The Key Benefits Of Pursuing A Postgraduate Degree
Upon completing their undergraduate studies, graduates often contemplate future career paths. However, with the job market becoming increasingly competitive in recent years, standing out among the pool of candidates has become more challenging.
It’s widely acknowledged that obtaining a postgraduate degree can significantly expedite career advancement, although this journey is by no means effortless.
So, what are the key benefits of pursuing a postgraduate degree? According to Prospects.co.uk, there are numerous compelling reasons to pursue further education, including:
- Boost income potential
- Expand professional network
- Improving employment opportunities
- Pursue a personal passion
- Specialise in a particular field
- Transition to an advanced qualification
As quoted by Steve Marrs on Prospect’s blog titled “Should I do a Masters?”, “As you can see, there are a number of reasons graduates should consider a Master’s degree. A master’s can help accelerate your career through deepened subject knowledge and improved personal and professional skills such as project management and self-motivation”
In his statement, Marrs emphasises that a master’s program offers an opportunity to boost an individual’s career prospects. By delving deeper into the program, individuals gain invaluable insight whilst further honing their knowledge and skills. This not only enhances your academic knowledge but also prepares individuals for real-world challenges.
What types of postgraduate courses are available in the UK?
The UK offers a diverse range of postgraduate courses. According to UCAS, there are four common types of postgraduate courses available:
- Master’s Degree
- Postgraduate Research
- Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert)
- Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)
Master’s Degree is an advanced academic qualification obtained after completing undergraduate studies. Typically spanning one year of full-time study, Master’s programs provide an in-depth understanding of a specific field, offering specialised knowledge and expertise. These types of courses are designed to enhance expertise, prepare individuals for leadership roles, and significantly boost career prospects.
Postgraduate Research programs are integral to advanced academic studies. They are often associated with PhD courses and involve conducting original in-depth research into a specific field. However, postgraduate research can also serve as a transitional stepping stone to a PhD in the form of a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Master of Research (MRes). These programs typically span one year of full-time study, followed by several years of further research.
Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) is a valuable and concise postgraduate qualification, typically completed in one term or 15 weeks. PGCerts are designed for individuals seeking specialised in-depth knowledge in a specific field without the extensive duration and cost of a master’s program. They are ideal for professionals looking to enhance their expertise or swiftly transition into new career paths. These programs provide targeted coursework, practical training and relevant industry insights without the requirement of a dissertation.
Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) is an intermediate level of postgraduate study, typically spanning 30 weeks or two terms. It serves as a bridge between undergraduate and master’s level qualifications. PGDip is designed for individuals seeking specialisation in a particular field that is more comprehensive than a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) but not as extensive as a master’s degree. A PGDip is generally considered to be worth two-thirds of a Master’s degree and typically includes advanced coursework and practical training.
Enhance Your Career Opportunities
Undoubtedly, pursuing a postgraduate degree equips you with skills that can significantly enhance your CV, setting you apart from other applicants. The knowledge acquired at this advanced level surpasses that of undergraduate studies, empowering you with the expertise necessary for your specific field.
Some universities incorporate work experience into their postgraduate programs, offering invaluable insights into professional environments and expanding your professional network. By including this experience and listing a postgraduate degree on your CV, you become a more appealing candidate.
Improve Your Career Trajectory
Many individuals opt for short courses, such as postgraduate diplomas or certificates, to improve their skills within their current roles. However, committing to a full postgraduate degree demonstrates a sincere dedication to career advancement.
The primary drawback of pursuing a full postgraduate degree is its duration. While some can afford a year-long break to fully immerse themselves in the program, financial constraint makes this impossible for others. Consequently, some individuals may opt for part-time courses or lower-level qualifications. Fortunately, in recent years, more flexible options have emerged, with many degrees being offered on a part-time basis or entirely online, catering to diverse needs and schedules.
Become A Specialist
In general, pursuing a postgraduate degree serves two primary purposes.
Firstly, it offers an opportunity to explore a specific subject or specialisation within your undergraduate field, fostering professional development or a personal aspiration.
Alternatively, it can facilitate a career transition. For instance, a law conversion Master’s degree provides an excellent pathway for aspiring lawyers, equipping them with specialised knowledge and skills to enter the legal profession.
However, postgraduate degrees offer versatility. Regardless of your academic background, a postgraduate degree can position you as an expert in a chosen area, opening doors to new opportunities. Pursuing a degree provides an excellent chance to transform a general degree, such as a Bachelor’s in English Literature, into a specialised career path such as Law, Marketing, or Teaching.
Boost Your Earning Potential
Postgraduate degrees are highly regarded by employers. Holding a postgraduate degree demonstrates your ability to perform at a higher standard and highlights your expertise in your chosen field. According to Statista, university graduates in England earned an average of £38,500 in 2022, while postgraduates earned an average salary of £45,000. Obtaining a postgraduate degree can significantly boost your earning potential.
In addition to its impact on your basic earnings, a postgraduate degree positively influences various aspects of your professional life. It promotes profound self-assurance and expertise, broadens your knowledge and skills, and creates extensive networking opportunities. Consequently, this not only enriches your qualifications but also strengthens your career prospects, establishing a solid foundation in the competitive job market.
While pursuing a postgraduate degree, you will have the chance to learn from top professionals in your field and be mentored by esteemed academics and experts. Additionally, there are frequent guest lecturers, conferences, and other speaking engagements where you can gain insights from external industry experts.
This offers an excellent opportunity to expand your professional network and engage in meaningful discussions about crucial topics.
Why should I choose the UK for postgraduate studies? UCAS. https://www.ucas.com/postgraduate/postgraduate-study/international-students/benefits-studying-uk [Accessed 16 October 2023]
Should I do a Masters? Prospects. https://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/masters-degrees/should-i-do-a-masters [Accessed 16 October 2023]
Average annual salary of graduates and non-graduates in England from 2077-2022. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1191970/annual-salary-of-graduates-in-england/#:~:text=People%20with%20postgraduate%20degrees%20earned,those%20with%20only%20undergraduate%20degrees. [Accessed 16 October 2023]