Undergrad vs Postgrad

If you’ve read my About Me page, you’ll know that I’m currently studying for a master’s degree in Microbiology. In this post, I just wanted to highlight what my pros and cons of the transition from undergrad have been so far. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about studying a master’s then hopefully this gives you a little insight and helps with your decision.

  1. The most obvious advantage to studying a master’s is employability. Allowing yourself to go further in a specific subject can open a lot of doors. My aim is to eventually go on and complete a PhD in Microbiology so this course is the next logical step for me.
  2. It’s expensive! I was supposed to start my master’s in 2015; the September after I graduated from my undergrad, but unfortunately circumstances forced me to defer a year because of the cost. I feel that because I wasn’t expecting to have to take the year out, I lost my mojo and getting back into education was a bit of a struggle at first. I’m feeling better now though 🙂 Some people thrive from the year out but for me it wasn’t to be. I got used to routine and a full-time wage so being a penniless student again, well you can imagine.
  3. In the words of Scar, “be prepared”. It’s intense. A master’s is much shorter than an undergrad and a lot needs to be covered so it can sometimes feel rushed and crammed and it’s easy to find yourself lost in work – especially if you have other commitments. Take a breath! Try and find a method that helps you feel in control. I find a schedule helps me and I prioritise my assignments based on bulk and time to complete. I try a do a bit of each, each time I sit down. For me it works, but try different methods and find what works for you.
  4. You’re a student again. Now you can see this a pro or a con. For me it’s a bit of both. I look around at my friends and they’re settling down and moving up the career ladder, but guess who still gets student discount 🙂 I don’t just want to settle though, in a job I don’t enjoy. My time will come and I’ve put myself on the right track to where I want to be.
  5. Social life. What social life? No more to be said on that subject.
  6. Changing universities can be hard. I completed my BSc Biomedical Sciences at Sunderland Uni but they don’t offer the master’s I wanted to do so I’m now at Northumbria Uni. I’m enjoying myself and it’s good to get the perspective of a different institution but to begin, I felt like a first time student again. A small fish in a big pond if you will. Just like undergrad though, you soon settle in. You’ve done it once, you can do it again!

Just reading back over that, I sound like I’m complaining and not having fun doesn’t it? This isn’t the case! I love my course and I’m learning so much. On the hard days, I have my end goal in mind and that gets me through. Hopefully my master’s will lead onto bigger and better things and I’m looking forward to all the ups and downs to come.


I’d love to read about your transitions from undergrad to master’s level or have you gone straight to a PhD from undergrad. What were your biggest challenges or experiences/opportunities?

Let me know and leave your links below.

Until next time,

There’s something about science.


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