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Part time or Full time MA as a mature student?

(5 Posts)
goldenlilliesdaffodillies Sun 11-Feb-18 22:15:05

I am hoping to retrain but need to do an MA in a very specific field. I have 2 children, one Primary School aged the other Secondary age.

There are only 3 places which do my course and it means a long commute to London. I can't decide between:
Part time MA over 3 or 4 years- nightmare journey but only 1 day a week but could keep my part time job (but will be nearly 50 when I finish) or full time (and no job so more risky). My heart is really set on the full time course but it feels selfish as the days are very long.

I could apply for the part time course now, but full time course date for 2018 has already closed in the two other places. Should I wait a year and apply for both to keep options open? Is it madness to even consider doing an MA so late in life when juggling family life and possibly still working?

Has anyone done this and how was it? Thank you.

japanesegarden Mon 12-Feb-18 08:01:03

I did a part time MA in my very late 40s and am now doing an almost full time PhD in my early 50s. Doing it part time is quite a good idea in many ways, because it's quite demanding to get back into the academic world and learn all the new skills required after many years outside it, and easing yourself in by doing it slowly was helpful for me, I found. However, it is quite demanding and you need to think whether you are the sort of person who can keep the momentum going alongside family life over such a long time - my MA was only over 2 years. If you did do it full time, you would IME have to expect it to completely take over your life as you approached deadlines - although I found university authorities were good about giving me extensions when I had serious family responsibilities that made me struggle. I found it much more challenging but also much more rewarding than I expected. Hope this helps.

Brokenbiscuit Mon 12-Feb-18 08:05:57

I did a part time master's in my early forties, alongside a full-time job and looking after dc. It took three years. I'm glad I did it but it was bloody hard work to fit it in around everything else.

Doing it full-time would have been so much easier. However, for me, that wasn't an option without quitting my job and losing my salary - and it was my employer who was funding the master's in the first place!

goldenlilliesdaffodillies Thu 15-Feb-18 14:24:11

Thanks for your replies- they are really helpful.

I still can't decide whether to just go for the part time course starting in December or give myself another option by waiting for the full time in 2019. 2019 seems such a long time away (although closing date is this October).

japanesegarden Fri 16-Feb-18 18:16:21

There's always the option, in many institutions, of starting FT and changing to PT if it doesn't work. However, that obviously still involves the 2019 start. Have you tried emailing them to make sure the FT course is full for this autumn? It might not be.

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