One degree or more? Making the call on postgraduate study options

As the soon-to-be-graduates from the Class of 2020 near the end of their studies, they need to start considering their options for next year. While many are getting ready to enter the workplace, the question about whether they should pursue postgraduate studies or not will be on the minds of tens of thousands of students.

“Graduating from your first qualification is an important milestone, but it should be viewed as just that – a milestone, not the end of the road,” says Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director of The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education institution.

Coughlan says one’s first qualification should be considered a foundation upon which to design and build one’s vision of the future.

“Your success now depends on what you build on top of that foundation, and for successful people that often includes further study and development of skills. In a world where demands on professionals in the workplace change constantly, this is even more true than it was even a few years ago. Success will, for most people, require them to keep building on their foundations and to commit to an attitude of lifelong learning,” she says.

Coughlan notes that while being a graduate significantly improves a person’s chances of finding employment, holding a postgraduate qualification significantly boosts their prospects in a tough job market.

“It is all about differentiating yourself from your peers,” she says.

“So it is really important to understand that your next steps will make a difference.”

Particularly those graduates with relatively generic undergraduate qualifications must seriously consider investing a little more time to earn a postgraduate qualification. For many, a Postgraduate Diploma may well be the next best step, she says.

“Postgraduate Diplomas are intended to help you focus, diversify your skillset and even change direction, so the entrance requirements are often more open than would be the case for an Honours degree,” says Coughlan.