There are many myths about postgraduate degrees and embarking on a postgraduate degree can seem like a daunting experience.
Here are some of the most common preconceptions versus the reality.
1) It will be too much work
In reality, the research school will help you set up your postgraduate degree in a manageable way. The research programme will aid you in acquiring skills such as time organisation and project planning that will be essential to completing a research degree.
Also the assessments module will help you map out ahead of time a clear research path and plan.
2) It will take over my social life
That’s just not true. There is the Research Student Society and postgraduate coffee mornings – which mean you don’t feel isolated and help give postgraduate students the full university experience. Once a year there’s also a research photography competition.
There is a big focus on postgraduate’s mental health at the moment and during our induction week, speakers helped share their advice on how to make sure you take care of yourself throughout your degree.
3) I might not want to stay in academia
You don’t have to. Postgraduate research degrees will teach you transferable skills, helping you refine abilities that can help you in any area of life.
For instance, the same detail and care in your thesis presentation, will help you in presenting yourself as to employers. In fact, a wide variety of the wider workshops are involved in career skills. A postgraduate degree can help you greatly in your career journey but it is you who gets to decide where your destination is.
4) You must know exactly what your thesis is
While knowing the topic you want to do is important, theses evolve over time via literature reviews, often what you’re writing about will not necessarily match the finished product. As you get more confident in your research area your title will develop.
For those who prefer their projects outlined ahead, there are studentships with a built in research topic.
5) Postgraduates are an afterthought for the university
Postgraduates play an important role within the university community. Not only is there a postgraduate student officer but meetings are held between postgraduates and the university faculty to ensure that postgraduate voices are heard fully. Postgraduates also get involved in teaching and other aspects of the university environment.
While postgraduate degrees might have the perception of a sink or swim mentality, in reality they are more of a partnership between the student, their supervisor and the university, with all involved wanting you to succeed.
It isn’t so scary after all!