Blog post

Five unique ways postgraduate study has helped me

Starting a postgraduate course can be a huge decision, but it’s one you won’t regret. Here, Creative Writing Masters graduate Laura Stroud explores five benefits she gained from her studies.

By Laura Stroud - 6 July 2021

Choosing what and where to study can feel overwhelming, but if you spend time researching and exploring your options, and talk to staff – explaining what you want to get from your degree - you won’t be disappointed. 

Spending 12 months completing my postgraduate degree has helped me in lots of different ways and it can help you too! Here are five ways I benefited:

1. Gain clarity around your goals 

One of the highlights of my degree was gaining clarity around the goals I wanted to achieve after my course. As you spend lots of time talking about your subject, researching, and learning, you’ll realise which parts you love. You can then ensure you shape your career based on the elements of your subject that you love and want to pursue.

2. Gain transferable skills

Studying at postgraduate level means more independence. You have to put the effort in. Your contact hours are less because you need to be reading and researching. This gives you a lot of freedom. It also means postgraduate study teaches discipline, commitment, attention to detail and independence, but more importantly, it teaches problem-solving. All of these are transferable skills that can help you in any profession, but employers are especially looking for your ability to solve problems.

Through becoming more independent in your studying, you also become more resourceful and creative, your problem-solving skills are honed and put into practice throughout your course.

Of course, the lecturers are there to support you, but they also want to encourage you to take the lead.

3. Networking opportunities

A key thing you learn on a postgraduate course is to surround yourself with people who will push you forward. It’s exciting to be surrounded by others who are passionate about the subject you love; make the most of it. Spending time with others on my course was a great way to make connections and friendships that will last a lifetime. The people you meet on the course will support you professionally for the rest of your career. 

Specifically, on my Creative Writing postgraduate course, there were lots of opportunities to network with published authors, poets, and creative entrepreneurs. It is said, you become like the people you surround yourself with. The Creative Writing MA allowed me to surround myself with some fantastic writers and publishers who I’ve even been able to interview on the podcast I created after my degree!  

4. Open new doors

When you try new things, you open new doors to opportunities that you might not have expected. Choosing to study a postgraduate course will ensure you are putting yourself on the path towards new opportunities. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn and gain when you push yourself forward. I’ve been able to teach workshops and classes based on the skills and confidence I developed as part of my course.

5. Become an expert in your field

Spending such an intense period of time studying a specific subject in detail, at postgraduate level, means you are working to become an expert in your field. Your final research project will become evidence of this. As you work to understand your subject in even more detail, you’ll start to establish yourself in your industry and subject, and it will help you move forward with your career.

Spend lots of time researching and investigating if the postgraduate course you want to study will support your long-term goals, and know that the more effort you put in, the more you’ll gain. Take the leap and watch how a postgraduate course could change your life and help you too!

About the author

Laura sits on a sofa and smiles at the camera

Laura Stroud
MA Creative Writing graduate

Laura studied MA Creative Writing at the University of Derby and now teaches creative writing at Derbyshire Writing School. She also writes creative non-fiction at Stories From a Backpack.