Going on to study a master’s after finishing your undergraduate degree is not a decision that is to be made lightly. The work is tough, the hours can be long but the outcome can be a very rewarding experience. I am currently half way through studying MSc Media Psychology. Here are the things you should know before you choose to do a postgraduate course.

It isn’t a decision that should be rushed

Don’t just choose a course for the sake of it or because you feel like you should. Do your research properly and take time to read about all the different MA’s or MSc’s that are on offer. Another point to consider is whether you genuinely want to carry on studying after you’ve completed your undergraduate degree. Some people prefer to take a break for a few years and return to studying later. For me, I took a one year break and worked in order to save some money, before returning to studying. Everyone is different, but it is important you do the right thing for yourself. Don’t go into postgraduate study just to avoid the real world.

Be prepared to work VERY hard

A postgraduate degree is in a completely different league to an undergraduate degree. This is something that many people, myself included, did not take into account. I assumed my course would be a bit of a step up, but not too much trouble. I was wrong. A master’s degree is hard work and will require a lot of time and dedication put into it. Tutors tell you to treat your course like a full time job, as that’s how many hours you should be working on your studies each week. I also found that jumping from studying a BA undergraduate to an MSc postgraduate is not easy. This is also something that should be factored into your decision. The work is tough, but the outcome at the end will be worth it.

Time is precious

My course, as well as many others, is a year long and I study full time. I also work 15 hours per week in the University’s marketing department. Outside of this, I like to go to the gym, attend a running club and socialise with my friends and family. My schedule therefore, takes some pretty good organising. Luckily for me, my time management is quite good but for people who struggle in this area, I can see how easy it is to get stressed. Make sure you are aware of how busy you are going to be and it is important to understand that postgraduate life is very different from being a fresher. Plan ahead, give yourself dates to start assignments so that you have plenty of time, and don’t forget to have some down time.

It won’t be a repeat of being a fresher

Being a fresher and studying an undergraduate degree is very different from being a master’s student. You should take your course very seriously and be prepared to put in a lot of effort. It will be rewarding however, as studying on a postgraduate course opens your eyes up to so many things you would never even think about usually. There are opportunities to listen to academics, to push your studies in areas you are interested in and to listen to opinions of other individuals on your course. Drinking beer on a Tuesday in Atmopshere can be fun, but so can learning new things and working towards having an MSc.