Horses for courses

Celebrations after a graduation ceremony

Celebrations after a graduation ceremony

This is an extract from a Weekend Australian article published in the Higher Education Special Report
6–7 September 2008 by Derek Parker

Postgraduate research is generally a good career investment but it should be considered as part of an overall development plan, according to experts in the field …

The importance of practical experience is not disputed by Dr Sue Stevens, publisher of the Career FAQs series of books, but she believes that there are fields where postgraduate qualifications are essential for advancement.

‘In education, nursing, information technology and quite a few other areas you need to have done more coursework or research if you want to move up and into the administrative side of the profession,’ she says.

‘Postgraduate qualifications not only give you extra ability, they identify you as someone with ambition and some extra drive.’

According to government figures, about 25 per cent of the students currently attending university are postgraduates, up 16 per cent from a decade ago, due in part to increased numbers going straight on to postgraduate study after completing their first degree.

… Dr Stevens agrees that rushing into postgraduate study is unwise. ‘It’s a big commitment so you have to be clear on your reasons for it,’ she says.

‘You should ask yourself: Why am I doing this? To enhance career opportunities and earning potential? Because I plan to become an academic? Because it might offer the opportunity to travel and work overseas? Because I love the field and want to know more about it? These are all good reasons. The point is to know what means the most to you.’

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