Postgraduate open days
If you’re looking to progress your studies to postgraduate level, attending a university open day is one of the best ways to help you decide where to apply.
Many universities run dedicated open days for postgraduate applicants, providing an excellent opportunity for you to inspect the campus, facilities, and ask any burning questions that you may have.
To help you get the most out of a postgraduate open day, we’ve put together a list of things to do while you’re there. For more tips on what to do at a postgraduate open day, check out our tips for attending open days.
Ask about research
A university’s research credentials are much more relevant at postgraduate level, as there’s a good chance that your degree will involve research in some capacity. Postgraduate research courses will put you in the driving seat and require you to conduct studies yourself, while taught courses will utilise the university’s research to inform your education.
Take this opportunity to view the facilities in person, and ask the staff about the quality of the university’s research. From here, you can decide whether or not the university can offer you what you need to succeed.
Speak to the staff
The number of postgraduate students in the UK is far lower than the number of undergraduates, so naturally the classes and seminar groups tend to be smaller too. While this should result in more personal attention from tutors, it does also mean that you’ll need a good working relationship with the staff.
Depending on the subject that you wish to study, the department itself may also be very small. Take some time to speak with the staff you’re likely to be working with, such as course leaders and researchers, and think about whether you’d feel comfortable studying there.
Find out more about funding
Although postgraduate student loans are now available across the UK, the amount available and eligibility can vary. What’s more, as a loan, however much you receive will need to be repaid. Postgraduate loans are repaid concurrently with undergraduate loans, meaning that in the future you could be losing a significant chunk of your monthly pay packet.
Even if the financial implications of a postgraduate degree aren’t a concern for you, it’s always wise to see if the university offers any bursaries or scholarships at postgraduate level. It’s not uncommon for funding to be on offer for research students, and while a postgraduate loan should usually cover the costs, any non-repayable financial support is always welcome.
Consider what type of postgraduate degree you’re interested in – if any
Postgraduate courses come in many different shapes and sizes. If you’re progressing to postgraduate level simply to further your knowledge, you’ll most likely have the choice between applying for a taught or research course.
You should use an open day as your opportunity to speak to the staff and find out what types of degree the university offers, and what their research/taught degrees actually entail. Don’t just trust your gut when it comes to choosing your degree type – ask the necessary questions to help you fully understand what you’re applying for.
Postgraduate degrees can also act as professional qualifications, and if this is why you’re applying, you should consider whether it’s actually needed in the first place. For example, although PGCEs are a popular route into teaching, there are a number of other ways to become a teacher. Speak to a member of the careers team to help establish whether a postgraduate degree is the best option for you.
Next page: What to do after an open day