Undertaking a Masters degree is an excellent way to further develop the skills you learned at Undergraduate level and specialise in a particular area of interest. Many Masters students are looking to upskill in order to progress up the career ladder, or are looking to change direction and focus on a new specialism.
A Masters degree in your chosen field will help you enhance your research expertise by gaining further experience in experimental design, problem solving and the analysis and interpretation of large datasets.
Advanced specialised skills that you learn as part of a Masters degree include:
- Research project development – You will learn the different stages of advanced research project development. Beginning with identifying and formulating your hypothesis, you will progress to designing and carrying out experiments, and collating and analysing results.
- Data analysis – You will learn how to analyse a range of datasets. Depending on your degree you may learn the programming language R and how to apply it to data, or you may gain experience in using programmes such as ArcGIS.
- Evaluation and feedback – You will learn how to critically evaluate and review both your own research and that of others. This may be through literature reviews, or through identifying and evaluating past examples of ideas being translated into a commercial product or process.
As well as improving your technical skills you will enhance transferable skills such as:
- Communication skills – You will learn how to convey research to a diverse range of audiences, from fellow researchers to members of the public. You will tailor your communications appropriately using techniques such as oral or poster presentations or scientific reports.
- Project management – You will gain an understanding in how to manage complex projects with competing deadlines, and how to manage problems that may cause delays.
- Independent learning – While a Masters degree involves academic supervision, you will also be expected to manage your own learning independently. This may involve identifying areas of personal development and seeking ways to upskill further, or enhancing your knowledge through further reading around your chosen subject.
When you finish your postgraduate degree, you will be ready to lead on projects and research in an advanced scientific setting. The skills you will learn at Masters level will also be of use if you are thinking of undertaking a PhD.