FT or PT masters? Stuck!

The place to ask about degree courses, conversion courses, masters, PhD or other qualifications. Discuss specific courses, their pros and cons, the content, the application process, different institutions, how to fund them, etc. Includes advice if you have a 2:2 and questions on transcripts
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butterflyfingers
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:44 pm

FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by butterflyfingers » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:21 pm

Heya, I'll be submitting masters applications pretty soon, well actually the only thing stopping me now is the decision about FT or PT! I'm 23, and live at home, but know that I'd still like to continue working (happy to adjust hours etc) but I really don't know which mode to choose. Tbh, I'm not keen to do PT because I'll be doing it for 2 years instead of 1, when I finish I'd be 26, and I'm also concerned that I won't really feel like I'm a part of the uni, and that all the part times will be older, but main concern is the first two. Also some courses are more suited to fT students such as the one I'm going for (spoken to the course director). However with FT though I'd be doing it for a shorter time, I wouldn't want my work to affect my studies , and may have to cut my hours down (which also means money) significantly. I also think financially PT may be good because I'd be working and have more time to do things, gain more experience in terms of new roles and experience and save, and do well. Help? I know it is me making the decision, but I've been thinking about it for a while, and I just don't know! What do others think or what are others experiences of both modes? Also just to add, my work (employment) isn't particularly demanding and I am fed up so don't want to really do it any longer than I have to, it has been a year.However, it is in talking therapies and because i have a lot of time usually to waste means that I could get my books out and still work... would love to hear what others think. I need to stop being indecisive and really make a decision and just stick with it...

jessicaaaa
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Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:38 pm

Re: FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by jessicaaaa » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:51 pm

Hi butterflyfingers!

Sounds like a really tricky decision to make! For one indecisive person to another, I think it can be a good thing to be indecisive sometimes, it shows you are really weighing up your options carefully. Also, good plan speaking to the course director, they can be great at giving more info to help make your decision.

If it helps, I can tell you my experience. I am currently doing a FT masters (Msc Clinical Health Psychology at the University of Strathclyde), I do relief support work alongside it (usually <16 hrs/week) and also do some voluntary work (<6hrs/week). I mainly chose FT because I wanted to get the Msc qualification more quickly and be able to put that on job applications for when I apply to FT jobs later this year. Although I am busy, I am managing the workload and getting good marks.
As for the PT students on my course, they are pretty well integrated within my cohort of students (we chat in lectures and they have attended social events etc.). The PT students typically work FT or PT alongside the course and all seem to manage that ok.

Here are a few thoughts that might help you make a decision (apologies if you have considered these already):
- consider reaching out and speaking to students who are currently doing the masters course that you are aiming to get into. They might give you a clearer idea about your specific masters course and whether the hours you work would interfere.
- you say you are fed up with your work right now and that you have been in it for a year. Based on the experience my friends have had, you want to make sure you are feeling happy and enthused through your masters, You might want to avoid ending up feeling like you are "trapped" in a job to support you financially. Have you considered whether you might apply to a new job to see you through your masters?
- Seems like finances are a key concern for you. Have you looked into available bursaries? Or how much you might be able to save up from your current job before the start of your masters? Would these things change your decision?

Hope some of this helps,
Jess

Esuma
Posts: 479
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:51 pm

Re: FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by Esuma » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:56 pm

I'm currently doing a FT masters whilst working full time (37.5 hours) but I'm doing a distance learning masters so my only contact time is an online tutorial a few hours one afternoon a week.I changed jobs within the same hospital part way through - before my hours were spread in three long days so I had 4 days off, now though I'm working mostly 9-5 apart from I work later one day to make up for having a half day due to my tutorial. In my old role the work was manageable but in my new role it's pretty tiring fitting in study after a full days work and travelling. Then you need to spend weekends working too which leaves little time for a social life. BUT as you say this is just a one year thing so it depends if the sacrifice is worth it for you! My experience will be very different as I have no contact really with the uni except when I've been in for exams and this sounds like it's very important to you. By the sound of your hours I would say FT could be manageable. But you're also only 23 so two years isn't that long if you want to take things slower and you will have more time to improve your grades. For my course I didn't see the need to do PT as the only difference was that the whole of the second year was dedicated to the thesis, but the first two terms are exactly the same and so it would have made little difference to my stress levels! Also bear in mind you may need to use annual leave for any exams or big deadlines, which again can leave less down time as your leave is taken up by studying rather than an actual break!

