School of Social and Political Science

Tips for the Year Ahead


Have you joined us straight from your undergraduate degree, or are you returning to education having already gained some work experience?  People decide to undertake postgraduate-level study for many reasons, but it helps to know at the beginning what you want from the year.

Moving from undergraduate to postgraduate

If you are moving straight from undergraduate to postgraduate study, your CV may benefit from gaining additional and relevant work experience.

The Placement-Based Dissertation route enables you to partner with external organisations to complete an extended piece of academic research. As well as building sector-specific knowledge, you'll also be developing a network of professional contacts and a range of transferable soft skills (such as cross-cultural communication, project management and team working).

Returning to education

If you are returning to education from work (or alongside work), you may already have significant practical experience and want to focus more on the academic components of your degree.

You may also be returning to education with the intention of changing sectors, or retraining in line with new professional regulations.

Top tips - Returning to education from the world of work



The MSc year will pass quickly but planning early will help you to manage your schedule.

The SDO offers 1-1 skills coaching to help you identify your goals and markers of success.

Our 4 stage planning process can also help you to structure your time and our colleagues in the Careers Service have developed a helpful guide.

Career development toolkit


Everybody in your classes is going somewhere after graduation and you never know when your paths will cross again.

Your peers today may be on your interview panel in five years time. Take advantage of this opportunity to meet other people from your sector and to build those lasting connections.

New experiences

The MSc programme is busy but seeking out new experiences and opportunities will ensure that you take all you can from the year ahead.

The University has over 290 clubs and societies to choose from or, if you prefer, you can set up a new initiative with support from the SDO.

This a year to try new things and meet new people.

Time away from your work

Try and make time for breaks. It's important to take care of yourself and enjoy the other side of your studies too.  Edinburgh is a beautiful city with so many interesting places to visit.  

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