Researching your options
Is postgraduate study right for you?
The information given here should help you to work out the benefits and disadvantages of taking a postgraduate course. It's important that you take some time to consider all the facts so that you can use your judgement to make the right decision.
About postgrad study (March 2012) (AGCAS Special Interest Series) outlines the factors you need to consider when choosing a course and deciding when to go back into higher education (HE).
Why you might be considering a postgraduate course:
- A postgraduate qualification may be essential for your chosen career, eg clinical psychologist or solicitor
- You feel that it will increase your subject knowledge, or give you specialist skills or knowledge
- One of your lecturers or parents has recommended it
- You think that it will improve your job prospects or that it may be difficult to find a job in the current economic climate
- You feel that you would enjoy the challenge of further study
- You feel that you'll lose your incentive or ability to study if you don't do it immediately
- You just don't know what else to do now you've finished your undergraduate course
Choosing a course
Approximately 20% of Brunel students decide to study at postgraduate level. Find out what recent postgraduates have gone on to do six months after completing their studies; you can see information for individual Schools by clicking into the links on the left hand menu.
Research courses that suit your needs:
- Prepare a list of institutions that offer the course
- Visit websites to find information on courses which interest you, or contact them to request course brochures or a prospectus
- Check the course content and objectives thoroughly to make sure that it meets your needs
- Attend open days - a chance to talk to academics and current students and postgraduate fairs
- Find out about fees - whether funding or scholarships are available
- Check whether the course includes practical work experience
- Also get advice from your lecturers
- Check online forums
- Discuss your findings with a PCC careers consultant
Course rankings and league tables
Assessing the reputation of the course, quality of teaching, etc should also help you to reach a decision on which institution to choose.
- Official UK postgraduate rankings on the Postgrad.com website
- The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) (2008) gives rankings for British institutions by subject and institution. It will be replaced in 2013 by the Reference Excellence Framework (REF)
How do employers view the course? On completion of the course are graduates successful in finding a job?
- What do doctoral graduates offer employers? The Vitae website gives destinations information by subject
- CIHE report (2010) for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills Talent Fishing: What Businesses Want from Postgraduates that explores the extent and nature of demand for postgraduates from businesses - many of them global recruiters