For assignment writers in the UK, a Master’s degree is an academic qualification usually granted to students who have completed post graduate work in a specific area and demonstrated a high level of essay writing, competence, knowledge and understanding. However the intensive, focused and specialized nature of the process is what differentiates a degree at this level from an undergraduate degree. It is also what can cause extreme stress for post graduate students, especially those who are trying to complete one within a nine month period.
The first tip for successfully navigating a Master’s degree is to understand from the beginning how postgraduate work differs from doing a Bachelor’s degree and planning one’s time accordingly. A full time Master’s degree is compressed into a relatively short space of time. Even if it is being done part time this means that it is usually being done in conjunction with a job. It is therefore important at the commencement of studies to organise and plan: how much time is going to be allocated to each phase (such as reading, research, dissertation writing etc.); the setting of targets, the timetabling of regular sessions with the supervisor, and the acquisition of the requisite resources. The second tip is to make full use of your supervisor. This is especially essential for enabling the student to remain focused on addressing the relevant aims and objectives of the work, and for the provision of critiquing of the work as it develops. The final tip is the rational handling of information. The student will be absorbing a tremendous amount of information and it is natural to feel that as much of this as possible should be included in the final dissertation. Instead the work should be thought of in terms of as sculpture, with unnecessary information being chiselled away until the lean, finished product is revealed. In other words, only concentrate on what is absolutely necessary for the achievement of one’s main goal.
Finally a Master’s degree is unique in that you become part of a small group of people who have specialised in and made a vital contribution to your field of expertise. Therefore, be aware of not paying too much attention to what other students are doing or their rate of progress. Your dissertation will one day be stored in the university’s library and referred to by others. It is therefore important, whatever else is accomplished, to make it uniquely your own.