Thinking about continuing your studies after you graduate? Here are five key skills you will develop from studying for a Masters degree.

As a Masters course is relatively short, compared to an undergraduate degree, you will be supported to really hit the ground running.

Over the course of your degree, you will develop time management skills as you balance the studies for your taught modules with the independent research required for your thesis. You will be encouraged to work more independently and use your initiative to manage your own learning to focus on the topics that are of most interest to you.

This is a valuable skill as it will enable you to show to future employers that you can work effectively with limited supervision.


As a Masters student you will be encouraged to challenge existing beliefs and theories. This can be both the existing beliefs within academia and your own biases and assumptions. You will think critically about the subject that you are learning about, as well as about sources and research methods within academic arguments and debates.

In preparing for seminars and for your assignments, you will need to engage critically with the material for your subject, analyse the information that you have found and come up with your own arguments in response.

Students on our postgraduate programmes come from across the world and a wide variety of different backgrounds. A Masters degree at Birmingham is a fantastic opportunity to work together with students from different cultures and disciplines, learning from the different perspectives that they bring.

As part of your course, you will develop the ability to work collaboratively as part of a team with a wide range of people.


A Masters degree can be seen as a series of projects for you to manage. Each module may contain different projects for you to complete, such as writing an assignment and preparing for an exam.

In writing your thesis, you will show that you are capable of managing a large-scale project, bringing the threads together to produce an overall piece of research about an aspect of your subject that you find most interesting.


In completing your course, you will develop your communication skills. In writing assignments and your Masters thesis, you will develop your written communication skills, learning from the feedback that you receive from our academic staff. You will also be encouraged to develop your verbal communication skills, by participating in group discussions and presenting your ideas and the results of your research.

These skills are highly valued by potential employers as this will enable you to communicate your work to colleagues and customers.

"Studying at MA level encourages you to think and work more independently and in depth. So much of the course is based around independent reading and learning with the seminars being mostly led by the students and used to discuss findings and ask questions. As such, you gain a better understanding of your own skill set and how you work as an individual. This, combined with the advanced time management skills needed, really sets you up well for a future career."


Lauren, MA Antiquity

"I found the undergraduate degree very forgiving in the sense that I was given three years to learn and train myself to approach my own research project and dissertation. The Masters courses are condensed into one or two years so I learned very quickly to take as many opportunities as we can to make the most of the degree. I'm consistently encouraged to challenge existing beliefs and theories, push myself out of my comfort zone into doing independent experiments and undertake my own research in areas I'm interested in."


Kathryn, MA Language, Culture and Communication

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you develop your skills and achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.