Is an MA worth having?

  • Page

    of 2 First / Last

    Previous
  • MisterFalseName 31 Aug 2006 16:08:20 985 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Bunged in the social catagory for want of anything better...

    Okay, so I graduated with a 2:1 in English Literature in July and have just been rejected for a PhD opportunity, having made the shortlist. I now face a fairly open choice of either temping for a year and then doing an MA, or actually getting onto the careers track outside of academia.

    My concern is that if I do take my MA, and then find that I cannot find another funded PhD opportunity (I'm fairly sure if I had more than a BA I'd have gotten this one...) then is it just a waste of three grand, or do any employers value it as a useful qualification in its own right?

    Also, and getting less likely to get a definitive answer as I go along, does anyone know if English PhD courses would actually like an MA especially within the subject, or will a more vocational course be acceptable?

    Thanks in advance for dealing with my tiresome crisis...
  • Blerk Moderator 31 Aug 2006 16:10:35 48,224 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 12 years ago
    I have yet to apply for any job where the prospective employer has even looked at my qualifications, never mind demanded a certain level of achievement.

    Experience seems to count for far more these days. The degree will carry you into work fine, I doubt an MA would make any difference at all.

    Edit: Employer, not employee. :-)

    Edited by Blerk at 16:12:58 31-08-2006
  • MisterFalseName 31 Aug 2006 16:11:42 985 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Believe me, I've been looking hard this morning - it's a delightfully demoralising process. :)

    It would help if I knew whether I was looking for promotion prospects or just a 12 month contract to get some cash in...
  • ssuellid 31 Aug 2006 16:12:56 19,141 posts
    Seen 11 hours ago
    Registered 12 years ago
    Blerk wrote:
    I have yet to apply for any job where the prospective employee has even looked at my qualifications, never mind demanded a certain level of achievement.

    Seems to have changed a lot in some companies. My current one did not care 5 years ago but now are keen on 1sts from Oxbridge etc.
  • Carlo 31 Aug 2006 16:13:28 17,913 posts
    Seen 8 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Slurpy J wrote:
    Go and get a job you lazy swine! ;)
    and get your hair cut!

    PSN ID: Djini

  • MisterFalseName 31 Aug 2006 16:14:11 985 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Carlo wrote:
    Slurpy J wrote:
    Go and get a job you lazy swine! ;)
    and get your hair cut!

    I will be doing, as soon as I get an interview. ;(
  • Blerk Moderator 31 Aug 2006 16:15:43 48,224 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 12 years ago
    Incidentally (and I'm not being 'funny' here, it's a serious question), what kind of jobs does a degree in English Literature lead to aside from teaching English Literature? :-)
  • ssuellid 31 Aug 2006 16:17:27 19,141 posts
    Seen 11 hours ago
    Registered 12 years ago
    Blerk wrote:
    Incidentally (and I'm not being 'funny' here, it's a serious question), what kind of jobs does a degree in English Literature lead to aside from teaching English Literature? :-)

    I was going to say a bookshop but that is where the Psychology graduates end up :)
  • MisterFalseName 31 Aug 2006 16:19:19 985 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Here in (partially) lies the problem.

    I think it's all the generic style jobs that ask for a 2:1 or above in any subject. I suppose, more specifically, it would lead into PR, Marketing, Adverting and Teaching - anything that needs creative use of language or a knowledge of the subject, I suppose.

    Trouble is, I did a teaching placement at a school in Newbury, and although it was an interesting experience I learned that I just find teenagers tiresome. I even did when I was one!
  • ssuellid 31 Aug 2006 16:21:31 19,141 posts
    Seen 11 hours ago
    Registered 12 years ago
    Anything you want to do as a career tho?
  • MisterFalseName 31 Aug 2006 16:25:37 985 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    I don't know. All the jobs that I've found this morning either have the caveat that previous experience is required or look as dull as ditchwater.

