Student Life

Student Life

The truth about undergraduate to postgraduate transition

Hello everyone, I’m Stefhany. I studied International Business at Universidad del Pacifico (Lima, Peru) and I just finished my first semester of Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management MSc at Newcastle University Business School.

If you completed your undergraduate studies and are now thinking about starting a Master’s degree, one of your main doubts would be: are there any differences between undergraduate and postgraduate studies? Now, I will provide my perspective on this transition.

An academic teachers to lecture theatre full of students

Workload: Assignments and exams

This varies according to the programme that you select and the country where you study your degree. In my case, in my undergraduate degree, I used to have a lot of coursework both personal and in groups, while in my Master’s there are fewer.

Finally, I was expecting mid-term and final-term exams as in my undergraduate degree. However, in Master’s we have only one exam that integrates all the content of the course. Moreover, the punctuation system was completely different from my country (a scale of 0 to 20 in Peru vs 0 to 100% in UK) so this definitely confused me a lot.

Tips:

  1. Make good notes during classes and start studying from week 1.
  2. Look for past examinations to prepare yourself.
  3. Feel free to ask your professor during classes if you have any doubt and make sure you actively participate.

Programme content

In a taught course like mine, you normally have a total of eight modules (five compulsory and three optional modules) and present a final dissertation. This takes one year because the courses are really focused on your degree programme, something completely different to my undergraduate experience. In my country, it takes five years to complete your major and normally you have five or six courses per semester.

Although there is a significant difference, remember that in an undergraduate degree, there are a lot of general courses because this can help you to decide the area you want to specialise in.

In my case, I decided to study Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management because I had a background in International Business. Although I had some logistics courses in my undergraduate degree, I wanted to learn more about this topic.

Tips:

  1. If you recently finished your undergraduate degree, remember that you should take into consideration in which area you want to work.
  2. If you already have work experience, you might already know the area, so just focus on the course content and how this will help you to develop your career.

Life balancing

Probably one of my major struggles was to balance my studies with managing my finances, making payments (accommodation, university fees, etc.), my social life and a part-time or full-time job.

Moreover, being far away from your country, friends, family and culture can also impact your life. In my undergraduate degree I didn’t have to deal with all of these, just study, have a social life and a part-time job. So, deciding to do a postgraduate degree abroad can have a lot of challenges but I’m sure it will also bring a lot of rewards.

Tips:  

  1. Finding a part-time or full-time job can be hard but don’t worry! Establish specific days to prepare your applications and remember you have help from MyCareer Service (Newcastle University) to search for jobs, enhance your CV or practice for an interview.
  2. Manage your finances: make a monthly budget and record all your expenses and income. You can use many technological tools such as Excel or mobile apps.
  3. Join a society and/or take part in the Give it a Go activities: The Newcastle University Student’s Union has activities all semester that you can join so you do not feel overwhelmed with the courses and make new friends.

I hope you find this information useful.

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