If you’ve got a degree or are studying a degree, you may have considered opting for a master’s degree. It could be an opportunity to further your knowledge and deep-dive into a subject that you are passionate about. On top of this, it could open up new career opportunities.

A master’s degree has benefits, but it also comes at a cost. It requires dedicating an entire extra year to intense studying. You’ll have to fund your master’s – which could mean adding to already existing student debt.

For this reason, a master’s shouldn’t be seen as the easy way out. If you’re in your last year at college, you shouldn’t choose to do a master’s just so that you can delay having to think about getting a career – even if you manage to achieve your master’s, you’ll be in the same position in a year’s time.

To help you decide whether a master’s is the right option, here are just a few things to consider.

What are your career goals?

Having a degree can help you to access higher paid jobs and having a master’s can improve your chances even further. In fact, there are some jobs out there in finance, medicine and engineering that can only be obtained with a master’s.

A master’s degree could be essential for scoring these types of jobs. However, if your ideal career doesn’t require a master’s degree, you may want to consider whether there’s any point to continuing your studies.

If you do decide that a master’s is necessary, make sure that you choose the right master’s program. As this guide at Northeastern University shows, different types of master’s degrees in finance can have different outcomes. You don’t want to spend a year studying hard only to realize that you picked the wrong subject.

Are your passionate about learning?

Some people choose a master’s not because they want to further their career, but simply because they want to further their knowledge. A master’s can be incredibly rewarding, because you could be potentially establishing new research that could benefit thousands of future students. In some cases, it’s not just an opportunity to learn, but also to pose new questions and present new ideas.

Because of this, you need to be passionate about studying – particularly in your chosen subject. A master’s could be very tough if you’re not passionate about it.

Can you afford to take a masters?

Many people pay for a master’s with a student loan. This means extra debt and extra interest in the future. Make sure that you are comfortable with this before committing to a master’s degree.  

As this Guardian article demonstrates, some people are able to self-fund a master’s. This could prevent you paying extra interest in the future and could motivate you to get more out of your master’s.

You could argue that is worth the cost if it grants you access to a higher paid job. However, this is only if you’re certain that it will grant you access to higher pay.  

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