Although not a recent phenomenon, there is currently a governmental drive to get more people into teaching. But what does the government suggest for those who want to stay in teaching, should they simply further their studies with a P.G.C.E? What about those who do not want to teach and instead simply want to gain further knowledge on their specialised subjects and get a leg up on the already saturated graduate job market?
As a general starting point, consider your motives and decide what it is you want to achieve. Know what options are open to you before jumping into applications. A master’s degree usually takes one year, whilst a doctorate demands at least three further years. By researching the entirety of the courses and funding available to you, you can ensure that you’re embarking on the right path. It really is worth putting in the research, so that you are not having to settle and are really maximising your educational opportunities.
The U.K. government offers English students at UK universities loans for master’s and doctorate programmes. From 2017 each loan will total £10,280, to be repaid once graduates are earning over £21,000 a year. Furthermore the 2016 Autumn statement detailed that “From 2018-19, loans of up to £25,000 will be available to any English student without a Research Council living allowance who can win a place for doctoral study at a UK university.” Visit www.gov.uk/funding-for-postgraduate-study where you can find out your funding entitlement. For PhD students, studentships and research council grants are also available, so make sure you thoroughly investigate just how you can be utilising these.
Once you’ve considered the financial options online, it may also be worth visiting your chosen institute to ask any further questions you may have regarding bursaries and anything specific to your university and specific situation. Taking a trip is also a great opportunity to confirm that the programme is really the one for you. You can reassess the teaching styles and research methods as well as speaking to current students and academics. Information of open days and taster events can be found on the UK University Search Open Day Finder. So have a browse to check those important dates.
Further study can demonstrate enhanced technical and transferable skills and a commitment to your subject, for some careers it may even be a requisite. But it is worth considering, a higher qualification will not automatically help you get into your chosen career. Some graduate employers may look more favourably on experience. Postgraduate qualifications may increase long-term earnings, but they do not usually result in higher starting salaries. It really is a mix of interest, passion and a will to succeed further along in your career that should be the deciding factor in partaking in a postgraduate degree.
- By Jan Gaca