I'm not sure if it's changed either but the option of getting £10,000 loan for the course is there too so depending on your course fees that can help ease the burden if you do decide to cut hours.

SuzC
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Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:45 pm

Re: FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by SuzC » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:58 am

To offer an alternate perspective -I did my masters part time at the uni of sussex. From my experience, there were some real pro's and con's that you have already touched on before.

I went straight into the masters from undergrad at the same uni, as did the majority of my cohort. That meant in year one I had a number of friends already, and some doing other masters courses. Unfortunately, in year 2, I did feel far less included. It didn't help that that cohort were particularly close -it seemed that everyone was friends, and I did at times feel very left out. Added to that, I also lived at home, around 50 miles away, so didn't have the benefit of being able to bond with people outside of uni. However -it largely wasn't that important. Any group work that needed to be done was done, I was close with a couple of people which was enough.

The financial side was a huge plus side for me. I was able to work full time (and often more) in a care home, and later as an ABA tutor. I have no debt from my masters degree, as my salary paid it off. It also meant that when I finished I had nearly 2 years full time experience in relevant areas, and walked almost straight into an assistant psychologist job. I was slightly younger than you when I finished, but not massively -I was nearly 25. I don't think the age has held me back -I got one clinical interview last year, and am applying again with a further year of experience.

butterflyfingers
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:44 pm

Re: FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by butterflyfingers » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:17 pm

Hello :) thanks for all the replies. Yes Suzy, you see that's the thing that clinches it for PT, the financial being a big plus, I like all the pluses you mention. I want to earn, save, build experience but also the time to do well, and do other things in my time too... I submitted one application just after this post haha, but I am considering the pros of PT I really am. I would like to feel integrated slightly but at the same time I don't want to live a proper 'student' life and feel broke or overwhelmed with it all. Although I did handle undergraduate well, I want to improve my work ethic slightly, but then with FT I feel I'll get on with what I need to do because I will have be juggling if you get me. You mention that you went straight to a Masters, I graduated in 2014 so it'll be 2 and a half years . were your stress levels and did you find you had time to do other things to? Treat yourself to a holiday? This might sound silly but I also want to travel (just short bursts ) too, and Obviously the masters is the priority but I am slightly thinking that I won't be able to do anything else if you get me?

SuzC
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:45 pm

Re: FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by SuzC » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:45 am

Hmm stress levels- they varied really. Obviously at times of deadlines they got quite high. Similarly, if work was stressful, there were times in lectures that I didn't feel I got everything out of them that I could (In that one hour block) However, deadlines at least were easy to plan around -I was lucky that I could, in essence, present the dates to my boss who would reduce my hours slightly at these times, on the condition that I make them up at other times -which worked fine for me, as during uni holiday times I could easily work more.

I found my work ethic improved at this time. I had to stay motivated to do it all -work, study and social time, and knew that if I procrastinated, it would likely come out of my social time. So generally I did what I needed to do when I needed to do it. I would go as far as to say it was the hardest I've worked, as these days outside of my 9-5 hours I usually socialise/do my own thing, whereas during my masters I would work 3-4 12 hours shifts a week, 2 days at uni, and the remaining time studying/socialising.

I was able to have a holiday- partly because again I had some disposable income (I must add, I was very lucky living at home that my dad did not charge me rent/food etc) although these were 10 day type things. I think I could have fitted longer in if I had organised my time differently.

