A hint of disapproval surrounds this idea of enrolling in a second master's degree program. It might not sound that common to know students who have chosen to do a second master's degree but it is not as unusual as you may have thought! To my pleasant surprise, I came across quite a few students during my time at the University of Stuttgart who were doing their second master's. Like you, I was quite intrigued to know the reasons why they chose to do it.
This topic is often under-discussed among students because it does not seem to follow the ‘natural order of things’ (Bachelor > Master > PhD or Industry Professional) and since it requires an extra investment of time and money. I interviewed two former students of the University of Stuttgart in order to get better insights into the topic. As one of them said, “it definitely adds value to your academic background but it comes with a big question – Why?” The reasons for this question turn out to be quite a few. So, read on to find out why :)
Students with a master's degree from their home countries aspiring to do their PhD in Germany/Europe or enter the job market may find out to their disappointment that their degree is not recognised in the EU (but please note that not all international master's degrees are not recognised!). Make sure to check whether your academic credits are comparable to the ECTS - European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. Hence, some students opt to do their second master's in Germany in order to get a master's degree that is recognised in Europe. A recognised degree in the EU will then pave the way to their future academic and professional aspirations.
You already have a master's degree in a field that you may not have liked so much. Or you may have discovered a niche specialisation during your first master's studies. A second master's gives you an opportunity to mould your academic profile according to your ambition. On the one hand, it does offer a clean slate to start over where you may choose to do something you really enjoy studying. On the other hand, when you feel your first master seemed inadequate to the field you want to work in, a second master's provides an opportunity to specialise in a field related to your first master's. You may then ask, why not a PhD for a specialisation? PhDs often take longer than master's, and if you would like to focus your work in the industrial field rather than academics, then a second master's would be rather convenient because you will not only benefit from the academics but it also provides an opportunity to engage with professionals from the field.
One of the other reasons I came across was a PhD offer or an integrated master-PhD offer. Well, you do not necessarily need to do a second master's in order to carry out a PhD. But one of the alumni mentioned that a PhD offer associated with a master's program seemed like an attractive opportunity and due to this, they did not mind doing a second master's. According to the alumni, when Professors have a vacancy in their team for a PhD position but it requires you to enrol in a program specific to the field in order to do an integrated PhD, then it is worth giving it a shot.
Joy of Studying
Yes, some students who did not want their student life to be over, decided to do a second master's just for the joy of studying! I know, it sounds very unusual but yes, such students exist :D If they find their first master's short, for instance, one and a half years or in some cases if it is just a one-year program and vice versa, if a second master’s is of a short duration instead of the traditional two full years, then such students decide to do another master's to gain more skills and academic experience relevant to their field. Having a student status often comes with some perks!
Mental and Financial Support
As I said earlier, it goes without saying that you are investing more time, energy, and money into doing a second master's. The interviewees said that their families were supportive of their decision of undertaking a second master and this helped a great deal to continue their studies. Being non-judgemental of yourself and being aware of your decision gives you the confidence to persevere. Regarding financial support, you may apply for scholarships and it is an added advantage when you have a student assistant job to cover some of your expenses. It not only provides monetary value but you also gain professional experience while studying and this is definitely beneficial.
A confident and sound justification of why you choose to do a second master's is needed especially when facing an admission committee or a job interview panel. The reasons may be varied but you must be convincing and confident in your answer.
Though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea if you think a second master is a way forward, then do not be discouraged by the nay-sayers. A second master presents a non-linear curve to learning, makes you academically sound, gives you exposure to the field and helps you shape your academic profile.
- Yatharth Sharma
December 5, 2022 2:40:34 AM
I am from India and I have completed my first master's in Transportation Engineering and doing my second master's at the University of Stuttgart. Found this article really interesting as it covers all the possible aspects leaving no aspects behind. and I think the case of Specialisation will perfectly suit my case.
Thanks for the research.
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