Choosing the Right Postgraduate Course

We’ve talked about how postgraduate degrees are a great option for both personal enrichment and professional upgrading. But while a higher degree offers innumerable learning and developmental opportunities for you to grow, you shouldn’t rush to enrol in the first course that you come across. Not all postgraduate degrees are created equal, and what works for others may not necessarily work for you.

Higher degrees are often highly specialised affairs that confer knowledge in very specific domains. At the Postgraduate Executive Fair 2015 you’ll want to take time to evaluate your needs, weigh your decision and choose carefully. The right postgraduate course could put you on track to enjoying better prospects, but a poor choice could leave you feeling unfulfilled and with a bitter aftertaste of having wasted time on the wrong qualification.

Have a Clear Goal

A clear idea of what you want to get out of your degree will help you make the best decision for yourself. Postgraduate degrees span a rather wide gamut and it would be wise to survey all your options before jumping at the first – perhaps somewhat relevant – course you come across. For instance, if you wish to go into journalism, a master’s degree in English Language and Literature would appear to suit your needs at first glance. However, a look further afield reveals that Columbia University’s Master of Arts in Journalism is expressly targeted at equipping students with the skills they need to further upgrade their skills in professional journalism.

Conversely, if you are simply seeking to further your interest in academia, you’ll find degrees in fields as far flung as Biblical Studies and Comparative Literature. In order to get the most out of your postgraduate education, you’ll need to find a degree that fits your unique needs and choose between a professional qualification, a research-based degree or even a taught Master’s programme. Each of these types of degrees are designed to allow you to advance on very different pathways – the difference between establishing yourself as a professional or moving on to a PhD – and you would do well to examine your goals and choose carefully.

Do Your Research

As an undergraduate, you probably had the luxury of having more free-wheeling goals and intentions and the freedom to pursue a wide range of interests. Your undergraduate degree didn’t necessarily have to tie-in with your future career – many people go on to work in unrelated industries – and there was less pressure to choose the right course. However, with a postgraduate degree, you definitely want to choose something that will advance a specific goal or interest. Find out if the university’s department offers a particular specialisation that you are interested in. Make an effort to speak to past students and gain some insight into how the degree is generally received by employers – if you’re doing it to advance your career – or if it is well-conducted and intellectually stimulating.

Do it for the Right Reasons

Finally, a postgraduate degree should not be taken as a stopgap solution for you to put off joining the job market or escape a problematic job. While it’s true that a postgraduate degree could give you the break you need to evaluate your options while upgrading yourself at the same time, your decision to pursue postgraduate studies should not be motivated by a desire to escape. Postgraduate degrees should be undertaken with a specific goal in mind, regardless of whether you simply wish to enrich yourself or further your career. Your commitment to this goal will be what drives you forward and will be a key guiding compass when it comes to selecting the right degree.

What else do you take into consideration when choosing a postgraduate degree? Share with us in the comment box below!

Nearly two dozen institutes of higher learning will be participating in the Postgraduate Executive Fair 2015, which will be held on 31 Jan 2015 from 10am to 5pm at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Level 3, Begonia Room - Register Here Now! CareerBuilder Singapore is the owner of, one of Singapore's largest job and learning portals. Get a free career personality test and more career- and education-related articles at JobsCentral and JobsCentral Community. Alternatively, Like us on JobsCentral Facebook Page or Follow JobsCentral on Twitter for more career-centric content!

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