Postgrad FAQs: postgraduate students most common questions

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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If you are considering postgraduate study, you probably have questions – generally lots of questions. We have collected some of the most common questions postgrad students have, as well as answers, to help you make the right decision.

Do I need a postgraduate degree?

The easy, but not very helpful answer is it depends. For some careers, a postgrad is essential; for others, skills and experience are more important than a postgrad degree. That doesn’t mean a postgrad won’t be an asset though. Business, sales and marketing are results-driven industries. If you have a proven track record of producing results, you won’t have problems finding a job. In addition, many employers in the ICT sector are more concerned with your ability and experience using different coding languages than with your education. Having said that, a doing postgrad won’t be a disservice either.

One of the smart ways to decide whether a postgrad will be an asset is to consider where you’d like to be professionally in ten years time. Have a look at the profiles of professionals in your field on LinkedIn. If those holding the positions you aspire to have Masters or PhDs, chances are you’ll need those too.

Should I convert?

If you have changed career goals while doing your degree, or if you are in an industry without much opportunity, converting may be a smart move. A postgrad in a field where employers are struggling to fill positions is valuable. Converting can help you find work that is specialised, in demand and well paid.

We have covered this in greater detail here.

What if I am unsure about what I want to do?

If you are unsure of exactly what direction you want to follow, consider a time out. Working for a few years before returning to education later, may be the best bet for you.

Another issue to consider is the goal of a postgraduate degree. Some Masters degrees, for example in arts or business, can be fairly broad. As a result, they won’t stream you towards a particular career path.

Should I do my postgrad at a different institution?

We have covered this topic in detail. Have a look here for more information.

Employers don’t care if you have a postgrad and undergraduate degree from the same university, as long as it is a reputable institution. However, it you have the chance to attend a famous institution, or a university known for the quality of a particular programme, it may be wise to accept.

What about paying for a postgrad?

If you are working, your employer may be willing to help you pay for your degree in return for a number of years of service. However, most postgrad students need to figure out their own way of paying for the degree.

To begin, have a look at the website, Student Finance. You should also check if you are eligible for a SUSI grant. In addition, some courses have funding attached to them and some institutions have discretionary funding for postgraduate studies.

If you are undertaking a research postgrad, check the Irish Research Council. They may be willing to fund your research, particularly if it is in the bio-pharma, med-tech, ICT and engineering fields.

Furthermore, tax relief is available on postgraduate tuition fees for eligible courses, whether full or part-time. For more, have a look at Revenue.

If you want to study overseas, you will need to contact the fees office of your intended university. They can advise on fees, grants and any financial supports.

I have an ordinary degree and have been working for many years. Can I do a postgrad degree?

Many Master’s programmes require applicants to have a 2.1 honours degree or higher. However, this is not always the case. Some will accept students who have ordinary degrees if they have significant experience. In addition, different institutions will have different requirements. The postgraduate admissions office will be able to give you more detail.


Anne Sexton

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