In this aggressive job market, you might be thinking if you should pursue a Master’s degree to make yourself more distinguishable. However, it is vital to pause, reflect and thoroughly assess if you are suitable for a Master’s degree. So, take a look at the pros and cons of obtaining a master’s degree.
In-depth Knowledge and Skills
Of course, the biggest thing about getting a Master’s is that you can to learn even more. This is perfect for you if your passion is in intellectual pursuits. With a Master’s, you will able to explore your topic of interest in greater length and depth than at the undergraduate level. Some find this intellectually rewarding it it’s own right.
However, it is often that only with a Master’s or a PhD that you will be more involved in research and even conduct your own. Classes are often smaller with students who are like-minded motivated individuals, making it a heightened learning environment. Hence, it is suited for the more academically inclined scholars out there.
It is also an opportunity to bolster a weak undergraduate performance. Since you are older and more experienced, you might be more adjusted to academics. Also, you might feel like you are just not ready for the ‘adult world’ just yet. The few extra years might be what you need to truly grow and develop. For some majors, undergraduate studies is mostly theoretical. It is only with a Master’s do you actually learn practical skills that are vital to your career. Hence, you will become more prepared and ready to tackle the job market.
Higher Employability And Broader Career Paths
These days, a majority of individuals on the job market do have a Bachelors. With a Master’s you will stand out. Other than the greater skills and knowledge, completing a Master’s program takes considerable dedication and discipline. It will reflect positively to potential employers if you are able to do so.
Research shows US college graduates with a graduate degree earn $78,000 in annual salary while bachelor’s degree earn an average of $61,000, that’s $17,000 more! Moreover, you are 20% more likely to be in a professional occupation’ (opposed a less senior associate role) and 4% more likely to have to have a if you have a postgraduate qualification. Overall, post-graduates earn 15% more in lifetime income.
Additionally, for some careers it is actually necessary to have a Master’s. A number of careers, such as research, is very difficult to gain access to without the proper qualifications. For example, in Psychology, you might only be considered a professional counselor with Master’s. Still, this is not a hundred percent guaranteed. There have been cases where some employers deliberately do not hire post-graduates because they are unwilling to pay a higher salary. But overall, statistics are in your favor if you pursue a Master’s.
Exciting New Environment
A lot of times student do not continue their post-graduate studies at the same university. Your current university may not have the specialization you are interested in. However, this provides the exciting opportunity to study in a new environment.
By going through state lines or even international borders, you will have the chance to be acclimated to a brand new environment. You will meet new people and build new relationships too. As a masters student, you often work more closely with your professor. Thus, you gain excellent networking opportunities. You might connect with industry experts. Once you start a career, you might be tied down to one location and have less opportunity to satisfy your urge to travel and explore.
Greater Financial Strain
A Master’s degree doesn’t come in a cheap price. The average tuition fora Master’s can range between $30,000 and $120,000. The cost can vary wildly from university to course to programme. There are also living cost to consider, if you move to a new environment especially.
Still, there are ways to alleviate your financial burden. Universities are also more ready to hire graduate students as part-time teaching or research assistants. In some cases, there are actually more scholarships for post-graduate studies even to study abroad. This is because countries and universities seek to attract highly skilled students. If you already working, a select few companies may even fund your studies so you can contribute even more to the organization.
You may of course take a student loan. But if you already took one for your undergraduate studies, it may pile on into one heavy debt. It is very important to do your own research, calculate accordingly to see if it is a good return on investment.
Time And Delays
It can be hard and frustrating to watch as your friends and former classmates move on, get fruitful careers, start families etc., while you are still in school. Although, it might ultimately be beneficial to you in the long-term, you might feel stuck, like you are not progressing at all.
The time to complete a Masters varies depending on the field. Most take an average of two years while some take three to four. If you continue your studies even further with a PhD programme, the entire higher education process could possibly add up to an entire 11 years! That’s a lot of time spent studying and not everyone is suited for that.
Even if you are pursuing a Master’s while working either part-time or full-time, you will have less time for other pursuits. That means your hobbies, passions and time with family and friends may be put on the back-burner. Whatever plans you have be it marriage, travelling or buying a house, may have to be put on hold till after you graduate again.
High Stress and Heavy Workload
Getting a Master’s degree is not an easy task, the academics will be more difficult than an undergraduate programme. Assignments require deeper thinking and far more extensive writing. There will undoubtedly be a heavy workload. It will be a very busy life especially if you have a job or other obligations. (If you need help with your academics check out our Top 5 Best Study Hacks Backed by Science page).
Many graduate students report feeling stressed by their poor work-life balance. In a report of more than 2000 students, more than one third of them suffer from anxiety and depression. It was six times higher than the general public!
Though we mentioned that it is a chance to get to know a variety of new people, you might miss your old friends and family. If you are studying somewhere away from your home, being away for so long might be emotionally taxing. So, if you choose to pursue a Master’s, be sure to maintain a strong social support network.
So, Is It Worth It?
Again, this article is just a brief overview with pointers steering you in the right direction. To truly know if a Master’s degree is suitable for you, you have to do your own intensive research. As stated, it varies course to course. Some fields truly necessitate a Master’s degree while it is just an added advantage to obtain one in others. Consider it cautiously, graduate school is a big commitment.
Of course, check out our University page featuring the prestigious official international campuses in Malaysia if you do decide to pursue a Master’s.