What happens after completing my bachelor’s degree: Do I take a master’s degree or join the professional life? A question that weighs on many students, especially in their last semester.
One reason for the burdening qualities of the question: The range of Master’s degree courses at the universities in Germany is getting bigger and bigger and therefore more and more confusing. To get an idea of how big the offer actually is: In Germany, there are more than 6,000 Master’s programs! Here are some useful hints to help you find the Master’s program that best suits you.
Master’s degree or rather to enter professional life?
Before you inform yourself about different programs in Germany, you should first be sure about the answer to the question, if you really want to do a Master or rather start your professional life. You should also consider whether you need a higher academic degree for your dream job than you currently have.
As a general guideline, if you’re looking for a senior civil service, a leadership position, or a research or academic job, you’ll probably need a master’s degree. But that does not mean that you can not get a good job with decent salary even with a bachelor’s degree.
When considering whether to do a job or postgraduate studies, you should never (only) pay attention to the salary: Your personal preferences are also crucial! You should consider whether you finally want to apply your knowledge acquired in theory in practice, or whether you like the scientific work so much fun that you like to specialize in a part of your field of study.
Remember in your decision that this does not apply forever. Meaning, even if you decide now for a career entry, you can still educate yourself later. In addition, there are also extra-occupational programs, which leads us to the next section.
Different ways to study
If you have decided on a post-graduate degree or have already graduated in a bachelor’s degree, you have to decide whether you want to do it full-time, part-time or distance-learning. In many cases, this question answers itself: If you want to specialize directly after completing your bachelor’s degree, a full-time course is probably the most likely. Those who are already working and do not want to give up their job will most likely choose to study at a distance or part-time. That’s the way to combine work and study.
However, it has to be considered that a part-time or a distance learning course is a double burden accompanying the job. In addition, this kind of study is also much more expensive than a full-time study, because the organizers know that mainly professionals choose this type of study and working people now have more money than “normal” students.
Consecutive vs. continuing education master courses
Once you have clarified all these fundamental questions, it is important to first get an overview of the offer of the universities in Germany. When collecting information, make sure which degree programs are available to you based on your qualifications. It should also be noted that there are two basic types of Masters degree programs: the so-called consecutive and continuing education courses.
Consecutive degree programs:
- many build content on your bachelor
- for others the connection is not that big (eg Bachelor in Business Administration and subsequent Master in Sports Management)
Continuing Masters Courses:
- are aimed at already working people
- Prerequisite: Bachelor and professional experience (i.d.R.
- Content is linked to job experiences
- very application-oriented
- are often offered extra-occupational
Inform yourself comprehensively about the study of your choice
If you have found a few degree courses that you find interesting, you should inform yourself exactly about the master’s program:
- What are the main topics?
- Does the program look like an internship or a stay abroad?
- Do you have the opportunity to specialize in the course of your studies?
- How is the degree program or department equipped?
- What is the relationship between lecturers and students (how many students “fall” to a professor)?
- Are there any admission requirements for the Master?
- The admission requirements for a master’s program are usually stricter than those for a bachelor’s degree. For example, to take a master’s degree, you must have achieved a certain final grade in the undergraduate degree. It may also be the case that the master requires certain language or specialist knowledge or that a certain number of credit points must be proven in a certain area. Some universities in Germany even have so many requests for postgraduate courses that they have introduced a separate admission procedure, including written exams, personal talks, etc. The procedure for admission can vary from university to university, but also from department to department.
When applying, please note that there is an application deadline at every university! This must be adhered to, if you want to start your studies in the year of application. This fact has to be considered, above all, when the desired university demands a professor’s certificate or certificates such as the TOEFL language test. The procurement of these documents eventually takes some time.
There is no guarantee that you will receive a degree program, even with a good grade point average. That’s why you should always inform yourself about several courses or about several possibilities after your first degree. This way you avoid being left empty-handed if you can not get the preferred study place.
By the way: If you are interested in a master’s degree at your current university, you should best inform yourself about the offer on site, ie with your professors, tutors etc.