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How to succeed in your Taught Masters
Fresh out of undergrad and highly confident in your academic abilities, you are considering applying for a Taught Masters course in the UK. However, you have no clue what getting a taught masters actually is about. To solve this mystery for you, we will tell you in a few basic steps what it takes to become a “Master”.
Taught masters courses in the UK vary in their length and methods of assessment, so if you want to know specific information about your program of interest please visit your chosen university’s website. To see how to choose where to do your masters or what qualifications you usually need to get accepted, click here.
1. Establish contact with your fellow students and lecturers/professors
Taught masters courses in the UK are relatively short, normally taking up to one year full time (two years part time) – just when you get a grip on what’s happening they are suddenly finished! This means that there could well be moments when you will miss some important information during a lecture or you may not fully understand what to do for an assignment. In such situations, you will need help from your fellow students or faculty members. Use them as “social resources” to help you pass your postgraduate program.
Furthermore, you will probably need to apply for a job once you have finished your taught masters, so you will need to find some prominent members of your faculty to write you good references to increase your chances of employment. That’s why it is never too early to establish contact with some of your lecturers/professors and demonstrate to them why you are special!
Take taught modules
The main component of any taught masters program is the study modules – these cover a specific topic and involve lectures, small group workshops, or face-to-face tuitions. Some of the modules are compulsory, which means that you will not be able to avoid doing them, however some of the modules will be elective and these are the ones you will probably enjoy the most because they will be your own choice. For each module, you will usually be assessed through a written exam and/or some kind of assignment ranging from a 1,000-word essay to a small practical project.
Complete a masters project
Each taught master’s course will require you to complete a project that will show your “individuality” and set you apart from the other students on your course. Regardless of whether this project is practical in nature or requires you to write a dissertation on a specific topic, it will reveal your personal interests and skills, and you may indeed want to choose something that will make you more competitive when it comes to your desired future career. Some taught masters courses involve a few practical projects as well as a written dissertation/thesis on your topic of interest, whereas in some programs you will not be required to write a dissertation at all. However, the project(s) you undertake will be the cornerstone of your masters degree.
Undertake a work placement
Some taught masters courses, especially those in a field where competition for jobs is fierce, will require you to undertake a work placement to make you more employable at the end of the degree program. A work placement may last from a few weeks to a few months and will usually be arranged for you by the university.
Spend long hours sitting in the library
Because taught masters courses are short and require a lot of work, you will inevitably be living in the library until you've completed your degree. You must learn to enjoy this space and think of it as little home from home!