After your taught master's degree

Further study

Continuing your education is a logical option for those of you who are passionate enough about your subject to be embarking on a master’s degree.

A research degree is a big commitment - three or four years of full time study. They will also be intense, requiring complete commitment to one topic over that entire period. A PhD is essential, however, if you want to pursue an academic career. It also opens up career options within research roles. Have a think about the benefits of undertaking a research degree , as well as the different types of research degree available to you.

Finance and funding your further study will also be an issue when considering a research degree.

There are bursaries and grants available for research students from a wide range of sources. Do some research into what funding is available - studentships, for example, are fully-funded positions often requiring that you undertake research on a pre-determined project. Swansea offers several PhD studentships each year – visit our research funding pages to get an idea of what’s on offer.

Career options

The obvious

From law and management to journalism and health care, if your course is vocational you have probably already decided on your career path. Think about your work experience – after your master’s, will you have enough to begin applying for jobs? Consider joining relevant professional bodies to learn about career development opportunities and how to maximise your chances of employment.

The not-so obvious

About 50% of master’s graduates enter careers that are open to graduates of any discipline but require a range of transferable skills gained from your academic, life and work experience. Some ‘any discipline’ areas include:

  • General management
  • Financial services
  • Media
  • IT
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Public relations
  • Law enforcement

So what do most master’s graduates do?

Master’s graduates are statistically far less likely to be unemployed than first-degree graduates, and go on to a vastly diverse range of occupations and careers. As a very general overview, the most popular jobs for master’s graduates fall into four groups:

Professionals, the most common roles being:

  • Social work
  • Town planning
  • General research
  • Environment and conservation officers.

Management, particularly:

  • Production managers (often found in engineering or manufacturing),
  • Health service managers
  • Marketing managers
  • Personnel managers

Education and teaching, including:

  • Secondary teaching (the most common single job taken by new master’s graduates)
  • Further Education personnel
  • Higher Education personnel

Business and finance, the most popular roles including:

  • Management consultancy,
  • Financial analysis
  • Business analysis

Part-time / full-time differences

Career and employment destinations for master’s graduates do differ for those who studied part-time or full-time, suggesting that master’s graduates can be split into two camps, one generally younger and less experienced, who undertook full-time study, and one generally slightly older and thus more experienced  who studied part-time – usually in terms of career and professional development .

Full-time master’s graduates make up the majority of social workers, conservation and heritage officers and researchers.

Part-time master’s graduates make up the majority of entrants into most forms of management, including health service, marketing and personnel management. Part-time master’s graduates are also much more likely to go into teaching or health than their full-time counterparts.

What do employers want from master’s graduates?

As well as advanced subject-specific knowledge and expertise, there are a number of transferable skills that make master’s graduates desirable to employers, including:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Research skills
  • Analytical skills, critical thinking and report writing
  • Enhanced presentation skills
  • Proven experience of project management and problem solving
  • Time management and the ability to work independently

Swansea’s Careers and Employability Service can help you identify and target potential employers, as well as market yourself effectively.