What are the career options with an online Masters degree?


24th Feb 2021




Many people who choose to study at postgraduate level do so because they hope it will further their career aspirations.

Whether it’s by upskilling and gaining new insights they can apply within their current field, stepping up to a more senior position that requires a higher level of education, or making the switch into another career completely by doing a conversion course, postgraduate education can help in various different ways.

But full-time study can often require you to take a break or a step back from work commitments, which can affect your career progression. Many people choose to study an online course because they find this format more flexible for fitting around a busy work schedule.


What postgraduate qualifications can I get online?

Nowadays there are a wide range of subjects you can study online, from general business management courses to focused degrees in subjects like infection control or criminal psychology. Whatever your field, you are likely to find a suitable programme for you. At University of Essex Online, we offer a wide range of degrees across business, computing, law, criminology, psychology, health and education, so whatever field you hope to progress in, you’re likely to find something of interest.

If you are interested in dipping your toe into postgraduate study but unsure if you want to commit to a full Masters degree, a short postgraduate course might be the right choice for you. Compared to the two years spent studying a Masters degree, a Postgraduate Diploma takes 16 months to complete while a Postgraduate Certificate take just 8 months, so they are ideal if you’re unsure how much time you’ll have to commit to studying in the future.


What do employers think of online Masters degrees?

Gone are the days when online degrees were seen as lesser compared to face-to-face ones. Modern employers know that there are many reasons why someone may choose to study online, and none of them are to do with looking for an easier course! You receive the exact same quality of teaching and academic support as campus-based students, and the assessment methods are just as rigorous.

Many online degrees are accredited, which only goes to show how well-regarded they are by the industry.

What’s more, an Essex Online degree certificate is identical to that received by students attending the University of Essex campus. Your mode of study is only mentioned on your academic transcript.


Can I get into a PhD with an online Masters degree?

Since the University of Essex degree certificate you receive is identical to the one received by campus-based students, this should not be a barrier to you being accepted onto a PhD programme. Many online students go on to further research and academic study after they complete their Masters, and the research and independent motivation skills developed by studying online are invaluable when pursuing an advanced qualification.

The dissertation or final project you produce during your Masters degree will be essential when applying to PhD programmes, as will having a strong reference from your supervisor. So if this is your goal, you should ensure you choose a topic that will be relevant to your future PhD plans.


What online Masters degrees are most in demand?

It’s usually a good idea to choose a Masters degree based on your professional interests or career objectives. But if you are still looking for ideas of what to study, there are a lot of choices out there. If you want to keep your options open, then studying a Master of Business Management is a great way to prepare yourself to get ahead in almost any business role.

If you hope to enter a high-demand industry with multiple vacancies for each candidate, then consider making the move to computing with an online conversion degree. These courses are designed for those without any prior computing knowledge, and the demand for trained professionals in this area continues to grow year on year.

Currently working in a field such as education or nursing, and hoping to apply for more senior or specialist roles in the future? By studying a masters degree in the field, you will obtain skills that you can apply in your current role, strengthening your candidacy when applying for promotions or new positions. And by studying at postgraduate level, you will have proof of your dedication to developing your knowledge in this area – a great addition to any specialist CV.


Do I have to take a career break to study an online Masters degree?

This is the best thing about getting your Masters degree online. Since all of our courses are delivered part-time with no compulsory times for lectures, you can complete your studies flexibly around whatever commitments you currently have. Many of our students continue in their current roles, or even start progressing in their career before they finish their degree.


Is it worth getting an online Masters degree?

Whether you are hoping to progress to more senior levels within your career, or planning to switch to a career via a conversion course, getting a Masters degree can help you do this. By studying online you remove the need to take a career break, and the skills and knowledge you develop can be applied from day one of the course. It is a big commitment to decide to take on a Masters degree, but the benefits to your future career prospects can be significant.


If you are considering studying an online Masters degree, start by downloading our postgraduate prospectus. You’ll then be contacted by a member of our Admissions team, who will be able to answer any questions you have.