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Can you tell me about studying for a masters please?
17

Bobulate · 11/07/2014 00:09

How much independent learning is there compared to a first degree? If I did it part time, would it generally be a couple of days a week, or an hour or two over each day (relevant universities are quite a distance from us).

Finally, I lacked motivation at A level and degree level and didn't achieve particularly well (though have a degree from a solid Russell Group university) - I do have relevant work experience - do you think I would get into a decent university with mediocre results and lots of experience.

(actually final question - worried my brain may not be functioning as well these days - is there a way of evaluating this through tests of some sort to see if I still have it in me?).

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BeckAndCall · 11/07/2014 00:36

Surely if you're looking to do a masters degree you must have some understanding of how to find this out?

What subject and where?. Go on their website. Look at their course outline and see what it says!

It really is a 'how long is a piece of string' type question.

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Bobulate · 11/07/2014 08:29

BeckAndCall I think that goes down as the most unhelpful reply I have ever received in many years of using Mumsnet.

Of course I have looked at courses, but I am very much at the beginning of thinking about what to do with the rest of my life and considering a variety of options. I have just come out of a particularly low period of my life and decided yesterday to do something that I need to do something proactive - both looking on-line and at the helpful Hmm people on Mumsnet for a bit of help to speed things up and get an alternative view.

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Mylovelylovelyhorse · 11/07/2014 08:37

I'm doing a distance learning msc over three years. I'm meant to do about 15 hrs a week

It transpires that the lack of motivation I displayed when I was younger is not something I've grown out of

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Bobulate · 11/07/2014 08:53

Thank you Mylovelylovelyhorse that's interesting that you still feed unmotivated. I imagine distance learning probably requires someone to be more motivated, so would be harder due to the isolation.

It is helpful to know that you are meant to do about 15 hours a week. That sort of information is not always on websites despite BeckAndCalls comments and when I called the main university I was interested in it wasn't easy to get initial information about time investment. Many thanks.

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Bobulate · 11/07/2014 08:54

*feel (unmotivated or demotivated?).

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rollonthesummer · 11/07/2014 08:59

I can't help, but am interested to read any replies as this is something I've considered. When DH did his masters, it was full time over a year -though I recall most of it was done during the last fortnight ;)

Am interested to know what you mean by a solid RG university though! Are there flimsy ones?

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Bobulate · 11/07/2014 09:13

RollOn I'm not sure what I meant either - it was late! I was trying to convey that whilst I lacked motivation I managed to get into a decent university.

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teaandthorazine · 11/07/2014 09:24

Don't do it! Grin

I'm only saying this as I'm two months away from submitting my dissertation and have just had a chapter ripped to shreds by my supervisor so feeling a little low... I've actually really enjoyed most of it so far but this part is a little stressful and tbh am just waiting for it to be over!

I've been doing a part-time MSc over the last three years. Usually one day a week per module. It's in a subject directly related to my line of work and a previous PG Diploma - I did it in the hope that it would open up new opportunities for me, which it has - so obviously I had that 'background' knowledge, but the research side of things has involved lots of statistics and equally scary stuff for an arts graduate like me! If you are thinking of a subject that you've never studied before then there would be a lot more work involved, I would imagine.

To be honest during the first two 'taught' years I did relatively little work outside of what was necessary to submit a decent assignment - I'd be lying if I said it was a case of reading loads and loads all the time. Have maintained a solid First throughout though, but I wouldn't necessarily advise following my example...

...because the dissertation year has been tough, much tougher than I expected, and has made me doubt my abilities at times. My motivation is definitely very low and my ability to procrastinate is sky-high! I will get there but the work won't be as good as it could be because I have faffed around. It has been a bit of a wake-up call for someone who has previously cruised with good grades.

I would say that it does depend a bit on what you are planning to study, and whether it's something you've got experience of already etc. Work experience may count depending on the subject. I got onto the MSc having only a PGDip in my subject (but a previous 2.1 in my first degree, unrelated subject). The one thing they will probably want to see, though, is evidence of recent study so you need to consider whether you could show that.

Sorry, am in ramble mode!

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AMumInScotland · 11/07/2014 09:36

I did a taught MSc, fulltime over a year, so I think it depends over how long you would be doing it. A couple of days a week would probably work over two years, for instance.

But if it's been a while since you did academic study, maybe you should do something with a bit less of a long-term commitment first to get back into it?

