7 Points to Consider if You Want to do a Master's Degree ...

Have you thought about doing a master's degree? Studying for a master's can be very beneficial for your intellectual and personal development, and allow you to expand your interests in your field of study. But given the financial commitment and dedication involved, it's something that should be considered very carefully. Here are some of the points to consider if you'd like to do a master's degree …

1. Career Options

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A master's degree can enhance your career prospects and is a requirement for some careers. Would you need your master's degree to pay for itself in the long run, or can you study just for the enjoyment and personal development? Remember that it's not guaranteed that you can get a job that pays well enough to compensate for the expense of a master's - you might have to take a job you're over-qualified for.

2. Commitments

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Taking on a course of study is a major commitment in itself, and even more so if you will be working or have caring responsibilities. You'll have deadlines to meet, which can be difficult if you have small children who don't understand that Mommy needs to study! Your master's degree will take over your life and you'll have less time for socialising.

3. Finance

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How would you finance a master's degree? The fees can be shocking; you'll almost certainly pay even more than an undergraduate degree. And if you're an international student the fees will be even higher. There may be grants available, but competition will be fierce. Could you pay for the fees yourself?

4. Time out

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Can you afford to take another year out to study full-time? Some master's degrees have a part-time option, which can be fitted in around work or other commitments. The disadvantage of part-time study is that it will take longer to complete the degree, but this can be a more practical option if taking a year out would be difficult.

5. Online Courses

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There are also many master's degrees that can be studied online, which may be the best option if you have other commitments. Look at university prospectuses and you'll see that many offer online master's degrees. It will help if you have access to a university library within reasonable traveling distance; you may be able to use a library even if you aren't studying at that university.

6. The Right Course

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As with any course, master's degrees vary considerably from one institution to another. Consider carefully which would be the best fit for you. You may have to move to another city in order to study the right course, if they accept you; you won't necessarily get a place where you studied your bachelor's degree.

7. Big Change

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Finally, moving from an undergraduate degree to a master's degree can be a quite a shock. Clearly a master's degree will be much more demanding, but you may not be prepared for just how much of a shock it is. It's also extremely intense, and intellectually rigorous.

Achieving your master's is a great accomplishment, and very rewarding. But it's not for everyone, so be sure that you can handle the study and that you're doing it for the right reasons. Trying to avoid going out into the world of work isn't a good enough reason, for example. What would you like to study?

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