5 Reasons to Get a Postgraduate Degree

tasmeea January 11, 2012 2

So if you’re like me and have recently thrown your graduation cap into the air, figuring out the next step in your life has probably become top priority. Hats off to you if you’ve already got that dream job or career path figured out. But for those of you who can’t bear the thought of throwing out the college books, let me stop you right there. The decision to do a post graduate or Masters degree should not be one of those things on ‘the list’, like finishing high school, going to university, getting a job etc. Forget about flipping a coin as this is a decision where all priorities and options available to you have to be considered before making the final choice. So read on Gradberries, to find out the top five reasons people choose to do further degrees, and figure out which one applies to you.

1. To get a better job

Believe it or not, this is the most common reason for graduates to do a postgraduate degree. But before you rush to complete those applications with a gleeful smile, be sure to do your research to see if a higher degree really would enhance your job prospects or help you get the job you want. Yes, it is true that a further degree can make you stand out but it all depends on the field of work you want to get into. In some fields, employers value transferrable work skills and experience much more than your level of academic qualification, so keep this in mind.

2. To study a particular subject in depth

Remember that course in university that you genuinely enjoyed?  The one in which the textbook itself was so interesting, you’d sometimes read extra chapters, just for fun? ADMIT IT!!! Embrace the nerd within you!  But seriously, when your interest in a certain subject has been stimulated, you will begin to enjoy the intellectual challenge and you will also start finding the pursuit of knowledge very motivating. If this is the case for you, you can always opt for a research degree in a field of your choice (Nobel prize here I come!).

3. To pursue a specific career path

In some countries certain professions require post graduate qualifications and this not only includes medicine and law, but also teaching and academia. So if you’re dreaming about becoming an academic (such glamorous dreams you have, I must say), take note that such careers require you to possess a Masters degree. Specialist knowledge not only differentiates you from other graduates, but may be a prerequisite for some fields or types of work.

4. Career conversion

Looking for a complete change? If you are one of those people who just wasted spent 3-4 years studying something you no longer have any interest in, don’t panic! It is possible to study a completely different subject at postgraduate level. In fact, students who have completed a non-vocational first degree can convert towards particular careers through further study. So there’s basically no excuse to spend the rest of your life in a profession that you can’t stand. Sometimes a further degree can also add additional skills (eg: IT skills) which might improve employability.

5. Beating the recession/to figure out what you want to do.

If you’re stuck in the middle of a recession like me, slim pickings in the job market can tempt you towards further education. Gaining extra qualifications is a great way to utilize time while the economy is recovering. But once again, whether postgraduate study will be to your advantage depends on the area of employment you are pursuing. So in some cases, gaining work experience during this time might help improve your career prospects much more than a postgrad degree would. Again, consider your field! In most cases though, a postgrad degree will only help your chances of gaining employment!


At the end of the day, it all comes down to doing your research properly. Take a break and think about what sort of career you want and then decide if further qualifications would help you out. But remember Gradberries, if you do choose to go back to college,  be sure you’re committed to the hard work. If you don’t feel ready to take up all that responsibility again, and don’t feel interested or excited by the field you are choosing to study further, then don’t waste your time and money. Start looking for a job instead. Till next time…

  • http://twitter.com/missmaddenstein Madhavi ‘Maddy’ Ravi

    I think 3 and 4 overlap quite a bit. For example, med school (in the US, where it is postgrad; in other places you can directly join med school after high school) doesn’t require a biology undergrad, so that comes both career conversion and specific career path.

    Also, this is just a thought, but aren’t people with post-grad degrees more likely to get placed in big and well known-firms through campus placement? That’s a serious incentive. :)

  • tasmeea

    I agree that 3 and 4 do overlap but I think they’re both still valid points and thats why I’ve kept them separate.
    Don’t know if they would be more likely to get placed in big firms, as some people find the time spent getting the degree is better utilised gaining work experience. However, that all depends on your field, but I would probably see it as an incentive as well :)