Does a master′s degree help the employability of international students?

Studying for a master’s can be an exciting point in your career path. Making the leap to post-graduate study can provide you with skills that can boost your prospects and future employment, but the decision isn’t that clear cut. With international students in mind, we’re going to look at the best way to decide if the master's route is the right one for you.

A master’s degree from the UK can be well recognised globally due to the renowned level of higher education in the UK. This makes postgraduate study in the UK particularly sought after from overseas students. Esther de Perlaky from the University of Warwick reported that “42% of students studying at postgraduate level in the UK are from outside the EU” confirming the popularity with international students coming to the UK for their degree. Data from the British Council shows the most popular countries are China, India, The United States and Nigeria.

The most common length for a master’s degree in the UK is one year if studied full time. However, this may be set to change. Some universities are responding to student needs and are set to introduce a 2-year master’s programme to their course list. These will often include a placement. The government Graduate Labour Market Statistics state that “in 2017 graduates and postgraduates had higher employment rates than non-graduates” and that overall post-graduates had a greater high-skilled employment rate. While these statistics are promising, it’s still imperative to explore your own specific career aims to ensure that a master’s would help in your chosen field.

In order to decide if the master’s route is right for you, you’ll need to think about what you would gain from this extra time studying. Depending on your area of study, the benefit of a master’s degree will vary. Post-graduate study is highly regarded but will not automatically increase your employability by itself. However, if it fits in with your career plan it can give you the edge in your industry. For example, if the course gives you practical skills for the workplace or work experience in your industry then it may be key in providing you with value for your future career. Some courses will provide vital connections and contacts which can help you succeed. Start by trying to decide what your career plan, you can do this with the help of your institution's career team. Then you can decide where a master’s would fit in with your goals.

If you’re trying to decide what path to take, have a look at the free careers advice on GradLink. You will find not just industry advice but country-specific information to help you prepare for interviews and find key employers in your region. When the time comes to applying for graduate roles, see our global jobs board which connects you to our trusted global employers.


By Jen Garmston Published: Mar 15,2019