You’re about to complete your undergraduate studies and I bet you’re asking yourself what you should do next. That question goes through almost every undergrad’s head, so don’t worry about it. Almost no one has life after graduation figured out, some go straight into a job, others take a year off to travel, and some go on to complete postgraduate studies. If you are considering going on to complete a master’s, you are most likely asking yourself, “Is it worth it?” It is and I’ll explain why below.
First of all, completing a master’s wasn’t always part of my plan. I decided to pursue an MSc in Public Health after taking a public health class at the university where I studied for my undergraduate degree. After working for a personal injury law firm that dealt with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), it confirmed that I wanted to go on to study a master’s. I wanted to learn more about how local and national governments go about handling outbreaks, whether it is STDs or other diseases. I scoured the internet for ways to get more experience in this field and made up my mind that completing a master’s in Public Health was the way to go. As an international student, I am able to gain different perspectives on major public health topics and see firsthand a majorly different health system to the one back home. Additionally, I am able to meet and network with people from all over the world, which opens doors for my future endeavours.
Secondly, the University of Bristol is an amazing university, with an outstanding research reputation. The MSc in Public Health programme, although fairly new, gives you the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully work in the public health sector. What initially drew me to this course was its diverse course catalogue. The modules range from Health Economics to Environmental Health. Additionally, our lecturers are incredibly clever and have an abundance of experience in this field. They are also the most helpful and friendliest lecturers I’ve ever had. I’m used to having classes in auditoriums where the professors don’t even know you exist. In this MSc programme, I am actually able to interact with the lecturers and get my questions answered. It’s an incredibly inclusive environment which makes it easy to ask questions without feeling judged. So please do not think that completing a master’s means that you are going to be completely on your own.
Lastly, although the dissertation part of completing a master’s programme might be a bit daunting, I promise it’s not as bad as you think. I did have to write a similar paper during my undergraduate studies, so I came into this programme with previous experience writing a long research paper. Don’t worry if you don’t have that experience though, because you’re able to choose your own topic to write about, which makes it easier and more enjoyable. Additionally, this is a way to choose your “speciality” in a way, since you’re able to go into your chosen topic at great depth and you spend a whole semester just analysing data from that field. Writing twenty or more pages doesn’t seem so bad when you’re writing about something you enjoy and are actually really interested in.
In Summary, completing a master’s broadens your knowledge on a specific topic, let’s you meet people from all over the world, therefore teaching you various ways to view problems in your topic area, and opens all types of career doors. It has been a great experience and I would highly recommend looking into completing a master’s, especially at the University of Bristol. You definitely won’t regret it.
Written by Gabriela, Public Health MSc