What’s an integrated masters?
You might have always considered a Masters as a postgraduate degree course but have you every thought of combining a Masters with your Undergraduate degree?
Usually a Masters is a one year course you complete after graduating with a BSc or BA. However, some universities offer Integrated Masters. These courses combine the 3 year undergraduate course with a one year masters course on top – you will spend 4 years studying for this qualification. You graduate once with a single qualification but you’ll get a new title, for example I will graduate with a BSc MMathStat, not just a BSc.
Integrated Masters are only available for certain Universities and courses (mainly STEM) so please check online to see whether this kind of degree is available to you. If you’re interested, here are some reasons why I think you should consider one:
For a lot of courses at Warwick an integrated Masters is a degree which you can transfer on or off at certain points in your degree. For example, I arrived at University on a three year course and in my third year decided that I wanted to transfer to the Integrated Masters course. Alternatively, friends I know have transferred to the 3 year course as their circumstances have changed, such as being offered grad jobs. Of course, you will need to be aware of specific course regulations but usually there is some flexibility within the degrees.
As an Integrated Masters course is considered a 4th year of your undergraduate degree, you will be able to use your Student Finance Loan like usual. This extra year has the same tuition fee loan as every other undergraduate course – this currently stands at £9,250 per academic year. You also are able to apply for the same amount of maintenance loan.
For other masters courses fees can vary depending on the University’s reputation, how expensive the course is to run and quality. There is no flat fee unlike an Integrated Masters course and prices are not capped so could go up with inflation for example. Applying for Masters funding is also a little more complicated, however there is usually some form of financial support available – this does require some research however. Also be aware that some Universities do require an application fee to apply for some masters courses.
Another year at University!
Sometimes University can fly by and you may not be ready to jump into the job market. You might need another year to consider your career path and an integrated masters is a perfect way to develop more skills for a final year. It is 2 qualifications in one, so whilst you study you’re also gaining a more rigorous qualification which you can take with you to future employers. I would not recommend considering an Integrated Masters if you only want another year of the university experience. However, if you know that another year of learning is attractive to you, then another year with your friends and societies is definitely a benefit.
Is it right for you?
There are also reasons why the Integrated Masters course may not be for you. The integrated masters course offered by your department may not be in the style you would prefer, the spectrum of other masters courses are much more wide ranging so make sure you’re happy with the course structure before committing.
Also, an integrated masters course is another year of study, it usually involves some research in the form of a dissertation or research project. Therefore make sure you’re willing to commit to another year before signing up.
Additionally, a Masters Course will of course be attached to your Undergraduate University – you might want to explore a different University in your 4th year.
Make sure you really research the integrated masters courses on offer before going ahead so you can make the most informed choice. However, the degree certainly deserves some thought.