TalkPostgrad: the cost of a masters course
When you are choosing your masters course, the most obvious cost is the fees - which can be anything from around £5,000 upwards for a year's full time course or from around £8,000 if you are an international student. The fees for some masters courses, particularly MBAs but also some others, can be much higher. If you are studying part-time over two years the cost is usually around half the full-time fee, for each of the two years.
There are also some other costs that you'll need to keep in mind - although this may seem daunting, if you plan how you will finance your study in advance, you will then be able to pay attention to your studies, hopefully without worrying too much about the costs.
Here are some of the additional costs to think about:
Living costs - including accommodation
If you are living at home your cost will be less than if you have to move and find accommodation. If you do have to do this, the University may have postgraduate accommodation that is not too expensive, or may help you find other postgraduates you may be able to share with.
Most university websites give an indication of the general cost of living, including accommodation, in that area. General living costs can be different depending on where you study in the UK.
This means travel to and from the university where you are studying, both at the start and end of your course, but also to and from the campus on the days you need to be there. If you are studying near where you live and you don't have to move, you won't have the costs at the start and end of each term, but you will still need to travel to the campus - either by public transport, or by car. If you are travelling by car, you may be able to park for free at the university but they may charge, so it is wise to check.
Whilst you are studying
If there are particular parts of the course that can cost extra, the university should tell you this up front - this could be for particular equipment or for field trips. If this is difficult for you, the university may be able to help you with these extras - it is always worth asking.
Clubs and Societies
Many universities have specific clubs and societies for postgraduate students - some social, some that may be related to your course or subject. These are often run by the Students' Union but may also be run from your academic department. They can be a great opportunity to make friends, but also to look for support and share experiences with other postgraduates, and can really add to your time as a postgraduate. Some can also help you with networking and development. Some of these clubs and societies will be free, but others may charge a subscription which you will need to take into account.
Take a look at our special Postgraduate Clubs and Societies feature on our Talk Postgrad Facebook page for photos and examples of what's on offer.
One useful thing about your student status is the discounts you can receive - remember to get the right cards and registration from the University when you start and find out about the local shops and services where you can use them to reduce at least some of the costs of doing a masters course.
Although the cost of a masters course may seem daunting, the benefits, both whilst you are studying for the masters course and in the future for your career and development, can be really important. There are various ways of funding your course, including working whilst you are studying, Masters funding from charities and other funders and the new Postgraduate loan .
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