Supporting Taught Postgraduates

Reviewing goals

Review the goals you set at the start of your postgraduate studies to measure your progress.

It can be helpful to revisit the goals you set yourself at the start of your postgraduate study. How much progress you have made towards achieving these goals, and what do you still need to achieve?

What have you achieved to date and what does that mean?

Make a record of what you have done so far, both in your postgraduate study and in associated activities (e.g. work, volunteering, student societies). What was involved, for example in terms of tasks and activities? How did you do it? What skills did you use? Keep a record of your achievements for future reference; they will be relevant for job or further study applications as well as interviews. 

Reviewing your goals by carrying out an audit of your achievements and updating your CV in the light of all this are particularly useful in terms of career planning.

Information from the Careers Service on preparing a CV

What do you still need to achieve?

Are there things you planned to do by now but have not done? Do you know why you have not done them? They may no longer be relevant to what you want to get out of your postgraduate studies, or there may be other reasons. Either way, it may be a good idea to try a different approach or to set yourself a new deadline.  What will help you to achieve your goals this time?  If lack of time has been an issue, online resources on academic time management will provide ideas for working more efficiently.

Academic time management

Managing your time (further resources from the Institute of Academic Development)

What has hindered your progress?

Looking back, are there things that you have found difficult, or situations that you have struggled with?  Can you identify specific reasons why these were difficult?  What could you do differently in future? Which resources – or people – could help?

If you have struggled with academic requirements, you should review the online support for academic skills on this website and consider asking your personal tutor for advice.

If you have found it difficult to engage with career planning activities, then make an appointment with a careers consultant to discuss what you could do.

Speak to a careers consultant

Are there new goals you would like to set yourself?

Both your academic goals and your career goals may have changed in the course of your studies. Now is a good time to reflect on your priorities for the coming months, and to set new goals if appropriate.  Some of your goals will be unique to what you hope to gain from your postgraduate study.  You may want to revisit making the most of your postgraduate studies to help identify specific goals.

Setting goals

Making the most of your postgraduate studies

Goals for this stage of postgraduate study

There are some suggestions below for other goals that may be appropriate for this stage of your studies.

PhD study: If your future career plans include applying for doctoral study (PhD level), check the deadlines for funding, which are generally from December to January.

Funding for postgraduate study

Scholarships and student funding

Graduate jobs: If you are doing a one-year postgraduate degree or are in the final year of a part-time course of study, you should be aware that many employers advertise graduate jobs up to one year in advance, with many application deadlines from September to January for jobs starting the following September.  Check deadlines for employers that interest you.

Graduate employment

Skills for careers: As you grow as a learner, you will increase your capacity for critical analysis, coherent argumentation and clear writing.  These skills are likely to be valuable in your future career; for example, critical skills will allow you to analyse, evaluate and synthesise large amounts of information.  What sort of skills might be of value in the career you are envisaging, and how can you engage over the coming months to develop these skills? 

Profiles of skills necessary for different career areas can be found on the Prospects website.

Prospects job descriptions with skills profiles