Why do postgraduate study?

If your response to any of the following statements is yes, then you are probably thinking of postgraduate study:

  • I want a research career
  • I've a strong interest in an aspect of my subject and I want to pursue it
  • I want to convert to another subject
  • I need the professional qualification for my chosen career
  • My course was non-vocational and I'd like some vocational training
  • I don't feel ready to apply for jobs
  • I'd get great satisfaction.

So there are many good reasons for postgrad study... and some not so good.

Be careful if you identify with any of the following:

  • I failed all my job applications, so I'll do another course (Why? Is the course the right way to help you get through selection processes?)
  • I was offered a PhD unexpectedly, and as I had postponed job-hunting, I took it (Is it what you really want?)
  • My parents want me to become a Dr (Who's going to do all the work?)
  • I enjoy student life (Will it be the same?)
  • It will give me more time to think about what career I want (Wouldn't it be better to do that before choosing a course?)

Think carefully about what you want out of postgraduate study, and where it will lead you. Will it help you achieve your long term goal? We recommend that you speak to a careers adviser if you need help with exploring your motivations or deciding whether postgraduate study is right for you.

Essential reading

If you're considering postgraduate study, you should read the AGCAS guides available on