BAFTA has opened its applications for two of its scholarship programmes, aimed at furthering access to the film, television and games industries.
Thanks to former colleague Andrew Falconer for this post.
There are thousands of postgraduate courses available – and that’s just in the UK. For those who wish to study more it can be quite a challenge to find the right course. Events such as the Postgraduate Study & MBA Fair which takes place at Senate House next Thursday 30th January, are brilliant for that initial bit of “shopping” – you can speak to representatives from many institutions, find out what is available and hear from experts on finding and applying for courses. So how do you get started? Here are my Top Tips:
1. Research or Taught?
A pretty fundamental question. If you passion is research then a Research degree, assessed entirely by an individual piece of work, may be right. However most graduates think of the Taught masters courses which combine lecture style teaching with, in some cases, independent research. Have a look at the Prospects website for more information.
2. Brand & Marketing
As somebody who is passionate about Landrover cars, it pains me to acknowledge that not all of them are good. Similarly with courses. It is easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that every course provided by a high ranking institution is going to be excellent. For some international students, brand is very important. They need an institution that will be recognised back home. Higher Education institutions spend a lot of money marketing themselves to prospective students. They want your money. Shop wisely and really consider if the course itself, rather than just the institution, will deliver what you want.
As with Brand, students can become obsessed with ranking. And ranking is, after all, a good indicator. But it’s also good to understand what makes a high ranking. It may be that the criteria used in assessing the ranking excludes performance at post-graduate level. Also consider the ranking of the academic department, not just the institution. The new Research Excellence Framework could potentially change the rankings of a number of institutions. Ranking is important, but read between the lines.
4. Course content
Bizarrely, often overlooked by prospective students. Does the course teach you what you want to know? Again, here you need to drill down into the content of each module or course because module titles can be misleading. For example, a module on political theory may be just what you wanted, until you read further to find they specialise in Gender Theory, when you wanted Realism. The difficulty with this is that course content is subject to change and often come courses will not be taught because of staff changes or lack of student numbers.
Another consideration is the style of teaching on offer. How many hours per week of “contact time” will you have with academic staff? How will you be assessed? How much support will be available to you? What are the research interests of the academic staff that will be teaching you?
If you are choosing further study to enhance your employability then you must consider whether the course will really do that. And again sometimes brand gets in the way here. A masters degree in Marketing from an Oxbridge college may be more theoretical than many employers would want. What level of employer involvement is there on the course? Is undertaking a placement experience important to you? Academic departments should have access to specific information about the percentages of their alumni in graduate level jobs – ask for it (and don’t be fobbed off with alumni case studies). This information can be hard for departments to produce, particularly with smaller courses, but they should have something. Remember, there are usually many alternative courses, often from lower-ranked institutions, that may have better industry links and higher graduate employment – but without the brand.
Consider exactly what you need from a Masters programme. Use the critical awareness that you have learnt as an undergraduate to cut through the marketing and brand to identify the course that is right for you. There are lots of resources available through Careers Tagged and this short video should also be useful:
Andrew Falconer is Director of Careers & Employability with GSM London
The event in this post may have passed but I have left it on the blog for information.
Did you know that The Careers Group runs over a dozen Twitter accounts? Plus there are even more accounts run by The Careers Group's college services.
This won't be news to some as we know it's a way that a lot of you find our blog posts but recently we've changed the names on several of our Twitter accounts.
So in case you're confused here's the information on what feed to follow for your particular careers and job seeking interests.
This is our main Twitter account for students and graduates looking for jobs, careers information and advice on things like CVs and interviews.
This shares jobs as they're added to Job Online
Info about our graduate recruitment fairs, the employers who exhibit and the careers advice shared there
Information and advice on making a career in International Development
Careers information, events and advice to help you break into a career in the creative industries
Legal news, closing dates and vacancies
The Fulbright Commission is the only organisation that offers scholarships for academic work in any subject, at any accredited US university. Each year, we give Awards to approximately 50 UK citizens, including approximately 30 at the postgraduate-level. More than funding, our Awards offer scholars the opportunity to have a transformative cultural and academic experience and provide unparalleled support both during and after their Fulbright year. (Non-UK citizens are encouraged to use our advisory service in the UK and attend USA Grad School Day, but to apply for Fulbright scholarships through the Commission or Embassy in their home country.)
Every day dozens of students come to the Careers Service asking: “How can I find out about job opportunities in the French overseas territory of Mayotte (located between the Mozambique Channel and Madagascar)?” Okay, so maybe not ‘dozens’, or indeed ‘every day’, or possibly ‘ever’. But if they did, they would be in for a treat, because the University of London has possibly the world’s most comprehensive collection of resources on working in Mayotte (and any other country you’d care to think of): It’s called Careers Tagged, (www.careerstagged.co.uk) and it’s really very special. They would discover that opportunities in Mayotte (capital city: Mamoudzou) extend beyond lobster and shrimp fisheries, perfume and vanilla exports – to construction, education, development and a wealth of other opportunities. They’d find recruitment agencies specialising in France’s overseas territories (or ‘Dom Toms’), official government employment sites and international organisations present on the islands.
While there are hundreds of international development Masters courses there are hardly any that focus on children and youth. When Dr Nicola Ansell started one at Brunel University started on Children, Youth and International Development (http://bit.ly/j2xtV3) three years ago it was even more unusual. We spoke to her about the course.
One of my colleagues, Terry Jones, has spent the last few years providing support to King’s College London Phd students. I got some tips from him for those applying for arts and humanities PhDs. Here’s what he told me
Joe Powell took a Masters course to help him kick start a career in international development. Unusually though he went to the developing world to do it. At Makerere University in Uganda. We talked to him about his experience.
January 27th 2010. Just returned from a lunchtime talk about 'Study India'. The talk came about because I met a couple of students visiting the careers centre who took part in the inaugral 'Study India' programme in 2009. Applications for this year's programme will close on March 17th (applications aren't considered before then so don't break your neck getting one in too early). Top tips from Selma, Rebecca and the Study India coordinator, Eleanor Salt include