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What next? Why not gain a Masters?

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 11:40
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If you’ve got a BTEC HN qualification under your belt, you’re probably thinking about your next step. Well here’s an option that might not have occurred to you: an Integrated Masters. It could be exactly what you’re looking for. 

Essentially, an Integrated Master’s is a combination of undergraduate study and postgraduate study in one course. You’ll start out at a Bachelor’s level, just as you would with a normal degree. Gradually, as you work through the modules, you’ll expand your knowledge and skills until you find yourself immersed in Master’s-level study. It’s all carefully designed to be a natural progression, so you’ll never feel rushed or out of your depth, and by the end, you’ll be the proud owner of a Master’s level degree. There’s no break in your studies between your Bachelor’s and your Master’s, with no need to stop and reapply for another course.

Who is it for? 

You, especially if you know what industry you want to work in, and you’re prepared to concentrate your efforts on getting there fast. An Integrated Master’s is generally focused on one sector, giving you applied knowledge and practical training closely linked to distinct vocations or career paths.

Because of this, you won’t get an MA or MSc. Instead, you’ll be awarded a more specific qualification, like an MMath (Maths), MEng (Engineering) or MBus (Business). 

Most Integrated Master’s allow you to start straight after your A-levels and require four years of full-time study to complete. However, if you have an existing qualification – such as your BTEC HN – some will allow you to start part-way through, fast-tracking you towards your next qualification in a fraction of the time. 

For mature student Shirley Morgan, the chance to speed-up her journey to a Master’s level qualification was too good an opportunity to pass-by. She joined Northumbria University’s distance learning MBus in 2019, after previously achieving an HND in Business and Management. She explains: “I had been searching the internet for distance learning courses and I was shocked to find that I would be able to gain a Master’s level qualification in only three years. I decided to apply and was accepted on my HND grades, as a mature student.  It is my hope that this MBus alongside my HND, will give me the skillset and formal qualifications I need to develop my career and work until my retirement.”

What are the advantages? 

Like Shirley, short-cutting your route to a Master’s degree will put you ahead of the curve in the job market and help you develop the skills you need to achieve your career goals. You’ll develop industry-specific knowledge and experience that will equip you for a real-world career. Prospective employers will also appreciate your transferable skills in areas such as research, analysis and teamwork. In many cases, it could set you up for a doctorate too if that’s part of your plan. 

If you’re studying in the UK, you can apply for funding through the undergraduate student finance system. You’ll be eligible for tuition fee and maintenance loans for the whole course, including the final ‘Master’s’ year. Plus, if you don’t want to take out a student loan, some institutions also offer the option of paying for your studies in module-by-module instalments.

The Bachelor’s option 

If, once you’ve started, you don’t feel as though you can commit to the full postgraduate programme and decide you need to leave halfway through the course, some Integrated Master’s programmes have a BA or BSc exit point built in. For example, Northumbria University’s Business and Management MBus offers students the opportunity to graduate with a BA after six modules and 18 months, part-time, helping you to get where you want to be, fast. 

Manage your future

If you have a Business or Management-related BTEC HN, you may find Northumbria’s distance-learning MBus a tempting option. You’ll get to build on your previous experience and top up your qualification all the way to a Master’s, while studying part time. There’s no need to relocate to be near the campus and you’ll get all the benefits of university life – leading academics, outstanding resources, student services – without leaving home. Find out more

Elizabeth Blower

Elizabeth Blower joined Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, as an academic in 2017, after working in a variety of business and management roles. She is currently programme leader on the distance learning Business and Management Integrated Masters programme at the University.




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