So, you’ve just graduated from a degree in an ecology-related field, but what next? A Masters degree can seem like the next logical step, and they can be a great way to gain more experience in a specific area in addition to making job and PhD applications stand out. A Masters degree is usually quite intense since it is done in such a short time so make sure that you consider this when applying. However, they are not essential and can be very expensive, depending on where you go.
If the price of a Masters course isn’t something you can afford, many courses have the option of doing them part-time. Alternatively, if you’re interested in a research-based degree, an MSc(Res) or MRes, they can be a cheaper option than taught degrees. These degrees where you will be doing your own independent research project and writing up a thesis based on your findings (usually about 30,000 words). This can be a great option if you are planning on applying for PhDs and can give you an insight into what full-time research is like. You likely will not have any exams or classes (although this varies depending on the university), so you need to make sure you are highly motivated and can create your own structure.
There are a wide variety of taught masters and funding through loans (and sometimes bursaries and grants) is available in Scotland and England, although this is usually not enough to fully cover the cost of the course and living expenses. Taught masters have the benefit of being more structured and similar to a condensed undegraduate degree. You may have opportunities to advance your statistical and GIS skills, or gain more practical ecological experience through fieldwork opportunities. Additionally, taught masters also have an independent research project that you will usually have 3 months to complete.
We have compiled a list of Masters courses in the UK to make your search a little bit easier. It is arranged by region in the UK and all the websites are linked. You can also find Masters courses on FindaMasters.com, which is a great resource that also provides advice on applications, starting your Masters and more.