Thinking about taking a master’s degree, but don’t know where to start? Here the University of Lincoln answers some of the most frequently asked questions about postgraduate degrees to help you decide.What type of master’s courses are available?
Master’s are available in a wealth of subjects, but the main thing you need to consider is the type: taught or research.
Taught master’s degrees will usually consist of a set of modules in each term – some core, some optional – which are delivered in a variety of ways, ranging from weekly tutorials and seminar programmes, to modular study blocks of two to three days. Programmes may include learning through seminars, workshops, lectures, discussions or debates. You will be assisted by different staff members on each of your module’s assessments, and you will be responsible for independent learning in your own time.
On the other hand, research master’s courses are much more independent, with little or no timetabled hours. You will work on research projects that you develop yourself, and have a specialised supervisor to guide you throughout your degree.How do I decide on the right course?
Think about how long you want to study for and check that the course you are interested in offers that choice. Get as much information about the course and the learning environment as possible by attending taster days, open days, chatting with academics, and getting views from current postgraduate students.Will taking a postgraduate qualification help my career?
A master’s degree is a stamp of validation on your expertise in a certain discipline, and this is something employers value. Your master’s demonstrates your commitment to a specialism, and it could help to accelerate a professional accreditation such as becoming a chartered accountant.Can I study part-time or by distance learning?
There are part-time postgraduate courses available and many qualifications have that option so that you can study without having to give up your work. Studying by distance learning is often another option and can also be cheaper.Can I get help with funding?
You can apply for a student loan of up to £10,609 as a contribution towards your postgraduate course and living costs. This will be paid into your bank account in three instalments during the academic year if you are studying on a one-year full-time course (or split across three instalments for each year of your course if it is longer than a year).
Many universities offer grants, bursaries, scholarships, or sponsorship opportunities for postgraduate study, and your employer may also provide a scheme that helps to fund your course.Will I have to quit my job?
The beauty of a master’s degree is that you don’t have to quit your job, because you can choose a part-time option, spreading the learning over two or more years. You may need some flexibility to attend the required teaching sessions though, so it’s a good idea to talk to you employer before making a decision.
You could also consider reducing your working hours so that you can enrol on the full-time course, but think carefully about the level of work required – a master’s takes a lot of commitment.Can I study at postgraduate level without going doing an undergraduate degree?
It is possible to study at postgraduate level without having been to university first, but this varies by course and institution. In a small number of cases, you’ll be able to take a postgraduate qualification without a first degree – providing you can supply evidence of subject knowledge, ability and experience.When should I apply?
The timescales vary from university to university – for example the University of Lincoln doesn’t have a closing date for most of its master’s courses, while some institutions cut off in June for a September start – but it’s advisable to apply at least six months in advance. And double check the start dates, as not all courses begin in September.
Applications are often made online directly to your chosen institution, although Ucas’s UKPASS service provides a centralised admissions service for some universities and colleges. You can make as many applications as you like. What should I include in my personal statement?
Your personal statement is all about you, and it’s your chance to show off your talents to the university. As a rule of thumb aim for around 300–500 words, and double check the length your chosen institution states. You should include:
The reason you are applying.
How you are prepared – eg undergraduate study, workplace experience.
Whatever you choose to study, master’s degrees are a great way to develop yourself personally and professionally. To find out more visit www.lincoln.ac.uk/postgraduate