Taught v research: which master's will you choose?

As a graduate, choosing the type of program you want to study abroad is going to be key. Do you want to continue with a taught course, or is time to go into research?

A master's degree gives you the opportunity to further your knowledge of a particular subject or make a career break and move in a different direction. Here are the pros and cons of taught and research degrees.

Taught master's

Almost any subject can be taken as a taught master's program. The course will generally follow a similar format to that of your undergraduate degree, with lectures, seminars and tutorials, followed by a dissertation or major project at the end.


  1. Wide variety of subjects
  2. Chance to change careers
  3. More contact time with tutors/peers


  1. Is a further degree in your subject really necessary?
  2. Financial cost
  3. Will your course include work placements?

Research master's

Research degrees are generally seen as a way of getting into academia. This is where you get to take a subject and examine it in greater depth in a way you want to. You could take an MRes or MSc by research which will equip you with the skills to go onto a PhD.


  1. Focus on one topic that interests you
  2. Gain an insight into what PhD study is like
  3. Useful for research-based careers


  1. Can be a lonely experience
  2. Can you sustain your interest in one topic?
  3. Getting a less rounded skill set