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Tips for choosing a postgraduate degree

14 March 2017

As the employment market tightens, more Australians than ever are choosing to undertake postgraduate study. Whether you’re aiming for a promotion or pay rise (or both!), the right postgraduate degree can set you up for future success. But how do you choose the course that’s right for you?

1. Be clear about your goals

Knowing what you want to achieve through postgraduate study can help guide you towards the right course. Do you need a Masters to advance within your current organisation, for example—or are you hoping it will help you switch careers altogether?

2. Investigate post-qualification salaries

Many students undertake a postgraduate degree as a way of boosting their salary, however, not every industry pays the same premium for a postgraduate qualification. Graduate Careers Australia data shows that a postgraduate degree in business could lift your salary by more than $50,000, while in fields such as social work you might only see a salary increase of around $10, 000 after the completion of a postgraduate course.

3. Look for a ranked university

Not every university is viewed the same way by prospective employers, so choose an institution with credibility and a proven track record. Independent ranking systems like the Higher Education Top Universities assess universities on the quality of their programs and graduate outcomes, and are a good place to start when choosing between institutions and courses.

4. Consider a course with a twist

A postgrad is just a postgrad, except when it offers something unique or different that you can leverage in job interviews and on letters of application. Some Masters and MBA programs offer international placement opportunities or the chance to specialise in areas such as leadership, knowledge management or accounting.

5. Explore industry prospects

Given the investment of time and money, it’s important to investigate the job landscape before deep diving into postgraduate study. Is there employer demand for the additional skills you will gain? Recent research found that demand for MBA graduates is rising as employers value their business acumen and innovative thinking. Jobs forecasts and economic outlooks can also provide the information you need to make a sound decision about postgraduate study.

6. Choose to study in a way that fits in with the rest of your life

Blending study with work, friends and family can be a challenge, so consider a postgraduate degree that fits in with your other commitments. Studying online is an increasingly popular choice for students who want the flexibility of anytime, anywhere learning and who don’t have time to travel to lectures.

7. Cost

A postgraduate degree is a decent investment, and while you may be able to access FEE-HELP or a student loan, it’s always preferable to keep your course fee outlay to a minimum. Courses including SCU Online’s MBA program are competitively priced, meaning you can earn your degree without saddling yourself with an enormous debt.

8. Availability of a support network

Maintaining momentum throughout your degree can be a challenge. Some universities have Student Success Advisors who can assist you to plan an effective study schedule and help keep you motivated throughout your study journey.

9. Is there progressive qualification attainment?

Many postgraduate degrees feature progressive qualification attainment. After 12 months of study, you may earn a graduate certificate, for example. Courses structured in this way offer a ‘safety net’ of sorts. If you don’t end up finishing the full Masters, at least you’ve still achieved another qualification.

10. Back yourself

You’ve done your research, looked at the options and you feel like you’ve found the right course for you. What are you waiting for? Go for it!  Learn more about some of Australia’s leading online postgraduate programs.

Speak to an expert Student Enrolment Advisor today on 1300 589 882.