Choosing your course and study options

Written By

Think Postgrad

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I choose a university course?
  • Where can I find masters courses?

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Embarking on postgraduate study is a big investment, of both time and money, and there is a lot to consider. Here are some of the questions about choosing your course and your study options we think you might like to ask yourself. Research the Universities while you compare courses and find a postgraduate degree.

Where should I study?

You might think this question should come last once you’ve chosen your course. For some people it may be where you need to start.

Are you prepared to move in order to study? Within the same country? Would you consider studying in a different country? If you can move, do you want to?

Why do I really want to do a postgraduate course?

The answer to this relates in some way to employment. Either to enhance job prospects, enable a change of career, provide specialist knowledge. Or simply to stand out from the crowd. There are still a lucky few who can afford to study simply for the love of the subject. It could it be that you just want to put off trying to get a job. Maybe you can’t think what else to do? We’d recommend a visit to your careers office if that’s the case.


Is now the right time?

The great thing is you can study at postgraduate level whenever seems right to you. Immediately after graduation, after a couple of years in work if you decide you need specialist knowledge. Any time if you want a career change. Or after a number of years if you want to advance in your career. Increasingly, Universities understand that postgraduate courses need to fit in around your life. You fitting in around the course is no longer the case. If you are returning to study after some years, ask useful extra questions. How much specific support the University offers for people in your situation? What are the range of students on the course?

How do I want to study?

Be prepared to go with a different mode of study. Increasingly there are lots of distance learning options available, but you need to consider if that is right for you – do you want the conversation and connection with other students and staff, or are you happy to study at a distance?

Tuition fees and living expenses

If you are able to see postgraduate study as an investment in your future, it may make it less painful, although maybe not less expensive! Do you have your own money to put in, or do you need funding? Remember you will need living expenses as well as fees. It’s never too early to start looking for funding, either money that comes with the course you want to do, OR, from charities or other organisations. Would you consider working to help finance your studies, and is it better to study part-time and work, or full-time and possibly go into debt?

What are your priorities?

Once you’ve thought about the factors above it may be useful to make a list of the priorities you will need to keep in mind when choosing and comparing courses. Some things will be more important than others and your list may change as you discover what the possibilities are. It may not be practical to expect all your requirements to be met in one masters course or PhD, but a list of priorities will help focus your search.

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