Master’s degree in Peace Studies – what to think about

A useful resource for what to think about when considering doing a master’s degree is the postgrad digital magazine from, here.

It includes tips on:

  • questions to ask at a postgraduate fair (what the universities call their visiting days or open days, I presume) such as “How did last year’s students obtain funding?”
  • that one should apply at least eight months before the course starts
  • how to write a personal statement (whatever one of those is)
  • studying abroad.

As I am shopping around at the moment for where to do such a master’s degree I have lots of questions.

  • Do I want a master’s degree or a research master’s degree?
  • What modules make up the degree?
    • and are they relevant for my career aspirations?
    • and will I learn stuff I want to learn?
    • and will I learn stuff I need to learn?
  • Will an Honours Degree in Philosophy and Psychology qualify me for the course?
  • What are the fees?
  • What funding options are there?
  • Is it “master’s degree” or “masters degree”?
  • How long is it?
    • If it is for two years, does one attend in the second year?
  • Will I be doing a PhD after the master’s degree?
    • Will this master’s degree help m get onto a PhD course?
    • Should I do an MPhil instead?
    • Or maybe an MRes?
  • Will it still be running when I want to do it?
  • How realistic for me is the geographic location?
  • Will it be prestigious?
  • Is the title of the master’s degree a suitable one?
  • How many ECTS credits is it worth?
    • How many ECTS credits do I need / want?

Regarding the ECTS business, ECTS is the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.  A degree earns credits which are transferable across Europe.  Typically, each year is worth 60 ECTS credits where each credit is about 25 to 30 hours of work.  Most European master’s programmes (‘programmes’ seems to be what they call them) are worth 90-120 ECTS credits.  However, UK master’s degrees only last one year and are—supposedly—worth 180 UK credits where two UK credits are equivalent to one ECTS credit.  However, I can see some UK master’s degrees are worth only 60 ECTS credits rather than 90.  The Open University says two of its credits are equivalent to one ECTS credit, so an OU master’s degree (180 OU credits) is 90 ECTS credits.