What to Know Before Applying for a Postgraduate Degree

What to Know Before Applying for a Postgraduate Degree

Guest Writer

Updated December 15, 2020 Updated December 15

By Lucy Farrington-Smith

Enrolling onto a postgraduate degree is a big step – you’re committing time, money, and yourself to a single discipline for at least a year. It goes without saying that it needs to be a considered choice, not only in terms of what subject you pick but also whether it’s the right choice for you as an individual.

So, before you decide to opt for further study, take note of the points below to ensure you’re fully prepared for your postgraduate degree.

Check the university is right for you

University rankings are an invaluable source of information at your disposal when researching a prospective course – you can quickly and easily assess a location’s suitability in terms of teaching, facilities, and graduate employment success with a few Google searches.

If you can, get to know recent graduates or current students of the university in question. This will give you a hands-on understanding of what the environment is really like, alongside the facts and figures as captured in league-table rankings.

There is nothing more valuable than a personal recommendation – so get talking.

Plan how you’ll schedule your studies

Contact hours are a pivotal component of your postgrad – and success in your discipline rests upon them. Before applying, fully research your course and immerse yourself in the information. Is your teaching on-site or off? Is it distance learning or in-house? How many hours a week of contact time should you expect?

At this point you should also consider if you want to undertake a full-time or part-time degree. Are you wanting to continue or take up part-time employment alongside your study, or can you afford to apply yourself entirely to your course without an income? Iron out these variables now to ensure that your choice further down the line is an informed one.

Nothing should surprise you once you have enrolled at university – so do the background work in advance to make sure you don’t uncover any red flags when it’s too late to make a change.

Find out what extra benefits you can get alongside your degree

You know you’ll come out with a postgrad degree in your chosen field – but what else can the university offer you? Is there the option to study abroad or to be on placement during teaching? Research your prospective lecturers and professors – are they established in their field? What accolades do they have to their name? Can they connect you with valuable contacts in the industry? Discover what advice they can offer in addition to their teaching.

Postgrads aren’t cheap – so you’re well within your rights to milk them for all you can.

Ask yourself why you’re really doing this

It’s all too easy to get carried away with the application process and speed ahead without realizing, but you should take a step back and ask yourself one question before hitting submit: why do I want to do a postgraduate degree?

The answer should be something along the lines of the fact you want to further yourself professionally in a field that you’re passionate about.

A postgrad isn’t something to just stumble into “because my friends are doing it” or “because I don’t know what I want to do yet, so I’m just continuing university”. As we’ve said before, you’ll be applying your time, money, and yourself to a discipline for a prolonged period of time, so you need to be fully invested in it, and ready for the hours of hard work, stress, and headaches it will bring.

Preparation is the key to success – so before you undertake a postgraduate degree, ensure that you are fully clued-up so nothing comes as a surprise.

Lucy Farrington-Smith writes for Inspiring Interns, a recruitment agency specializing in matching career starters with graduate jobs. For everything from marketing internships to graduate jobs Manchester, click here.

Lead image: Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally published in July 2017 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by


Related Articles

Most Shared

Most Read