One more thing to add- for me, I didn't really have any clinical experience before my masters (save for some small volunteering type things) I found it really helpful doing the two alongside each other as I was able to reflect on both my studies and work. There were things I learnt in uni that guided my care work, and vice versa. I think some of the lectures/seminars would have felt quite abstract without even a small amount of grounding. This might not be true of everyone, or for you, given I don't know what/if you have any experience, but it might be another thing to consider.

butterflyfingers
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:44 pm

Re: FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by butterflyfingers » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:31 pm

Heya, 10 days! I think that's great,more than enough! And yeah I'm not charged for rent/food either tbh. Ah cool,wellyoure selling Pt for me , honestly haha. And what made you decide to do PT in the first place or was it a dilemma for you too? I do feel slightly better now about it even though I'm still in two minds about which mode,I also think it depends on the days and hours for each course, diffeeent institutions differ obviously :) so that has kind of helped too :) that's ace about the holiday!

SuzC
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:45 pm

Re: FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by SuzC » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:35 am

It was fine as long as I planned it in. I might have struggled had someone suggested it last minute, but then again, I think most people would.

I had a dilemma as well. In my uni, all psychology masters courses shared some common courses, and I had 2 close friends who picked different masters full time. It might have been nice to have all graduated together, although we had done that the previous year. I think however, it worked against me in some respects, as I could hang out with them rather than my course mates, which further served to increase some isolation. However, it was thanks to the course, and those friends, that I met my now fiancé so no hard feelings there.

The biggest thing for me was money. Coming straight from undergrad, I had nothing in the way of savings, and would have struggled to pay for the course without taking out further loans, which I wanted to avoid if possible. Furthermore, I would have had less capacity to work, so less capacity to save. I would have also had less time, so reduced opportunity for activities outside of the course. However -this is a very biased view. I know people do the above every year -the majority of people at least at my uni were full time, so it clearly is do-able.

butterflyfingers
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:44 pm

Re: FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by butterflyfingers » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:46 pm

SuzC wrote:It was fine as long as I planned it in. I might have struggled had someone suggested it last minute, but then again, I think most people would.

I had a dilemma as well. In my uni, all psychology masters courses shared some common courses, and I had 2 close friends who picked different masters full time. It might have been nice to have all graduated together, although we had done that the previous year. I think however, it worked against me in some respects, as I could hang out with them rather than my course mates, which further served to increase some isolation. However, it was thanks to the course, and those friends, that I met my now fiancé so no hard feelings there.

The biggest thing for me was money. Coming straight from undergrad, I had nothing in the way of savings, and would have struggled to pay for the course without taking out further loans, which I wanted to avoid if possible. Furthermore, I would have had less capacity to work, so less capacity to save. I would have also had less time, so reduced opportunity for activities outside of the course. However -this is a very biased view. I know people do the above every year -the majority of people at least at my uni were full time, so it clearly is do-able.
Hi Suzy, okay cool, I get what you mean. When you were doing your MSc part-time did you feel that there were certain times when you felt that FT students had more in-depth information then you because you were PT? You know with regards to the modules you were doing with FT. I've come across a few who have said they felt that way as a PTimer.


And did you feel you were less immersed in the subject matter, due it not being as intense, or did you still find it intense as a part-timer or feel that you were immersed in it as opposed to it dragging out? And did you ever feel really busy (I know you said you did a lot of things experience/volunteering wise) but I mean in terms of the work on the course?

butterflyfingers
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:44 pm

Re: FT or PT masters? Stuck!

Post by butterflyfingers » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:21 pm

have a telephone interview for one of the Msc courses I applied for, did you ever have a telephone interview for any of your masters? It has no information on the email, so I'm not sure what to expect, will call them to try and find out more. I wondered if you have any advice/tips you could give if you did?

Also any experiences of those with a 2.2 who had Msc interview questions too would be great.. :)

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