Is a postgraduate degree for you?

Students sitting at a picnic table on the grass at Griffith College Dublin

Maybe you’re in final year. Maybe you left education a year or two ago. Maybe it’s been a decade or more and you’re ready for a change. Regardless of the reason, you’ve been turning over the idea of further study in your mind.

This could set you on the path to a whole new career. This could let you master the subject you’re itching to explore further. But how do you know if study at a postgraduate level is right for you?

To answer that question, ask yourself another.

Why do you think postgraduate study could be for you?

Reason 1: You absolutely need it.

You can’t see a future for yourself that doesn’t include the prospect of working alongside or meeting people from different international backgrounds. You long to help children and teenagers unleash their creative side on the stage. Careers in international business, drama education, pharmaceutical technology and more treat qualifications after undergraduate study as less a perk and more a basic requirement for entry.

If you want a career like this, you’ve got the easiest answer to this question out of anyone. Take the first step and start filling out those forms, because postgraduate study should definitely be in your future.

Reason 2: You want to grow professionally, expand your professional network and give yourself the best opportunity for success.

Maybe you want a brand new career, and maybe you could establish yourself as you are, but a postgraduate degree would get you going so much faster.

Postgraduate degrees definitely do help you learn new skills, make contacts and establish yourself as an authority in your field. Many postgraduate students are industry professionals who are going back to education, which means you have the opportunity to make contacts for future roles, to learn new skills and much more. A study carried out by Graduate Outcomes surveyed over 8,000 postgraduates who had finished their studies within the past nine months, asking about how they got their job: 14 per cent secured their work through personal contacts (including family or friends), and a further four per cent through another source in their institution, such as a lecturer, former graduate or academic department. Many programmes at Griffith College have lecturers who are industry professionals, meaning students can get advice and guidance straight from the source.

Before making a final decision, try having a coffee with someone who’s gotten where you want to be. Ask them how they got where they did. Then, if you think postgraduate study gave them a leg up, take a close look at the course content and requirements for potential degrees. Research potential job opportunities that could stem from the postgraduate you are interested in to make sure that you are doing the postgraduate. Is it relevant to what you want? Will you be able to mix with the kinds of people who’d help you on your way?

Reason 3: You want to give yourself better earning potential.

As you go through your career, it can often be difficult to know when is the right time to inquire about a pay-rise. Employers may ask you to provide reasons as to why you deserve this increase in pay. A postgraduate degree not only provides you with the opportunity to learn, be it new skills, a wider network of professionals or new styles of working, but it also displays to employers that you are striving to become a better worker.

Many employers may even see this interest in going back to study as an investment for the company and could, quite possibly, provide a proportion of funding towards your new degree so the financial burden is not falling totally on you. Once the hard work is done and your post-grad is complete that pay rise conversation may be that little bit easier to start.

One note of caution before we close out.

While there are a vast array of reasons why you should consider completing a postgraduate degree; this decision should not be taken lightly or with haste. A postgraduate degree will test students to a high degree, and this is one of the reasons why they are so beneficial - they are made to push the boundaries of the student's abilities and put them under pressure in ways that undergraduate degrees may not. So if you are looking to do a postgraduate degree simply because you are 'bored' or because you feel that you don't know what else to do, then maybe a postgraduate degree isn't for you at this moment in time.

However, if you are determined, hard-working, and ready to show yourself what you can do, then do your research, make sure you find the ideal postgraduate degree for you and if you’re ready for your degree, you’ll be ready for its rewards. Think through your options, and prepare for a world of fantastic networking opportunities, skill enhancement, and a love of learning gone supernova.

Interested in postgraduate study?

If a postgraduate degree is the next step on your personal or professional journey, learn more about the postgradute courses we offer at Griffith College, and get in touch with any questions!