Ask LH: Should I Keep Studying At University?

Ask LH: Should I Keep Studying At University?

Dear Lifehacker, I am due to graduate from a coursework postgraduate degree at the end of this year. During this time, I’ve had several papers published and achieved some good results in my subjects. My university have invited me to continue on and do a research degree through them and I’m not sure what I should do.

My work are supportive of this and would help support me with some extra time off. So doing a research degree is a no-brainer for me. The problem is, I have spent a fair bit of time at this university and I was wondering how this would look on my CV? I would have two consecutive degrees from the same university — is this a good look or not? Cheers, Aluminated

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Dear Aluminated,

We say go for it. While it used to be held that scoring qualifications through multiple universities was desirable, in a world where tertiary education costs are rising you should grab whatever chances you can.

In any event, completing two degrees demonstrates that you can stick with lengthy projects, meet an ongoing series of deadlines and master new skills on a regular basis. This is bound to look impressive on your resume, even if both qualifications came from the same place.

Another reason to forge ahead is the fact that Australia is currently suffering a shortage of tech graduates — this is obviously good news if you work in IT. (i.e. — Earning two degrees from the same university certainly beats having none.)

You’re lucky to have a supportive employer, so don’t miss this opportunity. With that in mind, here are the 15 Lifehacker posts every university student needs to read. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • Not sure I agree with LH advice. I would take their advice with a grain of salt – much like this comment.

    Anyway in my experience, 2 degrees without any real world experience doesn’t look good on your CV when you finally decide to leave your gated community at a ripe old age. You should also factor in the HECS repayments once the government starts charging interest (assuming it passes).

  • I think it depends on your industry and area of study
    I would disagree with the IT advice, I have not had people in for interview who did postgrade kinda stuff. I fyou go straight to do a Masters in IT aftre you finish your degree I take that to mean you couldn’t find a job and needed something to do.
    You also mention your work is supportive so it isn’t like uni is the only thing on your CV

    You say it is a research degree, providing there is an industry application for what you are doing that could be fine.

  • Don’t do it. The higher your degree the more UN-employable you become. Personal experience. I wish I has stopped at my Bach engineering. I went ahead and got me a Masters, which was of real no use. My friends have become Senior Engineer where as I am looking for a job in between looking for Phd opportunities and tutoring Bach Engineering students.

    Also i agree with @tigerion. The course matters too. In Engineering there is no use, but pharmacology, biology, zoology etc it might be a different case.

  • As a person who has sat on many interview panels for graduate recruitment campaigns in the public service, a double degree puts you one step ahead of the competition and is seen as good demonstration of abilities. However, I have also noted that Masters level has now become a baseline to enhance your prospects – simply put, too many people with standard or honours degrees. If you have already published, are you in position for PhD? PhD is a winner in R&D + S&T fields from an employment perspective.

  • As a science PhD graduate. Let me spell this clearly.

    Do a research degree if RESEARCH ( in academica or industry) is what you want to do. DO NOT do a research degree if you think it’ll help your CV. In most cases you’re better off getting into industry and getting on the job experience.

    Very few industries (pharmaceutical, chemical, electronics) will require research higher degree graduates as a criteria for a job, and even then, it’ll be for a research-track position, in which case, it’ll mean you’re aiming for research anyways.

    That said, if you’re aiming to remain in Australia, research higher degrees do not go well with most companies, because Australia divisions of most multinationals do not do any research in Australia if they can help it.

  • A research degree (PhD) shouldn’t cost you anything beyond opportunity cost (missed income from returning to the workforce).

    If you work in healthcare (medicine, allied health, etc.), research advanced degree would be of benefit if you enjoy academia. Given your publication history, this bodes well too.

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