I've recently been mucking about doing some FutureLearn courses, and feeling quite smug that my brain does in fact still work - but last night we had a link to a 'proper' academic paper that one of the tutors wrote a while back, and it was definitely brain-straining to read through something like that again after a long gap.

Maybe a short OU course in something related, to see if you still want to be studying at that kind of level?

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PiratePanda · 11/07/2014 10:30

We expect full time students to put in 40 hours a week (Russell Group) so PT over two years 20 hpw and over three about 13.

Go for a vocational masters in the field in which you have experience. Many places will take you with a 2.2 and 5+ years experience, though a 2.1 is normally required - look round for courses that explicitly say they will take experience into consideration.

Finally, remember they are not cheap (our MA is £7500) and there are no student loans for postgrad courses, though you can get commercial career development loans.

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Bobulate · 11/07/2014 20:58

Thank you everyone, that has been really helpful and informative. The main points that jump out are that a) it will take at least three years so I need to find a course that allows for that, and b) I need to test my brain in the next year or so with shorter courses to make sure I still have the capability. Thanks again.

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UptheChimney · 13/07/2014 23:06

To be honest during the first two 'taught' years I did relatively little work outside of what was necessary to submit a decent assignment which is, I'm afraid, probably why you're finding it difficult now.

As a rule of thumb, at UG level, we reckon on 3-4 hours independent work for every face to face hour. So that might help you in thinking about the time commitment of a Masters.

But TBH, it sounds to me as though you aren't really ready yet or cut out for further PG work, in terns of independence or motivation. You need to have an independent research topic for your dissertation, and develop an extended essay of anything up to 20,000 words. At my current institution, Masters students get 4 supervisions on that, plus a term's intensive research methods (3 hours per week), and another term's thesis development (2 hours per week). You need to have some sort of idea about what you want to do, and what you want to research, before you think about enrolling in a Master's.

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MrsCosmopilite · 13/07/2014 23:19

I'm just finishing a p/t MSc. Mine has been a two year course.

I attended Uni one day a week during the first year, and two days a week during the second (because of the way the lectures were structured).
I used the free time before/after lectures to pick up books/go online for journal articles and then shoehorned in a few extra hours a week around being a SAHP.

I am lazy and don't read all the items on the reading list. I don't put in hours and hours of study BUT when I do work, I work bloody hard. I also use extensive source materials. This works for me, as most of my assignments have come back graded as distinctions, with a few lower down at merit level (equivalent to 1sts and 2:1s on our grading system).

I don't have much free time and I'm about to start my dissertation. I'm aiming for a distinction.

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MrsCosmopilite · 14/07/2014 09:20

Sorry, realised my post above sounded a bit "I'm so great". That wasn't my intention.

I was trying (badly) to convey that as long as you apply yourself, that's the main thing. I'm studying alongside people who work full time, and some who have serious issues with concentration (linked to learning/processing problems). Everyone pulls together for study periods, everyone has a research topic (some found by talking to staff about their areas of expertise) and everyone is expected to pass.

I enrolled for the programme in order to extend my field of knowledge but also just for the experience as I enjoyed studying at BSc level, having at that time been out of the education system for 20+ years.

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BranchingOut · 16/07/2014 15:33

I am just finishing off a masters degree (social sciences).

The face to face commitment was 1 x 3 hour seminar per week per module. I really enjoyed the taught sessions and just fitted in the reading as and when. It really helped that it was very closely related to my day job, so a lot of the reading doubled up.

Assignments were hard at first, but I managed to get there!

Why not start by just doing one module and seeing if you like it?

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LRDtheFeministDragon · 16/07/2014 18:26

Is it rude to ask how mediocre is mediocre? Eg., I have a 2:1 not a first, but they let me on the MA course and it was fine. I wasn't very motivated either, but I love independent study. Do you feel as if you'd be excited (and scared, obviously ... Grin) about writing, say, 10,000 words on a topic you chose? Or does it feel like something you'd hate and you can imagine yourself putting it off? Because TBH I think that was the deciding factor for everyone in my MA year. It wasn't about how good an undergrad degree we had or how motivated we'd been as undergrads - it was how suited we were to that kind of very different, more independent work.

There were several people who'd done very good first degrees and worked very hard, but who just hated the MA.

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Noregretsatall · 16/07/2014 22:15

How close are you to London? Birkbeck do conversion courses that aid transition from UG to PG level. Not sure what your field is but they do a vast range of subjects including science, social science and humanities.

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