How to Choose a Masters Degree | Top Universities

How to Choose a Masters Degree

User Image

Riti Rishi Sandhu

Updated Oct 25, 2016



How to Choose a Masters Degree main image

There are lots of things you’ll want to look out for when choosing a master’s degree. The university itself is very important, as is the town or city where you’ll be living. You’ll also want to pay close attention to the course content, career outcomes and entry requirements. Here are some of the key elements to consider when choosing a master’s degree:

1.  What kind of career do you want to pursue after the course?

This includes both ‘regular’ jobs and staying in academia. While it’s perfectly fine to pursue a master’s degree just out of a passion for the subject, you’ll want to make sure you have a plan for after your degree finishes. And you’ll want to choose a master’s degree that will really help you access the career opportunities you’re seeking.  

2.  What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Just as undergraduate study was a big step up from secondary school, postgraduate study will feel very different to your first degree! While self-improvement is a worthwhile goal, don’t step into a master’s degree that focuses on skills you have little grounding in. For example, if you’ve got a great mind for numbers but have difficulty with essays, think very carefully before signing up to a philosophy course…

3.  What master’s degree options are available?

Once you know where you excel and have a rough idea of the career path you want to take, start looking through the options available to you. Websites like QS Courses are an excellent way to search through master’s degrees, making it possible to narrow down your search by subject, degree type (MSc, MBA etc.), method of teaching (full-time, online etc.), degree length, tuition fees and location.

4.  What’s the university really like?

Once you have the basic information sorted out, there are ways you can find the information that’s harder to quantify. What’s the atmosphere like? What’s the culture like in the faculty? Is it a nice city? University websites can provide you with the most up-to-date information, but it’s also the least neutral – you only see what they choose to show you, and you see it in their exact words.

The best way to find out how you feel about a university is always to visit it on an open day. Unfortunately, this can be very difficult for international students to do. Talking to existing students or alumni on forums and social networks is a good way to get a more ‘unofficial’ verdict, although it may not be so reliable. Make sure to take what you hear with a pinch of salt!

5.  Do you meet all the entry requirements?

Finally, make sure you check the entry requirements for the course. Some require certain qualifications (almost all master’s degrees require the applicant to have an undergraduate degree, and some will want this degree to be in a particular subject), and each will have different expectations for the academic prowess of applicants. Some master’s degrees also require applicants to take graduate admissions tests such as the GMAT or GRE, and if you’re studying internationally, you may need to provide proof of proficiency in the language of tuition.

Want more content like this? Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

+ 6 others
saved this article

+ 7 others saved this article