Identifying relevant courses
If you have made the decision that further study is for you, or you simply want to research your options further, there are some very useful resources to help you decide where and what to study.
Firstly, consider continuing your studies at the University of Bradford. There are a range of postgraduate courses available, with a discount scheme and fast track application process available to you as an alumni.
Prospects has a searchable database of postgraduate taught Master's courses and research opportunities. It also has a useful FAQs section about many aspects of Master's courses and other postgraduate study. They also publish a useful Postgraduate Study Guide available online and as paper copies in Careers reception.
Other useful websites for finding out about postgraduate study are:
- HEFCE's Steps to Postgraduate Study webpages are designed to help prospective PGT students ask the right questions to help find the most suitable course of study.
- There is also a dedicated PhD portal at jobs.ac.uk/PhD
Grow your networks and follow the latest research with:
- www.researchgate.net - a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers and knowledge
- LinkedIn- similarly, joining relevant groups within LinkedIn could give you insights and information, and the opportunity to approach alumni, students and others in the field to help with your research.
Finding out about specific vocational courses
Prospects also contains details of professional and conversion courses to help focus your academic studies towards a specific career. Some vocational courses have their own websites which provide details of available courses, for example the UCAS Teacher Training website.
Considering your options
Many universities may offer the subject you wish to pursue and there is a lot of information available on university websites to help you to find out about programmes of study at postgraduate level and areas of research. Consider:
- talking to your tutors as they may have personal knowledge of the area you want to study and may know about particular courses' reputations.
- using online student forums through www.findamasters.com to talk to current students about what the courses are like and about getting in.
- the advantages and disadvantages of going somewhere new to study or continuing here at Bradford, where you have established networks and possibly know the staff who will teach you.
- the resources available, such as libraries, plus equipment and technological facilities if the course depends on these.
- staff to student ratios.
- the academic reputation of the universities, which can be explored through the website of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).
- the employment prospects of people completing the course; contact course leaders to ask about the career destinations of students completing the course in the last few years.
- the size of the postgraduate community at the university, as this is likely to affect the nature of the overall experience of being at the institution, including the social life.
- the location of the university, living costs and type of accommodation available.
Considering research programmes
If you are applying for a research programme, rather than a taught master's course, the following considerations should be taken into account:
- Who will be your supervisor during your research and will you be able to work well with them? It's advisable to begin finding out about potential supervisors a year before you start your PhD. Ask for an initial meeting with possible supervisors before your application to explore the topic of your research.
- Will you be working alone or as part of a research team? Working alone demands a high level of motivation and independence.
- How does your research topic relate to your longer term career aims?
- What is the rating of the research carried out by the department you would be working in? The Research Excellence Framework website gives details.