How to Decide On A Postgraduate DegreeChen Wan Lim
As if deciding to pursue a postgraduate degree is not tough enough, deciding on which postgraduate degree to enrol in is even tougher. There are a lot of factors to decide on before coming to a conclusion, not to mention a potentially one or two year’s long commitment into a programme costing thousands of Ringgit. These are some pertinent questions to ask yourself to help you decide on a postgraduate degree. These questions are designed to form a top-down approach in helping you decide:
What career path do you want to pursue after the postgraduate degree?
A career usually stems from the passion you have for a particular field such as engineering, finance, biology or even academia. However, apart from having a passion for a particular field, you will need to put in serious thought on a career path after the postgraduate degree – preferably something that you can make a living of. With this in mind, you will then gravitate your decision towards a postgraduate degree which will help you achieve that career path. For example, if you have an undergraduate degree in engineering but would like to be an entrepreneur, then an MBA in entrepreneurship will help you greatly as it will equip you with the necessary technical skillsets to be a successful entrepreneur.
What are my strengths and weaknesses?
This is where you will need to be very honest with yourself. During your undergraduate degree days, you might have not enjoyed the subjects and courses you took. However, for the postgraduate course, you will need to have a fair amount of interest in the subject matter as a postgraduate degree will have a more in-depth focus on the subjects and the courses will be more vigorous. To excel in your postgraduate degree, you will need to be strong in the taught subjects and you are required to already possess a certain acceptable level of understanding in those subjects.
What are my study options?
Study options include full-time or part-time study, on-campus or off-campus courses, course duration, course schedule and course fees. Do consider your study options for the courses you are in. It is advisable to engage the university counsellors or postgraduate study advisors to have an in-depth explanation on the courses you are interested in. In addition, plan out your financing options and do consider if the benefits outweigh the costs of the postgraduate programme.
What are the entry requirements?
Another way of ascertaining if a postgraduate course is suitable for you is if you satisfy the entry requirements. Certain postgraduate courses require specific entry requirements and also academic backgrounds. Some on the other hand are more lax, allowing candidates from diverse backgrounds to enrol. Another way to check the entry requirements is to enquire about the background of previous candidates. Knowing where most of the past candidates came from and where they are now will also give you a good idea if the course is suitable for the goals you have in mind.
Once you have obtained satisfactory answers to all of the questions above, you will then find it very much easier to decide on which postgraduate degrees to choose from. Choosing the right postgraduate degree is important as a tremendous amount of effort, money and sacrifice must be placed to successfully complete the programme. Also, choosing the right university is also important as graduating from a reputable and renowned university is as important as the degree itself.