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If you’re thinking of undertaking a master’s or a PhD, you’ll need to carefully consider how continuing your studies can help you achieve your ambitions.


Career essential or desirable 

For some career areas, further study or training may be a requirement for entry into a profession, such as law or psychology. A PhD is now essential if you want to pursue an academic career.   

In other career areas, such as journalism or marketing, a master’s – although not essential – can be advantageous. The same can be true for a PhD, for example if you’re looking to become a patent attorney: a PhD is not a requirement, but it is desirable. Spend some time researching your career ideas to understand how a future employer will view your qualifications. 

Passion and expertise 

You may be motivated to continue your studies simply because you have a passion for your subject or want to deepen your knowledge in a particular area, without a future career in mind.   

In this case, while an employer may not actively require a master’s degree or PhD, they will still be interested to know what you have achieved during your further studies. This might include extending your knowledge, building industry specific or general employability skills, and your own personal development.

Time to develop 

Undertaking further studies should be an active career decision, so continuing your studies to give you more time to decide on the career you want to go into is not always the best reason to do a master’s or PhD. However, whilst studying at a higher level, take advantage of the wide range of extracurricular activities available to help you explore career ideas and enhance your personal and professional development.  

We offer opportunities specifically designed for postgraduate students such as Researcher Academy Placements and the postgraduate stream of the Nottingham Advantage Award. Get in touch with the Careers team if you need support with your decision making. 

Arif, Salman 340x340 
My PhD has equipped me with tools and skills to find modern solutions to modern problems. I started working as a full-time Teaching Fellow one month after completing my PhD due to the consistent and quality guidance from the Careers team.

Salman Arif, PhD graduate 

Read Salman’s blog post 

Cooper, Lucy 340x340
The master’s course I’ve chosen has a huge focus on employability, including a six-month internship, and allows me to continue studying modern languages but through a business lens. I’m looking forward to learning and developing new skills.

Lucy Cooper, graduate 

Read Lucy’s blog post