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Postgraduate Masters students

As well as advising you on career planning, we can help you develop your skills, gain valuable experience and direct you to the most relevant information.

New resources: 

Research students, please also see the web pages for postgraduate researchers.

See also additional information and resources for online and distance learners.

Career planning

The earlier you start thinking about your future the better. The time during your postgraduate degree will go very quickly!

We have a series of workshops for postgraduate students, Life after a Masters, in autumn term.  Check the events page and Careers Gateway for details.  To get started with career planning, use the Get ideas web pages.

A Masters may give you an edge in some fields, but is not essential in others.  You may find that you enter employment at the same level as a new graduate and that the rewards for having a Masters qualification come a bit later in your career.


Identify the skills you may have developed through studying at Masters level, such as:

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  • Organisational skills
  • Time management
  • Self-motivation and working independently
  • ‎Project planning
  • Communication skills (written and oral)
  • Presentation skills
  • Team working
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical skills
  • Subject specific skills (eg research skills, scientific or business knowledge, languages).

Undergraduates also have many of these qualities, but you will develop these skills to a greater depth during your Master's course, and this will add value to your CV. 

You can further develop skills and gain valuable experience through our range of skills courses and events, volunteering projects and involvement in student activities, campaigns and work experience.

Useful resources

Reference books in the Careers Information Room include: 

  • What Colour is Your Parachute?
  • How to Get a Job You’ll Love
  • Skills for Success
  • Brilliant Employability Skills
  • Learning to Leap.

Want to read more?

For information about career planning, looking for work, making applications and skills development, follow the work, volunteering and career planning pages. Much of this information is relevant to taught postgraduate students.


Applying for jobs

Graduate recruiters welcome applications from postgraduates, but remember you will be competing against final year undergraduates - a Masters degree tends not to be a specific entry requirement, so you'll need to demonstrate the extra skills you've gained. Think about what makes you stand out.

Check graduate scheme application deadlines - some close in Autumn term so need early applications.  Find out about start dates as you will still be studying during the summer when some schemes start.  Some employers recruit on a rolling basis and may be flexible around your course dates.  And don’t forget the opportunities offered by smaller businesses or SMEs, who account for the vast majority of graduate employment and recruit year round.

Search Careers Gateway for vacancies as well as vacancy websites and professional bodies’ websites and check out the Look for work section for other job sites. Keep a check on specialist vacancy and professional bodies’ websites for those jobs requiring a specific Masters degree. See also Prospects website for advice on getting a job after your Masters.

If you want to work in a different country after your studies see Working outside the UK (PDF , 797kb).  You can find information about working in different countries - on our International Work page.

International students looking for work in the UK should refer to information on working in the UK after your studies page.

Useful resources 

Further study

If you are passionate about your subject and enjoy working in a university environment, you may be thinking about further study and possibly an academic career.  If so, you need to start early in researching possible avenues, universities and funding opportunities. 

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You can find out about the work of an academic, and roles in academia, at An Academic Career, a national resource, developed and hosted by the University of Manchester.   This is a comprehensive resource which explores an academic career in detail and answers questions such as: Is an academic career right for you?  What do academics do?  How do you become an academic? 

See also the Prospects website for things to consider if you are thinking about PhD study. 

The Vitae website provides extensive information and resources to support the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff.  While it is clearly aimed at researchers, rather than Masters students, it will give you a useful insight into many aspects of an academic career. Note: this site is being updated and you may need your university log in to register for access.

International students considering further study in the UK should also refer to:

Useful resources 

  • News, policy and general information relating to the higher education sector in the UK from HE On Tap, @HEontap
  • Articles, news and blogs at
  • has useful articles relating to academic careers, job seeking tips and careers advice, as well as vacancies for post-docs, academic and non-academic posts
  • Should I do a PhD? guide from and other career planning tools to help you make an informed decision
  • Search our graduate profiles (choose Further study in Type of profile), and make contact with York graduates in your subject area
  • The Graduate Students' Association provides a social community and academic and welfare support for postgraduate students at the University of York

Reference books in the Careers Information Room include: 

  • The Academic Career Handbook
  • From Postgraduate to Social Scientist
  • Managing Your Academic Career

Useful links

Explore our resources

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Contact us

Careers and Placements
Mon-Fri 10am-5pm (Undergraduate term time)
Telephone: 01904 322685
Email: via Careers Gateway

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