Choosing the right postgraduate course
Hello, I’m Brogan, a postgraduate student at Leeds Beckett University. In this blog, you’ll read about my personal top tips for choosing the right postgraduate course.
Decisions can be daunting; this is a fact of life. However, choices regarding which postgraduate course to choose can be stressful and confusing. It is utterly normal to feel this way as it is a decision that will undoubtedly impact on your future. I’ve been in the decision-making process myself and know how intimidating it can be.
Here are my top tips for making an informed choice.
Taught or Research
I would recommend looking into both Taught Masters and Research Degrees. Both have their differences and are suited to various styles of working. Taught Masters are predominantly classroom-based, with specific subjects outlined within the course, whereas the Research Degrees focus on individual and more tailored study. For me, making a decision between the two was tough as I had previously enjoyed both of these aspects during my undergraduate degree.Delving into the details of each degree proved incredibly helpful! The Leeds Beckett Postgraduate Website has lots of useful information and it is worth visiting the links it provides. Web searches by subject areas of interest also proved invaluable. Postgraduate days are also useful, and it is worth attending both Research and Taught open days, if you are torn between the two. I ultimately pursued a Taught Masters as it gave me a chance to discover a diverse range of topics whilst still including individual study through its dissertation.
Investigate all possibilities
Investigate all the subject areas that interest you, regardless of whether the subjects relate to your undergraduate course or not. Personally, I chose a subject different to my undergraduate. Despite thoroughly enjoying my previous subject, I thought that a postgraduate course would be a great time to explore other interesting subjects and gain a more diverse skill set. Looking into all the course modules on offer and obtaining as much information as possible from various course open days gave me valuable insight when considering which course I would find enjoyable. Don’t limit yourself in your decision before you even start making it and don’t be afraid to give different courses a chance.
Exam or coursework-based
I would definitely recommend looking at how each of the possible courses are assessed. My undergraduate hadn’t consisted of exams, therefore it was a slightly daunting possibility for me to dive into exams again after such a long break! Webpages on each specific course can give details on whether it is exam or assessment based and also gives the contact details of tutors, who can reassure you of how the grading and assessment works. Despite this, if you feel like you would be able to handle the possible change, I would not let this dissuade you from perusing a course that you think you will love.
Speak to the tutors
Speaking to course leaders and module tutors is highly recommended before making a decision. For me, this proved highly informative as I was able to ask many questions regarding the structure and content of different courses. I could also raise any queries on assessments or adjustments and gained a better sense of what the course entailed. Staff can offer further insight into how your prior experiences may aid you in your postgraduate studies and are often able to provide you with further resources with course information. I also recommend contacting a tutor who already knows you and your work process, as they may be able to provide valuable advice. Postgraduate days, both online and in person, are also a great way to speak to course tutors but also students and staff who can advise on finance, accommodation, course deadlines and requirements and other aspects of university life, which is also incredibly useful.
Pros and cons
Still stuck in your decision? Why not try writing out a pros and cons list and reviewing this with family or friends. Hearing the advice and opinions from people who know you and your educational interests best can be really beneficial and reassuring when making a decision, and they probably know you and your interests more than you think! It may help you to list possible courses in order of preference, which may give a clearer idea of which one you want to embark on. After investigating each degree type, talking with tutors, studying courses and exploring modules, making a pros and cons list can be really helpful. Making this list will allow you to get your thoughts out of your head and onto the paper, giving you a visual outlet of what may suit you the most.
There you have it, five tips for choosing a postgraduate degree. The decision can be undeniably daunting at times however don’t worry too much! Think deeply and wisely, weigh up the pros and cons, seek trustworthy advice and make an informed decision but don’t become overly stressed out with making the final choice.
Happy decision making!
Hi, I'm Brogan, a postgraduate student from Leeds Beckett University, currently studying within the School of Cultures Studies and Humanities, with a passion for writing. I hope to post helpful material on the varying aspects of university life.