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Studying a Masters in London – What to Expect?

Studying a master's in london

Studying for a Master’s degree in London is a rigorous learning experience. It’s a popular choice for people who want to study their field of interest with more intensity. But a Master’s degree can be vastly different to undergraduate study. It’s intense, fast-paced, and extremely focused. The biggest difference will be the freedom you will have to explore uncharted territory in unique ways. Studying for a Master’s will be an experience like no other. Here are the important things you can expect when studying for a Masters in London.

What to expect from your Master's

1. A mix of students

You may have experienced this during your undergraduate degree, however it’s likely that you were mostly studying alongside students that were fresh out of college. As a Master’s student, it’s highly feasible that you will be studying alongside a wider mix of people. Mature students from all walks of life tend to undertake a Masters, as will people that have worked between their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. During your Masters, you can expect to meet a whole new group of people with different life experiences. Get settled in quicker by reading our tips on how to make friends in London.

2. Significant independent learning

Since your thesis will take up around 60% of your learning time, you will spend a lot less time in the classroom and much more time on your own. Classroom activity is usually around 10 hours per week – sometimes even less depending on your degree. However, your independent learning will be a whopping 30-35 hours per week – at least! Structuring your day and working on your time management skills will never be more important than when studying for a Masters. There are plenty of places to study in London, find out more on 24-Hour Places to Study in London and Best Cafes to Study in London. 

3. Smaller classes and closer relationships

Although similar in style to an undergraduate course, Master’s degrees take place with a smaller class. This means that you will receive closer support from your tutor while working with a tight-knit group of people. It also means that your classes will be more engaging and personally beneficial to you. You will still have to attend the usual lectures and seminars. However, your relationship with your tutor may be closer than when you studied as an undergraduate, so these sessions may feel more intimate.

4. Your own learning plans

Since you will have ample independent learning time, what you should expect when studying for a Masters in London is to build and follow your own learning plans. Your tutors will guide you and assign you work; however you will be responsible for deciding your research topics and ultimately, learning the content. Creating a learning plan that works for you and helps you achieve your goals will be one of the most important aspects of your Masters study. And to help you out, here are some quiet places that you can study in London.

5. Distractions

London is a bustling city with everything happening all at once! When you combine the opportunities in the big city with the amount of freedom you have during your Masters study, it can be all too easy to get distracted. While the city is something incredible to be experienced in your downtime, you will need to avoid falling for the distractions when you don’t have the time.

6. Potentially stressful periods

As you would expect with any intense learning course, you may experience stressful periods. High workload levels and imminent deadlines may occur during busy periods of your personal life. If you are juggling part-time work and extra-curricular activities alongside your studies, life can be even busier. Stressful times may be unavoidable, but you can prepare for them. Try creating a yearly plan that maps your deadlines in advance and have healthy ways of managing your stress. Do things that help prevent unnecessary stress, too, like bringing your work with you everywhere (to take advantage of any spare time you have) and backing up your work frequently.

7. Doubts

Since a Master’s degree can be so specialist and intense, you might find that doubts arise during your studies. You may worry about understanding the course material, that your studying won’t be worth it – or even that you made the wrong choice. This is more normal than you might think. If doubts arise, remember that this was not a decision you committed to lightly. Before you chose your topic, you would have done your research and committed yourself to your end goal. Remembering your ‘why’ can help you shake those doubts as they surface. Although if your concerns get very troubling, try speaking to your career’s advisor, tutor, or classmates for support. Find out more about student services.

8. An intense focus on your subject

During your undergraduate studies, you may have needed to study other topics and take electives in different departments to meet your credit obligations. What you can expect from studying for a Masters in London will be vastly different. It will be an intense year (or several years, depending on your course) that will focus almost entirely on your chosen subject. This may be different to what you are used to, and it may be all-consuming at times. However, getting to explore one area in such an in-depth way can be incredibly rewarding and insightful.

9. Increased freedom

Alongside increased independence, you will also have more freedom to set your own path. You will be encouraged to go off on tangents to explore different areas – potentially even unchartered territory. The thought of disappearing down a rabbit hole might seem daunting, but it can be incredibly exciting and freeing. What is even more thrilling is the fact that you could be breaking new ground with your research. You never know, you might even have your thesis published one day from that random tangent you took on an ordinary Wednesday afternoon!

10. Different fee and funding arrangements

Fees are one of the biggest differences between an undergraduate and postgraduate degree. Even though a Master’s degree is usually cheaper than a Bachelor’s, your loan won’t necessarily cover the entire cost, if you’re able to get a loan for your studies. However, there are additional loans that you can apply for – some that are open for applications right up until your start date. The cost of a Master’s degree may increase, too. If your degree will take more than a year, inflation may affect the price. It’s best to do your research on funding opportunities, and check with your university to see if inflation affects your course. You can review our up to date course fees here.

Want to learn more about what to expect when studying a Masters in London?

If you’re keen to know more, you can read UWS London’s tips on how to prepare for postgraduate study here or find out more about what a Master’s degree is. Make sure to also read our COVID-19 Updates for the upcoming term. 

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