A Masters qualification can help you gain access to a different career path and make you a specialist in your field - but what can it lead to?

Jobs for Masters graduates

In 2016, the most common jobs held by recent Masters graduates were:

  • business, human resources (HR) and finance professionals;
  • education professionals, such as secondary and higher education teachers;
  • health professionals, such as nurses and social workers;
  • managers.

Many skills gained from a Masters degree can be applied to lots of different 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 you'll often need a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) to become a teacher.

To find out more about the jobs related to your degree, take a look at job profiles or what can I do with my degree?

Applying for graduate jobs

Generally, employers don't 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, such as:

For more advice and help with this stage of the application process, see how to find a job.

Similarly, employers don't always distinguish between a Masters and Bachelors degree when recruiting. They may value the additional maturity, but it's up to you to explain the skills and knowledge that you've gained through this higher qualification. Like a Bachelors degree, Masters study also needs to be complemented by relevant work experience, so don't pass on the chance to mention any details of this.

When applying, present yourself in terms of the extra abilities that you have and how these relate to your career goals. To help sell your qualification to employers see our cover letter written by a Masters graduate.

How do I sell my Masters degree to employers?

Employers don't always distinguish between a Masters and Bachelors degree when recruiting. They may value the additional maturity, but it is up to you to explain in your covering letter what skills and knowledge you have gained through this higher qualification.

Present yourself in terms of the extra abilities you have and how this relates to your career goals. For ideas of the subject-specific and general skills you may have gained during your studies see what can I do with my degree?

A Masters also needs to be complemented by relevant work experience, so don't pass on the chance to mention any details of this.

Studying for a PhD

A PhD is a long and difficult process that can take several years to complete. It can be life-changing, time-consuming and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

According to the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education 2016 survey, by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 8% of postgraduate leavers in 2014/15 went on to further study, with a further 4% working while studying. Of these graduates, 58% were studying a PhD. A research Masters (MRes) is often seen as the PhD's precursor, with 39% of graduates who do a MRes going onto some form of further study.

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. For more information, see what is a PhD?

What do Masters graduates do?

With Masters degrees in the UK so highly regarded by international students and employers, Masters graduates are advantaged in the jobs market. According to the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education 2016 survey, 90% of the 41,220 Masters leavers in 2014/15 were in work or further study six months after graduation. Of those who were in a job in the UK, 86% were doing a professional or managerial job.

DestinationPercentage
Employed77.4
Further study8.3
Working and studying4.1
Unemployed5.5
Other4.7
Destinations of Masters graduates
Type of workPercentage
Business, HR and finance professionals13.1
Education professionals11.5
Health professionals10.3
Managers8.8
Other56.3
Types of work entered in the UK