How to Succeed in Postgraduate Study

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Whether it’s a shift in career direction or building on existing skills and knowledge, postgraduate study can get you where you want to go. We caught up with UNSW postgraduate students to get their tips on how to get the most out of your experience.  

Establish your goals & find the program that will help you meet them 

 “Postgraduate study has helped me verify the kind of work I want to be doing,” explains Rebecca, who chose to study a Master of Public Relations and Advertising after working as a Campaign and Project Manager.  

Meanwhile, Olivia, who studies a Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership with UNSW Art & Design, wanted to ensure her knowledge remained industry-relevant.  

“I have been working in the arts industry for over 10 years. My current job allows me to engage with contemporary art, ideas and theories, but I was feeling as though my knowledge in these areas would be enhanced with further study.” 

Have conversations that build your network & expand your thinking 

As a UNSW postgraduate student, you’ll be part of a diverse and passionate community of students and academics.  

“I found a big difference in the level of engagement in comparison to my undergrad degree,” explains Rebecca. “Students in my cohort came from different and diverse backgrounds, which I found added more intriguing angles and perspectives to course topics and classroom participation.”  

“Try and take the opportunities to engage in class discussions and ask your tutor any questions that you may have as the chances are someone else if possibly thinking the same thing.” 

You’ll also have several opportunities to undertake Work Integrated Learning and career development programs. These services and programs are a great way to expand your networks and gain new experiences.  

Take advantage of flexible learning opportunities 

We all have busy schedules, but there are plenty of ways you can shape your study to fit your life and priorities. Flexible learning options are built into many of UNSW’s postgraduate programs, including evening classes, online components and intensive courses.  

“Having classes available after 5pm is the only reason I am able to do my Master’s,” says Olivia. “I’m very grateful for these options. Without this, I wouldn’t be able to study while working.” 

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Plan ahead & do the groundwork early 

“Familiarise yourself with the course outline and assessment schedule right at the beginning of the term, I am talking the first week,” says Rebecca.  

Olivia found connecting with her tutors each week was essential for her success. “Whether it be after class or via email, checking in early helps me ensure that I am on track well before submission date.” 

“Read the required readings before the associated classes and turn up to lectures. This is time-consuming at the moment but ends up saving time when it comes to the assessments,” she says.