    I shall probably apply for something shift based locally while I'm looking if it doesn't pick up. Maybe I'll end up applying to some of next year's graduate training schemes; but then management looks terribly unappealing...

    The idea of research and then onto academia did appeal, but as I say the whole PhD application didn't work out in the end. I'd be willing to try again, but as paid PhDs in English are so rare they are more than a little competitive. There's no guarantee that the MA would come to anything more than a couple more letters after my name.
  • Khanivor 31 Aug 2006 16:25:38 39,884 posts
    Seen 5 hours ago
    Registered 12 years ago
    An MA is just another year of avoiding the dole. Got one in Eng Lit and it's done me bugger all help. Unless you wanna do the academic thing get a job. Or do what I did and piss bout for another year then sign on :)

    They are also good for winding up idiots on forums :p
  • MisterFalseName 31 Aug 2006 16:28:10 985 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Khanivor wrote:
    An MA is just another year of avoiding the dole. Got one in Eng Lit and it's done me bugger all help.

    But did you want to go into academia? How is it on the other side? Rather competitive?

    I imagine the qualification would be prefereable for HE teaching, which appeals more than school teaching...
  • Blerk Moderator 31 Aug 2006 16:28:28 48,224 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 12 years ago
    You could always sign up for a year's worth of teacher training while you look for a job, then drop out if you get something. If you don't find something I suspect teacher training would serve you better than an MA.
  • kalel 31 Aug 2006 16:29:02 83,875 posts
    Seen 1 hour ago
    Registered 11 years ago
    I have an MA in creative writing and it was instrumental in getting me a job interview. It was what seperated me from every other shmo with an english Lit. degree.
  • MisterFalseName 31 Aug 2006 16:31:45 985 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Blerk wrote:
    You could always sign up for a year's worth of teacher training while you look for a job, then drop out if you get something. If you don't find something I suspect teacher training would serve you better than an MA.

    As I say, I'd rather avoid (school) teaching, if it can be avoided. Though it's still preferable to being in a big anonymous company...

    Both my parents were in teaching - never seen people so stressed, especailly now my father's a head teacher...

    kalel wrote:
    I have an MA in creative writing and it was instrumental in getting me a job interview. It was what seperated me from every other shmo with an english Lit. degree.

    Was the job something desirable that you wanted to do, or just an interview for a job as means to an end?
  • harrisimo 31 Aug 2006 16:31:52 383 posts
    Seen 5 days ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    MisterFalseName wrote:
    Here in (partially) lies the problem.

    I think it's all the generic style jobs that ask for a 2:1 or above in any subject. I suppose, more specifically, it would lead into PR, Marketing, Adverting and Teaching - anything that needs creative use of language or a knowledge of the subject, I suppose.

    Trouble is, I did a teaching placement at a school in Newbury, and although it was an interesting experience I learned that I just find teenagers tiresome. I even did when I was one!
    My advice is, having got the same degree as you and gone through a similar "what now?" debate, is to steer clear of teaching. Kids are tiresome, well, most of them, the rest are insane, stupid or violent, and the job sucks. It's tempting when you graduate with a degree in English Literature to think about teaching as a default option, but just avoid it.

    Temping for a year may actually be more fun than you imagine. You get to meet lots of new people, learn a few skills here and there, sample a few different industries, find new bus routes etc. etc. I applied for lots of graduate trainee jobs after uni (and after a disastrous PGCE year) but didn't get a single one, so ended up temping for five years. Not through choice, but there was just bugger all around. Eventually, what I'd learnt thru temping - as well as the fact that all offices and office jobs are essentially the same and you can bluff your way in all of them by walking purposefully about with a piece of paper in your hand - got me a job in IT. The only real difference between my temp jobs and now is a lot more money, and that I get to say things at meetings, rather than just arrange which rooms they are in.

