Studying for a master’s degree allows students to develop the skills, expertise and specialist knowledge they need to excel in their future career.

Undertaking a Master’s degree is ideal for those that are keen to study a particular subject in greater detail. Masters degrees are a level 7 qualification, above a bachelor degree, but below a PhD. Studying for a master’s is intense and typically involves completing a series of modules followed by writing a dissertation. You can learn more about whether taking a master’s degree is the right choice for you by visiting our dedicated page.

We have developed this guide to help students know what to expect and provide helpful hints and tips, as you start the journey towards achieving a master’s qualification.

Undergraduate vs Master’s study

A common surprise students face when starting their Master’s degree is the increased level of work. Compared to undergraduate level, Master’s students are often required to work longer hours, produce assignments with higher word counts and to a better quality. While the hours of work are typically longer, it is common for Master’s students will have a reduced timetable compared to their undergraduate studies, and instead are required to spend many more hours studying independently.

It is likely going to be more challenging work, that will require more focus and commitment. The trick is to prepare well and avoid getting behind on work. It is advisable to create a detailed schedule which outlines upcoming deadlines and the work you intend to achieve each week. Don’t feel intimidated by this higher level of study; most students can quickly adapt and enjoy the more independent, self-directed study opportunities.

Tips for maintaining a healthy social life

Figuring out the perfect balance between study life and socialising is a challenge. It may take some time to get into the right rhythm, so don’t feel disheartened if finding the right balance doesn’t come naturally straight away.

For everyone embarking on a master’s degree journey, it is essential to set aside some time every day where you can relax, re-set and prioritise your mental health and wellbeing.

The best advice we can give to you is to always keep on top of your workload. As long as you meet your deadlines and produce work of a quality you and your tutors are happy, you will be able to dedicate the time to your home and social life.

As a postgraduate student in university, there are several ways to meet new people and participate in activities. If you are keen to meet your fellow students, consider joining a society such as a sports or art club, or spend time at your student union.

How useful will my Master’s degree be?

Before you start your Master’s degree, it’s essential to feel confident you are doing so for the right reasons. A master’s degree can drastically increase your employability, particularly in the vocations where postgraduate study is a requirement.

If you want to understand how your Master’s degree could be useful in your future, take the time to explore our pages on Why do a postgraduate degree?, and Completed your postgraduate degree, what’s next?.