We offer a range of masters qualifications: which is the best type for you will depend on your particular set of study and career objectives. Think carefully about your particular goals and which type of masters will best help you achieve them:
Whilst most masters programmes contain an element of both written work and field work, we define our programmes as being Masters by Research or Taught Masters. You should think carefully about what kind of study experience you are looking for.
Taught masters are curriculum-driven experiences, culminating in a period of independent work submitted as a dissertation. If you choose not to complete a dissertation, you may be awarded a diploma.
These are mostly MSc awards, although specialised subjects may call the award something other than an MSc.
Masters by research are for students who want to take a more individual, research-driven approach to their chosen subject. The programmes are designed specifically to prepare students for advanced PhD research, although not all students ultimately progress to a PhD.
Do you need to develop a deeper understanding of a specific area of knowledge, or do you need to acquire expertise in a brand new area of study?
Most masters are designed to develop specialised knowledge or techniques in a subject you have studied at undergraduate level. Other programmes act as conversion routes, allowing you to change or develop your area of specialisation from that undertaken at undergraduate level.
Do you need to gain practical experience, perhaps through industry-linked projects, or would the opportunity for more theoretical reflection be of greater benefit?
Whatever your answers to these questions, there will be a masters programme to suit you. Carefully read through all the information on programme pages. You may also want to talk to a careers advisor.
If you are working towards an academic career, you may already be thinking about doctoral study. Masters by research provide a particularly strong preparation for PhD study, though some taught programmes are also designed with PhD progression in mind, so it is worth exploring your options fully.
Talk to programme directors from courses you are interested in to discuss this further.
If your career aspirations are vocational - for example, in teaching, social work or architecture - your choice will usually be prescribed by the relevant professional requirements. These degrees will have a more practical emphasis and may include work placements.
Information on industry-prescribed programmes is available from the relevant professional body and on vocational websites.
This article was published on May 3, 2012