, and one can make themselves more suitable to a distinctive role. The likes of Business with Supply Chain Management is one course which offers students an alternative dimension when eventually veering into a future career. Not only that, but, further education built upon the pre-established undergraduate blocks allows for a development in knowledge. At A-Level stage in school, despite how you feel in regard to assistance from teachers, the vast majority of your education is heavily supervised and revised at each hurdle. As you progress through your academic studies at university, the crutch that was once there is slowly removed before you reach your final year. Completing a dissertation or research project, you recognise that the help previously provided is no longer there, and the likelihood of success, hinges significantly on the amount of effort that you submit. Re-enrol to the next stage, however, and it will become apparent that you have free roam, learning what you want to — often in a professional environment.
There are many benefits to doing a postgraduate degree. Move onto a career following the completion of your course and employers will instantly recognise your commitment in terms of your own personal progression. Despite the fact that you won’t be able to walk straight into any job, interviewers will appreciate the dedication you have placed into completing an initial degree and then a supplementary one.
It’s likely the skills you have obtained during your postgraduate degree will help you gain more responsibility in the workplace over those that don’t have the same qualification. Furthermore, career progression will have more chance of being unlocked thanks to your enhanced knowledge.
Prior to progressing onto a PHD style course, doing a post-graduate degree is undoubtedly the next step, especially for those who don’t quite feel done with the academic lifestyle yet.
Is it financially effective?
Many sceptics will say the financial aspect to studying a postgraduate degree after already funding an under-grad degree is the ultimate con that outweighs the pros. A report conducted by the Higher Education Academy analyses the advantageous properties of postgrad degrees, and the statistics speak for themselves. Fifty-eight per cent of those studying a master’s degree do so to progress within a current job, 54 per cent to improve employment prospects, and 21 per cent to enter a certain role. Similarly, 12 per cent more postgraduates were in a high skilled job than those in the same position, but, with only an undergraduate degree. Those under 30 who had successfully completed a master’s degree earned approximately £3,500 extra a year, while those in the ‘working age’ bracket, laid claim to an additional £6,000 per annum.
Choosing your course
Over the past decade, a huge amount emphasis has been made on studying STEM subjects, to say the least. Monster, who specialise in professional development, analysed the various master’s degrees on offer, and which of these courses pay relate to the highest earners. The top 10 highest earning roles which developed from a postgraduate course are closely linked to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; finance, healthcare, and telecommunications all rank highly on Monster’s list. Nurse Anesthesia, as a role, however, is the most highly paid on their list. The Complete University Guide on the other hand has postgraduates of Business & Administrative Studies as the highest earners, with an average salary of £46,966.
The various points touched upon within this article might be able to help you make the decision whether to do a post-graduate degree or not. But obviously, there are a host of things to consider before deciding for definite.