Considering Post Graduate study? Some food for thought – Guest post from C Boorman (GTI Publishing).

At this time of year, many students start to think about postgraduate study after their course. However, increased fees for postgraduate courses mean that postgraduate study needs careful consideration.

Common reasons for postgraduate study

Here at GTI Publishing, responses to a recent survey of 3,000 students where we asked students their top three reasons for considering postgraduate study revealed that:

· 68% were considering postgraduate study because of their passion for their subject

· 66% viewed postgraduate study as a route to getting a better job

· 48% felt studying a postgraduate course would enable them to earn more money in the long run.

Is there a link between postgraduate studies and higher salaries?

A recent study from The Sutton Trust seems to suggest a £200,000 salary premium for postgraduate study, i.e. those with postgraduate qualifications will earn around £200,000 more than those who without postgraduate qualifications. So is there really a £200,000 salary premium for postgraduate study, as the Sutton Trust suggests? Um, er, well, for most, probably not that much, unfortunately.

Dig down into the detail of the report from the Trust, and it’s hard to work out just how much postgraduate study is really worth when it comes to salaries.

So although there may be some kind of salary premium for postgraduate study for some holders of postgrad qualifications, in the current climate it’s not across the board.

Postgraduate study a necessity for some careers

For a number of ‘recession proof’ careers a postgraduate qualification can actually be a requirement – think a PGCE for teaching or an ACCA for accountancy. Chartered status is another threshold when it comes to earning clout.

With times being tough, having that extra qualification (even non-vocational) might just be what gives you the edge over the competition. But remember, it’s the individual that has the earning power, not just the qualification. Experience is key and postgraduate study isn’t a guarantee of success in itself, so investigate all your options.

Still thinking about a postgrad course? – some tips

1. Have a really good think about why. It will help make sure you pick the right course.

2. Do your course research. Find out more about the staff and the employability stats.

3. Start looking at postgrad funding opportunities – from alumni discounts to research council grants.

4. Get your references organised and apply early to get a march on the competition.

5. Research your funding options: possibilities suggested by students in our survey included bursaries, part-time work and borrowing money from family.

6. You may also find it useful to discuss your options with a Career Consultant

C Boorman edits www.targetcourses.co.uk for GTI Publishing.

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