Dec 26, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

While earning an undergraduate degree is an undeniably big accomplishment, it may not be the end of your academic journey. In fact, millions of students all over the world choose to continue even further by pursuing postgraduate degrees, AKA degrees pursued after completion of the bachelor’s degree. Also referred to as advanced degrees, these include master’s degrees and doctorates.

Wondering whether this route is right for you? If so, we’ve got five reasons to consider pursuing a postgraduate degree.

1. Your career prospects will grow.

While a bachelor’s degree used to be the gold standard for job applicants, the hiring landscape has changed. In its article, “How the Master’s Degree Became the New Bachelor’s In the Hiring World,” Fast Company reveals, “Nearly a third (32 percent) of employers are bumping up education requirements for new hires. According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, 27 percent are recruiting those who hold master’s degrees for positions that used to only require four-year degrees, and 37 percent are hiring college grads for positions that had been primarily held by those with high school diplomas.”

Your takeaway? If you want the inside edge, a postgraduate degree may be the best way to get it.

2. You can make a career change.

Postgraduate degrees don’t just open up job possibilities in your area of undergraduate study. In fact, it’s possible to change tracks entirely. For example, if you studied law as an undergraduate, you can switch to business as a postgrad. You can also refine your area of study -- and position yourself as an expert in the process. Whether you’re discovering an alternate interest after working in your chosen field or are looking for a course of study that complements your studies to date, a postgraduate degree opens doors to exciting new possibilities.

Just keep in mind that some postgraduate degrees do require prerequisites so be sure to do your research first to make sure you’re covered.

3. Flexibility abounds.

Many options exist when it comes to postgraduate studies. Says The Telegraph, “The type of course and length of study is your decision to make....Research the right course for you; a part-time postgraduate course is an option, which can allow you to work alongside your education and family life. Funding is also available in scholarships and loans. If there is a particular university you wish to study in, regardless of where you studied during your undergraduate degree, you can apply. Many universities provide courses suitable for students based overseas or at a distance to the campus. Sometimes work can offer postgraduate careers alongside your employment.”

4. You’ll enjoy intellectual stimulation.

Postgraduate studies aren’t just a means to a better job or different career. For students with a genuine passion for a particular topic or area of research, advanced degrees provide an ideal forum to delve deeper.

This can be quite thrilling, according to professor Andrew Joseph Pegoda. “You are THE specialist about your topic and areas of interests. (Although, you certainly do not have to know your dissertation topic from day one or even year one.) People care what you have to say,” he says. “In classes, your participation is sincerely welcomed and required. You do not have to always be right – in fact, being wrong sometimes is good. You will always be learning more and advancing your ideas.”

Plus, think of it this way: You have your whole life ahead of you to work; why not spend this time learning more about something that really interests you -- especially since the personal and professional benefits of doing so are profound.

5. You’ll develop beneficial connections.

Undergraduate students are nameless faces in the crowd at many universities. Postgraduate studies offer the chance to build a larger, more personal network considering not only of other students, but of faculty members, as well. Contribute to a research project or present a paper at an academic conference, meanwhile, and your circle will expand even further.

These connections can help you get a foot in the door when it comes to landing an internship, job or academic position. Spending time with like-minded people can also help you enrich your quality of life.

One last thing to keep in mind? Opting to do a postgraduate degree is only one part of the puzzle. Choosing the right program is also critical to making the most of your decision. Factors like curricula, mode(s) of study offered, teaching style, and overall approach/philosophy are all important to evaluate before choosing a postgraduate program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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