Thinking about applying for postgraduate study? There are many good reasons to take this step but it’s a big decision with time and financial implications. You’ll need to consider lots of factors so here are a few points to help you get started:
Where do you want to study?
It’s important to research different institutions and think about your criteria. Whether it is research reputation, teaching style, staff, industry links or placements you need to decide what’s most important to you and ascertain who offers this.
What do you want to study?
The options could range from a conversion course to facilitate entry to certain professions such as education, law, medicine or psychology through to specialising in a particular area of your subject and researching this further. Allocate some time to think about what you want to learn.
These can also influence your decision. In most cases, a postgraduate qualification is a positive step and in some careers (such as an academic career) essential. However if you don’t know what you want to do and are considering a postgraduate course to give you more time to think – it could be more effective to build some work experience and return to study later. If you have a career option in mind, it is worth checking the norms in that sector through speaking to recruiters or alumni working in the area to see if a post graduate qualification is going to help you.
Deadline dates depend on the type of course you choose to study. It’s important to understand the deadline patterns for the areas you are interested in. These are usually clear on the course programme website. Deadlines can be earlier than you might expect, especially if you’re considering study in the USA. It’s best not to leave your research until you have finished your exams as you may find you are too late to make the deadline for an immediate start in September. If you know the course is competitive it’s likely to have an earlier deadline. Be aware of closing dates for the institutions you’re interested in. Many postgraduate courses recruit on a rolling basis so it’s important to contact the course provider directly to check if they still have places available.
In general this is harder to secure than funding for undergraduate study. However, there are various options and avenues and you may be able to secure full or partial funding. Again, make sure you’re aware of the options open to you and the application process.
Come and talk to us if you need support in making a decision and for more comprehensive information on all the above points (and more!) head to the postgraduate study section of the LSE Careers website.