Preparing for your Master's Course
Some master’s courses can vary in length of time and some will require placements. My degree is a two-year course which involves around 25-weeks’ worth of placement in the second year. Before embarking on your postgraduate journey, here are a few tips to help you prepare:
- Dissertation. If your course involves completing a dissertation, try to think about what you want to do before beginning your course. This will take some of the pressure off once you come to write your proposal.
- Brush up on key skills. It may be useful to brush up on any key skills relevant to your course i.e. critical thinking, reflective writing. There are many useful resources on the Leeds Beckett Skills for Learning website: https://skillsforlearning.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/
- Pre-reading. Complete any pre-reading which is required for your course. If your course doesn’t provide you with any, do some of your own reading. This may involve revisiting notes from your undergraduate course if they are relevant to your masters.
- Be prepared. Be prepared for high volumes of work, my first semester was very busy. It’s important to be able to manage your time and work out a flexible routine.
- Organisation. Before starting, have an idea on how you will take notes and organise your work. Whether that’s on a laptop, saved on a pen drive or stored in a folder etc. Try to have everything at the ready so you can be prepared from the get-go.
- Location. If you are new to the area, get to know where the university grounds are and where each building is. There should be maps provided, but it can be useful for exploring the area before you begin and make some mental notes of where the relevant buildings and library are.
- Connect. Once you have secured a place on your master’s degree, try and connect with others who are also on your course. See if you can join or even create a Facebook group for all of your classmates. This can be a great way to get to know others before you begin.
- MyBeckett Portal. Once you have access to the online MyBeckett portal, it is worth becoming familiar with the site. If you are anything like me and not very tech-savvy, it really does help to have a look at what is on there and where to find everything!
- Module Handbooks. When they become available, read through your module handbooks. Get to know your timetable, who your lecturer is, and what each module involves. This can help get organised for the semester ahead.
- Referencing. Become familiar with the university’s referencing style. At Leeds Beckett, we use Harvard referencing – a guide to using this can be found in the ‘Quote, Unquote’ book. The e-book can be found here: https://skillsforlearning.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/local/Quote_Unquote.pdf
It may be useful having this book to hand for when you begin your first assignment.
- Skills for Learning. Once you have access to the portal, you can book onto a Skills for Learning session (i.e. dissertation writing, reflective writing etc.). It is worth having a look at the timetable and see what sessions you can book onto (if necessary). I have been to a couple of these and I have found them very useful!
And finally, have fun! Although a master’s course can be tough, try to remember why you chose it in the first place. Keep a positive mindset (if possible!) and always remember to reach out to a member of staff if you are feeling overwhelmed or struggling.I hope this has been helpful. Best of luck to those of you who are studying a master’s course here!