Will a postgraduate degree further your career?

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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There are as many reasons to do a postgraduate degree as there are postgraduate options. Whether you are fresh from undergraduate studies, looking to advance your skills or to change career, a postgraduate degree can have many benefits. The big question is: do you need one?

Postgraduate studies will give you an increased level of understanding and applied learning in a specific field. Because of that, further education can offer career advancement and help you develop the expertise you need. It can also give you a sense of self-fulfillment.

Decide what you want to achieve

Before deciding to do a postgrad – or which postgrad  – ask yourself this: What do you want to achieve?

The answer really depends on your field and your ambitions. Some professional areas are much more likely to demand postgraduate studies than others. In addition, some industries restrict higher-level positions to those with advanced education. Furthermore, if a sector is highly competitive, a postgraduate degree may help you to stand out. Finally, if an advanced degree results in increased tangible experience or hands-on work, you may gain a distinct advantage.

Here’s an example. You don’t need a postgrad degree to work in sales or business development. However, an advanced degree, such as an MBA, will allow you to move into upper management.

If you are doing a postgrad to advance your career, you need a course that fulfills this brief. If, on the other hand, you are doing a postgrad because of personal interest, then you need a course that best aligns with your interests.

Consider the “return on investment”

Once you know what you want to achieve, you should consider the “return on investment” of a course. Ask the following questions:

  • What will you learn?
  • How sought after is the qualification?
  • How much does the course cost?
  • Do you have the necessary time?

If the ROI is not immediately clear, you may need to consider a different course.

If you are already working in your chosen field, an advanced degree may also help you achieve more well-rounded skills. This may be particularly important when moving through management within a company.

If you are considering a change of career, postgraduate studies may help you achieve the transition. You will need to do your research to see how a particular postgrad qualification stacks up against the requirements and expectations of the industry you want to enter.

Once you know the answers to these, you will know whether or not a postgrad is the right choice for you. Remember, you will be studying hard for a year, or two. Therefore it makes sense to have considered all aspects of doing a postgraduate qualification so that you can move forward with confidence.



Anne Sexton

MEng Information and Network Security from the University of Limerick
 An Overview of Writing a Masters Thesis


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