Postgrad Queries: I want to be more employable, will a Masters do the trick?

Trading places

I am currently working as a trade union organiser/campaigner. I have a degree in journalism and am considering doing either the Masters in political campaigning at City University or in political communications at Goldsmiths. I want to become more employable in the communications/campaigning departments of trade unions.

The received wisdom about Masters programmes is that, whatever the other reasons for enrolling, your key motivation should be sheer love of the subject. No course can ever guarantee you a plum job, though it may be a factor in whether you are invited to interview. Your first degree and your current role are all relevant, but the broader your experience the better. Any additional hands-on experience you can show will strengthen your appeal. So, whether you take a Masters or not, try to find voluntary or paid work in another part of the sector. The forthcoming election would be a perfect chance to become involved with a political party, a candidate or lobbying group. And, even after the election, a Masters may help to give you access to guest speakers and alumni who are established in the political arena.

In addition, you could use a Masters dissertation to further your understanding of the position you are seeking, and try to market this new-found expertise and insight when applying for work.

Sporting chance

Having played a lot of sport at university, I’ve become increasingly interested in the science behind exercise, keeping fit and dealing with injuries. I see there are numerous postgraduate courses in sports and exercise science, and some in physiotherapy. What’s the difference? And where might such courses lead me?

There are a huge number of postgraduate courses on some aspect of sport and exercise, which covers the biology, chemistry and physics that influences physical activity. It includes physiology, performance enhancing techniques, biomechanics and nutrition. A Masters in this area is likely to lead to work in education, academia or research, although, with supplementary qualifications you might be able to move into coaching or training. Physiotherapy is a very different prospect. It involves learning how to use exercise and physical activities to alleviate the full range of injuries and illnesses suffered by patients. Some experienced physiotherapists go on to specialise in sports injuries but this is not the purpose of the initial training. Most physiotherapists enter the profession after a first degree, which includes substantial clinical placements, but there is also a Masters course route. See the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (csp.org.uk) for details.

There are also postgraduate courses in sports therapy and sports rehabilitation, although these do not qualify you as a physiotherapist. If you choose this route, check that the courses are approved by the British Association of Sport Rehabilitators and Trainers (basrat.org) or by |the Society of Sports Therapists |(society-of-sports-therapists.org).

Outside favourite

I’m interested in how new buildings are planned and would like to be involved in planning outdoor spaces around new buildings rather than the buildings themselves. Is this a separate branch of the planning profession and are there any postgraduate courses related to this career route?

Your starting point is the discipline of planning, which covers the big picture of all new developments, including structures, open spaces, transport links and the effect on the local community. However, in a large local authority or national park, and in some private consultancies, you could find specialist teams working on the outdoor space factors alone. To become a planner, you need a relevant first degree plus a Masters and two years’ experience to gain chartered status. The Royal Town Planning Institute (rtpi.org.uk) has details of accredited courses and there are a number of postgraduate courses in spatial planning.

However, given your particular interest, perhaps you should consider the role of landscape architect, where you would design the layout of the site, based on requirements of access and drainage routes, sound reduction, and impact of the building on the surrounding area? Considerations of environmental, historical or heritage issues could all be required and you would work with architects, planners, surveyors and engineers. You would need to have a related degree, or first degree plus a Masters, to gain full status. Good drawing and design skills are required. Further information is available from the professional institution – The Landscape Institute (landscapeinstitute.org).

Thanks to Liz Hagger and Gill Sharp, careers consultants for Domino Careers ( dominocareers.co.uk)

Send your queries to Steve McCormack at steve.mcc@virginmedia.com

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Trainee Sales Executive

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Trainee Sales Executive is re...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer - Peterborough - £18,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Cambridgeshire - £23,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Front-End Develo...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003