    Either that or write a Nobel prize winning, best selling novel.
  • Blerk Moderator 31 Aug 2006 16:34:23 48,224 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 12 years ago
    harrisimo wrote:
    Either that or write a Nobel prize winning, best selling novel.
    While temping, obviously. :-)

    I like that idea!
  • gang_of_bitches 31 Aug 2006 16:35:20 4,932 posts
    Seen 12 minutes ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Speaking to various friends who have done MAs the only thing they seem to equip you with is even more debt in one year than you can built up in 3 years of a BA.
    Unless you're seriously considering a career in academia I would think long and hard about the merits of the Masters- PhD course. On the plus side you'll be able to call yourself doctor and annoy real doctors.
  • Kay 31 Aug 2006 16:35:20 17,402 posts
    Seen 10 hours ago
    Registered 10 years ago
    I'm actually thinking of doing an MA as well (Creative Writing). I'm already working full-time in a university so I can do it for free, so I thought I might as well do one. I'm planning on starting in January.

    K
  • Sid-Nice 31 Aug 2006 16:35:47 15,810 posts
    Seen 24 minutes ago
    Registered 11 years ago
    Shouldn't the title read "Is a MA worth having?" I might be wrong as I'm just a thick fucking Geordie. :)

    NNID Sid-Nice

  • gang_of_bitches 31 Aug 2006 16:38:39 4,932 posts
    Seen 12 minutes ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Sid Nice wrote:
    Shouldn't the title read "Is a MA worth having?" I might be wrong as I'm just a thick fucking Geordie. :)

    Afraid you are. as "M" is spelt "emm" it starts with a vowel and hence requires an an.
  • smoothpete 31 Aug 2006 16:38:59 31,017 posts
    Seen 2 hours ago
    Registered 10 years ago
    Sid Nice wrote:
    Shouldn't the title read "Is a MA worth having?" I might be wrong as I'm just a thick fucking Geordie. :)
    No I think he's right to put "an" because of the sylable of M being pronounced "Em"
  • kalel 31 Aug 2006 16:44:10 83,875 posts
    Seen 1 hour ago
    Registered 11 years ago
    MisterFalseName wrote:
    kalel wrote:
    I have an MA in creative writing and it was instrumental in getting me a job interview. It was what seperated me from every other shmo with an english Lit. degree.

    Was the job something desirable that you wanted to do, or just an interview for a job as means to an end?

    Nah dream job, something specifically related to what my MA was in, hence why it helped. Admittedly that wasn't the gameplan at the time I did it, but it all came together in the end.
  • kalel 31 Aug 2006 16:44:33 83,875 posts
    Seen 1 hour ago
    Registered 11 years ago
    smoothpete wrote:
    Sid Nice wrote:
    Shouldn't the title read "Is a MA worth having?" I might be wrong as I'm just a thick fucking Geordie. :)
    No I think he's right to put "an" because of the sylable of M being pronounced "Em"

    Yup, an MA is correct.
  • The_Aardvark 31 Aug 2006 16:47:42 3,063 posts
    Seen 2 years ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    It's worth doing an MA, I reckon, but not straight out of uni. When you know exactly what kind of career you want and what type of course will help you get there, then it's worth thinking about. IMHO "generalist" masters are worth precisely zero more than generalist bachelors
  • MisterFalseName 31 Aug 2006 16:48:25 985 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Okay, so let's say then that I took an MA in Journalism, in an effort to get closer to the nicey-nice job of writing creatively for a living.

    Would a PhD in English Literature be happy to accept this as academically credible, or would they insist on me sticking to my own subject? Just trying to work out the best way of keeping all my options open for as long as possible...

    Assuming nothing amazing comes along in the interim, obviously...
  • Sid-Nice 31 Aug 2006 16:48:50 15,810 posts
    Seen 24 minutes ago
    Registered 11 years ago
    Sorry wrong MA :)

    NNID Sid-Nice

  • MisterFalseName 31 Aug 2006 16:49:50 985 posts
    Seen 16 hours ago
    Registered 9 years ago
    Something tells me that being a member of that MA would make me less employable, Sid. ;)
  • Page

    of 2 First / Last

    Previous
Log in or register to reply