Start a masters degree in January

Written By

Think Postgrad

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you start a masters in January?
  • How do I get funding to start a masters in January?
  • Can I apply for a January start masters if I was unsuccessful in September?

Masters Compare has updated its information about postgraduate courses available in the New Year 2024. Here are some tips if you decide to start a masters degree in January.

Why start a masters degree in January?

The New Year always signals the start of something exciting and different. Preparing to start a masters degree in the run up to the holidays is very exciting. As the old year passes into history the new year is full of potential.

  • A change is as good as a rest

Motivation for study is just as important as ability, and we all need a change of scenery now and then. If you have been focused on learning for a number of years since school then taking a break before stepping into your next challenge is perfectly understandable. That’s why if you start a masters degree in January it could be the perfect time.

  • Balancing work and life

The past couple of years have been topsy-turvy for most people. To study a masters degree in January will gives you some welcome stability and a renewed sense of direction.

  • Better for work planning

If part time or online study fits around your situation then knowing that everything starts in January can be a real benefit. You can organise your study around work and family commitments rather than worry about periods later in the year when everyone is organising holidays etc.

  • Less rush

The big surge in applications happens in the late summer. Applying in autumn means that you don’t have to rush to beat the demand for January places. Universities can manage the admissions process more swiftly when the volume of enquiries has come down to manageable levels.

The hybrid delivery model (some in person, some online) is now well established in university campuses. This is a mix of online and in person tuition and support. Some students find the hybrid model gives them more options when it comes to access and flexible study.

Campus Teaching in person

The following university links are a sample of January Start courses.

How fast is the application process?

The key to processing an application is having all the appropriate documents available.

Have your identity documentation and your exam results available when you apply.

Universities can only process an application if the student has shared all their exam scores and appropriate proofs of identity.

Will the teaching style be different from my home University?

In the UK, a typical postgraduate course includes a series of compulsory modules. Several optional modules which focus on different themes related to the subject.

Teaching comprises of a mixture of styles – some formal lectures particularly at the beginning of your course, but there will also be seminars and small workshops with other students. You will work in groups of students on projects, so be prepared to contribute to the sessions when you are required to do so.

During a typical week you will probably have only a few hours teaching, so outside this students study on their own or in the Library. In the UK a masters student is expected to manage their time and be organised to submit their work regularly for assessment. You will have access to the university online learning system to do this.

Contact time with your Course Lecturer or Personal Tutor is timetabled separately, but they will support your studies in one-to-one tutorials.

Universities recognise that these teaching methods will be different for international students from their undergraduate experience. They offer online workshops before the course begins to help students prepare for this change. These workshops can include sample lectures, familiarisation workshops and webinars with Alumni and even your fellow students. If you take advantage of a pre-sessional English course this will also introduce you to learning and studying remotely.

Extra preparation

To get the best out of your masters experience as an international student it pays to undertake some extra preparation: –

  • Take time to study the module structure of the course you are interested in. This will break down the topics and number of credits that each module is worth because a conventional masters degree course usually comprises of 180 credits. You will work towards achieving as many credits as you can over the duration of the course.
  • If you sign up to a Virtual Open Day you will have the chance to ask questions about the modules and the order that these are completed in.
  • Try to take advantage of any online courses that you can access. Your University will share links to useful materials with you, but do your own research as well to become familiar.
  • For conversion courses there are pre entry sample lectures you can take. These are really useful if you are new to a subject. Often the first few modules on a conversion course are designed to bring your knowledge up to the standard you need to tackle the more challenging content of your course.

Sign up for scholarship opportunities on Postgraduate Studentships and the latest listings for autumn programmes on Masters Compare.