Here's how you can keep your job and do a Master's at the same time
Multi-task your way to a Master's. Source: Unsplash

The solution: Break the full Master’s study period up into batches.

Postgraduate certificates (PGCerts) and postgraduate diplomas (PGDips) are getting more popular these days. It’s easy to see why – they are basically building blocks you can amass towards a full master’s qualification. It’s an arrangement with traits that many working professionals would welcome –  the timing is flexible, dissertations aren’t required and it’s just as challenging as a master’s level content. It’s also shorter, cheaper and a quicker boost to your career progression.

It’s a style of education that’s getting more popular in recent years, according to Gail Miles, director of online studies at the University of Liverpool

Speaking to The Guardian, Miles said:

“It’s driven by an increasingly competitive employment market that demands continued professional development and upskilling. It can be difficult to commit to a full degree programme and there is a greater need for students to see a return on investment from their education faster than ever before, allowing them to climb the career ladder, demonstrate standout performance and increase their job security.”

“We’re moving away from intensive reading and long theses, and towards practical education and the development of a mindset that is solution-oriented, and geared to problem solving.”

The workplace is getting more demanding. Source: Unsplash

One university with such options is the Open University.Andy Lane, professor of environmental systems at the OU’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics said:

“The certificate is a third of a full master’s, then the diploma is two-thirds, and if you wish to top it up to the full master’s you do the dissertation,” he said.

“Whether we offer this depends on how the master’s programme has been defined and who the target audience is. We have 33 master’s programmes on offer, but only 21 of them have a nester PGDip and only 19 have a PGCert.”

It’s an arrangement that benefits everyone, Lane says.

“Providing that flexibility in professional work-related education and training benefits both employer and employee,” he explains.

The Guardian notes the courses for this style of education are wide-ranging but the health and social care ones are all the rage for catering to staff who crave for a flexible arrangement to complement the increasing time pressures on their jobs, as well as their need to be up to date with their knowledge.

Claire Nadaf, associate professor in the School of Health and Social Care at London South Bank University (LSBU) said people aren’t looking for a study period of 60 or 120 blocks.

“So for a PGCert, which is 60 credits over a year on a part-time basis, we allow our students to take modules as and when it suits them. They have jobs and families, after all. They can put those three modules together at the end for a PGCert, or they could go on and do 120 credits for a PGDip.”

At the University of Wellington, PGCerts and PGDips subjects range from Drug Discovery and Development to Museum and Heritage Studies as well as the more traditional Marketing and Business Administration.

Whereas at the University of Manchester, where a PGCert typically lasts six months while a PGDip lasts nine, many of the courses are available part-time for interested applicants to fit them alongside their careers.

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