From Bachelor to Master: Pauline describes the transition

18 Feb 2019
By Pauline M., Student at King's College London

Transitioning from an undergraduate degree to a Master’s can be intimidating and even confusing at first. But, despite the significance of this move, it shouldn’t ever feel overwhelming.

So, if you’re thinking about postgrad study but you’re worried about the leap, this one’s for you.

Here are a few of the biggest differences you can expect.

1) You’ll be more independent

Do you remember receiving tons of emails in your first few weeks as an undergraduate? They pointed out all of the support options that were available in your department and throughout the university (and there were a lot of them).

At Master’s level, your studies become a lot more independent. Even if you have chosen a taught programme, you will be given more freedom when it comes to choosing and completing your assignments. This is a great opportunity to explore your research interests and fully immerse yourself in your studies.

And don’t worry, you’ll still be able to contact your lecturers and supervisors whenever you need support, as well as make use of university-wide facilities.

Check out How hard is postgraduate study? Sarah explains for more.

2) You’ll be conducting more in-depth research

With more independence comes a whole new degree of responsibility. As a postgraduate student, you will be expected to produce sophisticated work that requires thorough and careful research.

But don’t let this scare you! Instead, see it as an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and develop your research skills.

3) Your particular research interests will become key

As a Bachelor’s student, I remember having to choose between multiple topics, none of which interested me in the slightest. It was terribly frustrating to be forced to research something that was part of a compulsory module when I would have rather pursued my own interests.

This is why transitioning to a Master’s programme has been so rewarding. At this level, your lecturers will have a completely different approach to your work and will begin to value you as an academic. You will finally be given more freedom to work within your research interests, regardless of the modules you will be taking.

4) You can still take part in student life

A lot of postgraduate students mistakenly think that, as mature students, they are no longer allowed to participate in other student activities. That certainly isn’t the case – Master’s students are more than welcome to join in on all sorts of events across university.

You might not find typical freshers’ events specifically for postgrads, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other events run by your college or students’ union. The University of Edinburgh, for example, has a whole week of welcome events for postgrad students. Take a look at your university and students’ union websites for information.

5) You’ll have more time to work or volunteer

The majority of taught postgraduate courses have fewer contact hours than their undergraduate counterparts, which means you will have more time available throughout the week to expand your CV. Most universities have their own careers services to help you find flexible opportunities to work alongside your studies.

Don’t forget, volunteering opportunities can also become valuable additions to your CV. If you feel as though you cannot commit for a long period of time, there are plenty of one-day volunteering events that you could join for as little as two hours.

You may also like: Work: How to choose the right placement for you

As you can see, being a Master’s student is full of exciting new opportunities that you may not have been able to enjoy as an undergraduate student! Just don’t be afraid to explore your university and make the most of your studies.

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Pauline is an English Language and Literature graduate and Masters student studying in London.