Name: Stuart Garlick
Degree and University: MSc in International history at Aberystwyth University.
I had just completed my undergraduate degree in international politics and history at the same university – I enjoyed the people and the atmosphere and also wanted to expand my knowledge of the subject so I thought a Masters would just be the next step for me. I also thought that it may increase my employability.
My parents actually paid for my course – so I was one of the lucky ones. Of course I know not everyone is that lucky but there are always ways and means of raising the money. Most of the universities give out awards or bursaries to students – it’s always best to talk to the university about your options.
Going from an undergraduate course to a Masters is
a big step. Suddenly the atmosphere becomes a bit more serious – the debates are more intense and there was definitely less time in the pub. I had double the amount of books to read and longer essays to write. When I was preparing for a seminar in my undergraduate course I didn’t go into as much detail at all – I would spend ages preparing for a seminar while I was doing my Masters – you definitely had to be more focussed and disciplined.
Doing a postgrad has helped me in ways I never thought it would. It has given me a more in depth knowledge in particular fields and gave me an opportunity to do collection and analysis – this definitely helped me in my first job. I’m not sure if I had an advantage over other people when I got my first job but it would be nice to think my masters gave me that edge that maybe others didn’t have and gave me more experience in specialised fields.
My advice to students considering postgraduate studying is to be prepared for a big challenge – if this doesn’t scare you then you should definitely apply. It will take over your life but it maybe worth it – job wise.
Also don’t go into a postgraduate blindfolded – it’s not just another year at university. If you have a clear path of where you want to go post graduate
study is definitely for you.