Deciding whether or not to do a Master’s degree is a big decision! But what is the difference?
My take on the Master’s students life:
In the table below I’ve noted down the key differences between my two degrees to try and make the distinction a bit clearer.
|UG (Biochemistry)||PGT (Molecular Medicine)|
|Application via UCAS||Application to the University|
|120 credits||180 credits|
|9 month academic year||12 month academic year|
|Guided study||Self-directed study|
|Build on assumption of low level knowledge||Assume a high amount of previous knowledge|
|Low expectation of technical skills||Higher expectation of technical skills, improvement sought|
|Highly supervised (laboratory)||Supervision present but self-directed research|
|Short laboratory project||Extended laboratory project|
|Guided opportunities for direction and feedback||Expected to seek your own opportunities to ask questions and direct your learning|
|Wide discipline knowledge||Sub-discipline knowledge|
|Set hours (laboratory)||Expected to manage your own time|
|Lecturers/ researchers are seen as senior, with a clear power dynamic||Lecturers/ researchers are still seen as senior but the dynamic is more of colleagues|
|Research seminars may be a requirement in third year||Increased invites to seminars/talks and lab meetings- expectation that they will be of interest|
|Large class size||Smaller class size|
The big differences summed up:
- Master’s level learning comes with much higher expectations of your drive, knowledge and dedication.
- Master’s level learning is a lot more independent. You are in control of your own work and expected to manage your own time.
- Master’s level learning is intensive, with a heavier workload and faster pace than at UG level.
This progression is cheekily summed up below:
The main take-home message is that a Master’s degree should not just be something you undertake as you don’t know what to do, it in itself is a choice.