A masters degree can be the best option for some students to pursue, and the worst for others. After all, it’s a personal choice. At Kampus Group we’ve put together this guide to help you decide what path is right for you – with our international students in mind.
Postgraduates have higher employment rates
The UK job market is becoming highly competitive, as the UK is now facing one of the worst recessions it has seen. Not only is finding a job in the UK difficult for all, but following Brexit, more companies are reluctant to accept visa sponsorship for international students.
Meanwhile, employers are increasingly requesting candidates to have postgraduate degrees, with 22% of UK graduates currently having studied masters. 88.7% of postgraduates are employed compared to 87.5% of graduates. While having a masters degree does not guarantee that an international candidate will be able to find a job, it will provide them with a competitive advantage a highly competitive job market, particularly in specialized and/or research fields where labour supply is limited. You can find the top 25 careers that require a master’s degree as the entry-level education here , with 10 of them listed below.
- Post Secondary Teacher
- Occupational Therapist
- Political Scientist
- Urban Planner
- Genetic Counsellor
Masters students more likely to be in highly skilled employment
Masters degrees in the UK are highly regarded by employers, making it easier for you to find a well-paying job as a postgraduate compared to a graduate. Overall employment rates for the two categories don’t vary significantly, with an 87.5% employment rate for graduates and 88.7% for postgraduates recorded in 2019. However, according to government figures, only 65.6% of graduates were in highly skilled employment, compared to 78.9% of those holding a masters degree. If you are looking to work in a highly-skilled profession, there is no-doubt that studying a masters degree will be beneficial, not only in finding employment, but also in providing you with necessary skill and knowledge. You can find the top 50 paying careers for masters holders here.
It is important to do research to identify what employers value most in the industry you’d like to work in before commencing further study. You can do this by browsing job adverts on sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor.
Often, undergraduate students may realize that they have passion for a different subject than what they are studying, or that the subject they chose to study is not as closely aligned with their long term goals as they thought.
masters degree is a good way of changing your career path, with around 40% of people transitioning from first degrees to postgraduate study or conversion courses in a different subject area. However, one thing that must be considered is how big a career change you are planning.
Switching to a subfield within your area, for example from Economics to Finance, or from Psychology to Sociology, is relatively easy. However, if you are looking to transition to a completely new field, this can be more challenging. For example, switching to health sciences or medical course from a social sciences background will normally require you to repeat study at undergraduate level with the necessary prerequisites. Other courses may require you to complete a foundation year to learn the prerequisites for the masters degree you wish to study. To learn more about if you can change your field of study with a masters degree, you can contact one of our agents for a free consultation.
Chasing Your Passion
If you really enjoy studying a particular subject, a masters degree may be the best way for you to chase your passion and dedicate yourself to a subject you love. According to Keith Hermann of the University of Surrey, passion for a subject is crucial to success at masters level, yet a masters degree that doesn’t have a career focus can also have value in the labour market through the developed skillsets and competencies.
A masters degree is also the a prerequisite for studying a PHD and going into the field of research, which may be the next step in your pursuit if you have great passion for a study area. Moreover, while scholarship options for masters degrees are limited, many universities offer fully funded scholarships and living expenses for PHD students – an added bonus.
Extending Your Stay in the UK
International students are permitted to stay in the UK for 2 years after graduation until they obtain a work visa. However, if you are unable to do so, studying a masters degree in your field of interest can help you extend your stay in the UK until you can find a job. To learn more about immigration rules for international students, visit our blog post on “how international students can stay in the UK after graduation”.