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Are You Ready To Study A Distance Learning Postgraduate Program?

Are you ready for online study?Considering if it is the right time for you to start a postgraduate program is always going to be difficult and adding in the unknown aspect of studying entirely by distance learning may make the decision a little harder. Let’s take a look at how you can work out if you’re ready to take on an online masters program?

Do you have the right qualifications?

Just because the course is online doesn't mean that then entry qualifications will be any lower. If your grades aren't up to scratch, then you need to have a chat with someone at the university to find out if there is any way you can still be admitted onto your online distance learning masters. You might find that any work experience you have undertaken since you completed your undergraduate degree may make up the difference, or perhaps you need to complete some further study at a lower level before applying.

Do you have the funding in place?

Online or on campus, it’s always easier to start a course with all of the funding in place and how you will be paying for your studies is often information that you will have to include in the application form. Make sure you spend time checking for scholarships and bursaries as they are often available to all students at a university, not just those on-campus, just like those at the University of Sheffield. If you are a student based in the UK and you're studying online, then you might be eligible for UK Government postgraduate study loans. Part-time students in the UK, who are completing a course within two or sometimes three years, are often eligible for UK Government loans just like full-time students. And don’t forget that as an online masters student in need of funding you are eligible to apply for a Postgrad Solutions Study Bursary worth £500.

Do you have the time?

Studying online takes time and during term time you might find that it takes several hours each evening to complete course work. Take a hard look at your lifestyle and how you work to see if you will be able to fit in your studies and keep motivated. You might find that you will have to cut out some activities and let your employer know that you might be a little less flexible than you used to be. Most courses will let you know roughly how many hours a week you can expect to study, just like the Open University does.

Are you at the right stage in your career?

Your work will sometimes take a back seat while you are studying a masters degree online, so you need to be sure that it's the right time for you to work a tiny bit less. You want to be sure that when you complete your masters course your career will benefit. Have a chat with a mentor or someone you have met through networking who is doing the job you would like after you've completed the course to make sure that it is the right time in your career to study the course.

What are your reasons for online postgraduate study?

Are you studying a masters degree online because you think your career will benefit? If so, then you should check with others working in the industry that the masters course you are considering will be of help to you. Similarly, if you are planning a change of direction, you'll want to be certain that the course is the right one for you and your plans.

Do you have some idea of what it will be like?

Have you done some research into what studying your online postgraduate program will actually be like? Will your course be entirely recorded lectures and reading? Or will you be participating in online seminars by video conferencing? Most universities use a combination of methods in their courses. These are different ways of learning and studying, so you’ll want to be sure that the teaching methods of the online masters course suit the way you study.

Where will you live?

The beauty of online masters study is that you don't need to worry about where you are based – you can literally live anywhere. Postgraduate students living all over the world are studying online courses at UK universities as this table of the numbers of internationally based students studying at online courses at UK universities illustrates.

International online students


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