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Your Masters, what next?

A Masters course can help you gain access to a different career path and make you a specialist in your field. Discover what it can lead to…

What job can I get with a Masters?

Many skills gained from a Masters degree can be applied to lots of jobs but some occupations require a specific postgraduate qualification. For example, to become a solicitor you need to do the Legal Practice Course (LPC) while a Master of Engineering (MEng) will be highly valued for a job as a chartered engineer.

The most common jobs held by recent Masters graduates include:

To find out more about the jobs related to your degree, take a look at types of jobs and what can I do with my degree?

Using a career-planning tool such as what jobs would suit me? can also help you to find a career that matches your skills and interests.

Where are jobs for Masters graduates advertised?

Generally, employers do not have separate recruitment practices for undergraduate and postgraduate students. As a result, Masters graduates can look for jobs in the same places as those with a first degree: online job boards; newspapers; trade publications; and through speculative applications. Get advice and help with finding job vacancies.

You should start by searching graduate jobs and signing up for job alerts to get relevant jobs straight to your inbox.

How do I sell my Masters degree to employers?

There are some employers who specifically require the higher level skills and technical abilities of Masters subjects but these are often found in very specific vocational areas such as science and engineering.

Some employers may not distinguish between Masters and first degree graduates, so it's important that you understand and are able to articulate to employers the higher level skills and specialist knowledge you have gained during your Masters degree and what value that might have to potential employers.

In addition to subject-specific knowledge and skills, you will have gained a number of general skills that are desirable to employers, these include:

  • analytical skills and critical thinking;
  • research skills;
  • enhanced presentation skills;
  • problem-solving skills;
  • time management and the ability to work independently.

Find out what skills employers want and the skills your degree has taught you in options with your subject.

You can increase your chances of getting a job by carrying out work experience and internships and joining a professional body.

See our example of a cover letter by a Masters graduate.

Should I do a PhD?

A PhD is a long and difficult process that can take a number of years to complete. It can be life changing, time consuming and shouldn't be considered lightly.

A research Masters is often seen as the precursor to a PhD. Almost 45% of graduates who do a Masters in research go on to do some form of further study, either full time or part time while working. Of those people, the majority do a PhD.

Many students choose to do a PhD to gain the relevant qualification to become an academic or an industry researcher. However, there are very few other jobs that demand a PhD. Find out more about what's involved in a PhD.

What do other Masters graduates do?

Of the 44,270 Masters graduates who finished their courses in 2013, more than 80% were in full or part-time employment six months after graduation. Of those who got a job in the UK, 85% were in professional or managerial jobs, compared to 66% of first degree graduates.

Destinations of Masters graduates
Destinations Percentage
Employed 76.3%
Further study 8.4%
Working and studying 4.2%
Unemployed 6.8%
Other 4.3%
Types of work entered in the UK
Education professionals  13.4%
Business, HR and financial 11.4%
Managers 10%
Technicians and other professionals 9.1%
Other 56.1%

Postgraduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
October 2014

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