How to Find the Perfect Master’s Course


Updated on Jul 06 • 7 minute read

In the world that we live in today, there are so many options for study programs that it can probably feel a bit overwhelming when it comes to deciding which one is right for you. Of course, there are numerous things to consider when making this all-important decision, including how much time you wish to devote to your education and what you hope will be the end result and the start of your new career.

However, if you are dedicated and ambitious, you may be planning to pursue your Master’s degree after you obtain your Bachelor’s. If this is the case, be sure to set aside the proper amount of time to search for the Master’s course that will best suit your interests and your intended area of study, as well as any particular life goals that you may already have in mind.

Additionally, you will quickly discover that the structures and accompanying systems of countless courses and study programs may complicate things even further, leading to more decisions to be made as you choose between dual, consecutive and even bi-annual Master’s degrees. You’ll definitely find that the opportunities are seemingly endless!

So, how do you choose between so many options, and how do you make sure that you’re making the best selection for your individual needs and current situation?

To better understand selecting a Master’s course, the most common options are the Master of Arts (MA) or the Master of Science (MSc), which are the next step up from a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BSc). However, some fields, such as those with a basis in Architecture, Law or Education, may provide their own titles, but their achievement is very similarly obtained.

Undoubtedly, it’s best to enter this decision-making process armed with as many facts as possible. To help out with this often confusing process, this guide will provide most of the basic information that you will need for making an educated choice. By answering the following course-related questions, you should be well on your way down the path to earning your Master’s degree!

1. Why do you want to pursue a Master’s degree?

While this may seem an obvious question, it's also the most important that you can ask yourself. However, people actually opt to further their educations with a Master’s degree for several different reasons.

  • Some go after a Master’s degree simply for the pursuit of knowledge, usually built upon a true love for learning. They may not necessarily feel that a degree should influence a vocation, so they make choices that can be applied to many different fields or philosophies. This enables them to make career changes within similar fields or to return for a P.h.D. in a more specialized program.

  • For others, achieving a Master’s degree may be an absolute prerequisite for a career choice. Some employment paths that require a Master’s degree include various types of mental health and healthcare professionals, a variety of education-based careers and many specialized paths in numerous other fields. It’s actually becoming more common for employers to seek applicants with a more in-depth education, even when, in the past, a Bachelor’s degree might have been sufficient.

  • Many find that, even though they are employed in their intended field, they would like to advance within the company or pursue available opportunities at a higher level. Even when holding the exact same position, statistics show that having a Master’s degree can help employees earn up to 17% more than those with only a Bachelor’s degree. That can make a big difference in an annual salary, especially when compounded over several years.

  • However, most students opt for Master’s courses to extend an in-progress education. For many, it is the obvious next step to achieve a goal and to finalize their studies, even though some choose to further their education even further with a P.h.D.

2. What's your dream career?

To ensure if a Master’s degree is a qualification for your career, you must first make a final decision regarding your future. Many students make this choice based purely on passion or curiosity in the subject matter, while others are looking for a high, steady income with plenty of opportunity for advancement.

This is often a difficult selection to make, but sometimes the answer becomes even more evident when beginning to research course options. When researching information for particular classes and different components of the course, if you find yourself not looking forward to certain aspects, perhaps you should re-evaluate. Not all Master’s courses are for everyone, and just because one particular degree may fit in nicely with your intended field of study, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other related degrees that could also make nice options.

You may also want to take a course into consideration that suits your particular learning style. Some students prefer a more lecture-based approach, while others thrive in an environment filled with research and hands-on projects. This can be very important when it comes to how favorably you view your classes.

3. How specialized do you want to go with your Master’s courses?

When choosing your ideal Master’s course, you’ll need to make a decision regarding how specialized you prefer your studies to be geared. This can greatly impact your career and other options that might make themselves available to you in the future. So, ask yourself these additional questions before you begin your search:

  • Is there a particular module in your Bachelor’s course that you’d enjoy making your specialty?

  • Would you prefer a more generalized course, offering more options?

Remember that a Master’s degree will be much more difficult to obtain than a Bachelor’s degree, so be prepared for a big commitment. This is why it is imperative that you select a subject that you truly enjoy. Also, keep this in mind when considering a specialized approach.

4. Do you prefer full-time studies, part-time studies or dual studies?

Fortunately, there are several options when it comes to the time that you can commit to studying for your Master’s degree. Therefore, individuals with a variety of personal situations can still obtain a Master’s degree with little to no limitations.

  • Full-time studies: If you’d like to maintain the same type of schedule that you’ve followed through your previous time at the university, and don’t mind living a typical student’s life for just a bit longer, then full-time studies might be the best choice for you. Plus, if you’re anxious to finish your education and get started with your career, this is definitely the straightest line to achieving your goal. You can also always take on a small internship to add even more experience to your CV.

  • Part-time studies: If you are studying abroad and want to have some extra time to explore your new home-away-from-home, then going with a part-time schedule might be the thing for you. As we all know, learning experiences can definitely take place outside of the classroom, so perhaps you might want to explore some cultural benefits that the region offers, or even take on some volunteer work.

  • Dual studies: Perhaps you just can’t wait to jump into your career, but you still want to expand your education. Dual studies are perfect for this scenario, allowing students to work and study at the same time. Many companies offer dual programs, enabling students to gain real-world experience without interrupting their educations. However, if you go with a dual program, ensure your time-management skills are on par. This will take much more of a commitment, but ambitious and enthusiastic students can really benefit from this option.

Once you've decided on your field of study and the type of Master’s course that you wish to pursue, it’s time to think about where you’d like to study. For some, the overall environment can make all the difference, and a change of scenery can usually be an incentive to step out of your comfort zone and really go for it!

Do you enjoy the idea of gaining a new experience while living abroad, and, in your free time, exploring a world-class city like Rotterdam, Berlin or a host of other alternatives? If so, you’ll also need to consider whether you’d like to stay for just a semester, or for an entire academic year. Be sure to look carefully at your budget, and include expenses such as:

Additionally, when researching programs for studying abroad, be sure to consider the international focus of the program to ensure that all of the credits earned will be transferable. If you're an English speaker, many universities offer entire Master’s courses completely taught in the English language so this can be a big benefit. Also, always look closely at the rankings for the universities.

There are also a number of groups on Facebook where you can connect with students who are currently attending some of the universities that you may be considering. This can offer insight into some of the aspects of your decision-making without ever leaving the comfort of your own home!

If you’d like to gain additional information or even connect with other students who are also choosing their Master’s course, you can find dates and locations for Master’s study fairs throughout Europe. And how does free entrance sound? When registering online for these fairs, you can enter the code #HousingAnywhere and receive complimentary admission. You can explore your opportunities, make contact with accredited national and international universities, and then gain all of the necessary information to find the perfect Master’s course.

Just keep in mind that this choice will be one of the most important decisions that you will make regarding your education. Take your time, absorb the right information and make an educated decision.

If you would like to seek help to make this important decision feel free to reach out to SchoolApply. They are partnered with more than 4000 universities, and we will help you find the one that is right for you. You'll work with a SchoolApply advisor who will guide you through the whole application process and will make sure that the university you choose is an exact fit for your academic, social, financial and extracurricular needs. In three easy steps, you will be ready to apply to your chosen universities, whether they are located at home or abroad. What's even better is that you can use the same application to apply to multiple universities. Get started today!