Should I Get a Master's Degree?
So, you’re on your way to graduating with your bachelor’s degree or already have one under your belt—what comes next?
But how do you know if pursuing graduate studies is right for you?
You want to specialize
Undergraduate studies take a broad approach to your field and provide the background to understand it, but graduate studies tend to dive a little deeper and have more flexibility by allowing you to focus your studies on what area you’re most interested in.
If you’ve graduated with your undergraduate degree but still feel like you’ve only just scratched the surface, pursuing graduate studies is a good way to keep learning, exploring and zoning in on the areas you’d like to focus on.
Fieldwork or practicum placements is a must in your industry
While some undergraduate degrees can come with placement opportunities, this hands-on work experience is an essential part of many graduate programs.
Besides giving you an idea of what to expect in the working world, applying your education also gives you confidence in what you know—and how to put it into practice. This confidence, combined with your real-world experience, will be an asset to employers when you’re ready to enter the field.
Conducting your own research would be a dream come true
Exploring different areas of your field and expanding on the one that interests you is an integral part of graduate studies. Part of this exploration can be leading your own field research and determining how your ideas or graduate thesis holds up outside of the classroom.
Graduate research can also lead to more opportunities to build on your previous research, connect you with academic professionals and professors that have conducted similar research and provide more credibility to what you’ve been learning.
You want a higher paying job and more job security
It’s no secret that many undergraduate students see pursuing graduate studies as a sound investment in their future careers and job security.
According to Indeed.comIndeed.com - How much does degrees increase earnings (Opens in new window), there is a 20% earnings increase from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree. This rate will vary depending on the master’s degree you pursue but completing a graduate program does add more credibility and knowledge that employers compensate for.
Focusing on an area of interest for your graduate degree can also lead to jobs that require more specialization, especially in fields that may be lacking people with a higher level of expertise.
Standing out—and being an expert—in your field is important to you
Deciding if you should pursue a master’s degree is not an easy choice, but it’s important not to discount the personal reasons you may have for wanting to further your education.
For some graduate students, having a master’s degree will earn them the respect and credibility they are looking for within their field. This additional credential may also allow you to stand out in your industry—especially if there’s a lack of qualified professionals with your area of interest.
You want to make a difference—and feel confident doing so
Expanding on the importance of honouring all your motives for pursuing a graduate degree, wanting to make a difference—and having the credibility to do so—is always a valid reason.
It may also take the extra time and dedication that’s involved with a graduate program to understand the complexities of that industry and find your niche—and that understanding can be integral to employers who want confident and qualified individuals leading their way.
You want to prepare for graduate studies at the doctoral level
If you’re planning on getting a PhD within your field, a graduate program is the necessary next step on this path.
Pursuing your master’s degree will also help you decide if and where you’d like to specialize, and this can be integral to choosing the doctorate program that you’d complete your PhD with.
You’d like to expand career opportunities and/or change careers
While graduating with your bachelor’s degree can open more doors, pursuing your master’s degree can give you more options and flexibility in which doors are available to you.
Especially for those that want to specialize their studies further or change their careers, a master’s degree can provide that seamless transition from a bachelor’s degree into your area of interest.
A graduate degree can also be a good investment for a dream career, or an opportunity you can see yourself wanting in the future—but would only be available to someone with the proper graduate expertise.
So, what is a graduate degree? Check out the related article What is a Graduate Degree?.