Five common questions when studying for a master's degree in the UK

Tran My Ngoc, 22 years old, is studying for a master's degree at Oxford University (the top 1 school in the world according to THE 2021), answering five common questions when studying in the UK.

Ngoc is from Hai Phong, is an alumnus of the University of Melbourne, the top 1 school in Australia. After winning 11 master's scholarships at 7 universities in the UK, in September 2020, Ngoc entered Oxford University, supported by 25% of tuition.

When to study master's degree?

Many of you want to study for a master's degree right after graduating from university, others want a few years of experience before studying. Each person has their own path, but it should be based on their chosen discipline and its requirements.

For example, I study Language, directly related to language and teaching, so theoretical knowledge is very important. I need to know the theory well before practice, so I decided to study for a master's degree right after graduating from bachelor's degree.

However, some majors requiring high experience such as engineer, design ... need a lot of practical experience before continuing to study theory. Those who want to pursue these majors should go to work for 4-5 years before returning to study or research. At that time, the theory learned will help learners expand and deepen understanding.

My Ngoc at Oxford University, October 2020.  Photo: Character provided

My Ngoc at Oxford University, October 2020. Photo: Character provided

Master of Coursework or Master of Philosophy?

When deciding to do a master's degree, many of you wonder whether to choose Coureswork or Philosophy. These are the two main courses, with relatively distinctly different qualities.

With Master of Coursework, you will learn with professors and instructors. These teachers will "hold hands" when you do your graduation essay. If you choose this course, you will get a lot of practice, although the study is more theoretical as your Language. After one year, the Coursework course can help you create a personal product or project.

And Master of Philosophy is inclined to study. You should choose this category if you want to study for a doctorate, want to use one year of master's studies to choose the topic to pursue in the next four years.

Should choose which school to study for a master's degree?

I have divided into three main groups of criteria in choosing schools. The first is about the strength of the school. You need to determine if the school has a strong point in the field you intend to pursue. For example, I spent four years studying for a bachelor's degree at the University of Melbourne, a very famous school in medicine and education. If you want to learn design, RMIT is the better choice.

When you graduate, your ability to apply for a job will depend on your grades, experience and many other factors, but if everything is equal, RMIT design graduates will be more appreciated than Melbourne. Before choosing a school, you need to consult the rankings, focus on the industry criteria, avoid just looking at the general assessment because each school will have different strengths.

Second is study and tuition . When I study language courses, some schools offer a course structure besides scholarships. I love working so I want to be able to work while studying. Based on the structure, I can know which courses are suitable for my personal schedule and actively arrange my time.

When I received the Oxford scholarship offer, I found that the school did not require a lot of theory, allowing me to schedule a meeting with my instructor when I could arrange my time rather than schedule it. I feel that I can take the initiative in time so I am very satisfied with these suggestions.

In addition, the tuition fee is also a factor you should consider because it is directly related to the scholarship. Many schools have high tuition fees but offer large scholarships, in contrast, schools with moderate tuition fees are few. To choose the right criteria, you should base on the factors you mentioned above and your family's financial capacity.

The third is the support of the school (students support) . When I got the Oxford scholarship, the semester is exactly the next year to begin. However, I decided to enroll this year because the school's support was too good. Instead of having only one instructor, the school gives two instructors to help in two areas of interest, technology and education, because international students are in difficulty. I see this support not always and not everyone has, so I decided to take this opportunity.

In addition, the school's support package also provides many other factors such as organizing many events for students to prepare before going to school. When preparing for admission, I almost had to meet with the faculty and school every day. I think this is a very good connection and the school is very interested in students, so I chose Oxford.

My Ngoc in the city of Edinburgh, UK, in 2018. Photo: Character provided

My Ngoc in the city of Edinburgh, UK, in 2018. Photo: Character provided

Need to prepare for records?

UK universities require a portfolio of five main elements. However, I will divide into two areas: long-term and short-term preparation to help you easily visualize.

In the long run, you'll need to prepare your GPA (GPA) and recommendation letter. Grades achieved in four years of university cannot be obtained on the first day or second day so if you plan to study abroad, you should pay attention to study early. A high GPA helps you win a great scholarship. Letter of recommendation from teachers is also not self-determined in terms of time. I used to wait for a letter of recommendation from the dean of Melbourne for a long time, so in order not to miss the apply, you need to be proactive in this early.

Besides, in about 2-6 months before deciding to study abroad, you need to prepare an essay, the topic to be studied in a year of master's study and sample. With the sample, you can submit a graded essay or a published study, which is generally something the panel sees you have completed a particular study. This shows that you have the ability to do research at school without too much help as the teacher will not want to accept someone who is ignorant, ignorant of research.

Follow a passion or a popular subject?

Many juniors have asked me this question and I don't think we need to choose between our favorite industry and our future. Currently, all disciplines are interrelated and related to each other.

I am a teacher but not only teach, go home, prepare lesson plans. Outside of that time, I prepare and share documents on social networking platforms and media channels. Becoming a teacher or any career does not mean you have to give up knowledge and experience in other fields.

I always think that you should have passion and pursue it, become an excellent individual in the community, sooner or later you will find a place, a job that brings a good income.

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