12 Nov Going to the Science Master’s Event tonight? Don’t go unprepared!
Are you in your second or last year of your Bachelor’s? Then it’s time to start thinking about what comes next. The best way to do this is to visit the Science Master’s Event at the Faculty tonight (18:00-21:00)! Choosing a master is kind of a big decision. During your Master’s, you will specialise in a specific field, that will usually provide access to a particular career path. Maybe you have known which Master’s you want to do for ages. But you will soon discover that there are more possibilities than you might think. So try to broaden your view, explore your options and ask yourself what you really want. Read on to find out how you can prepare best for the Science Master’s Event to make a well informed decision.
Of course, you can use the Faculty’s information evening to hear a little about the different Master’s programmes while relaxing in your college seat. However, you will get more out of it when you prepare yourself. Explore the programmes of the Faculty of Science online, make a top 2 or 3 of the programmes based on your reading and register for the information rounds. It may feel as a waste of time to hear stuff that you already read online, but this way you will be able to do something with the information you hear and to focus on the things that aren’t on the website. Make notes during the information talks and write something down about the impression you got about each programme afterwards.
The information market
Feeling awkward walking around the stalls on the information market? Get over it! It’s the best way to get detailed information about the different programmes and that’s exactly what you need.
Here are some example questions you can ask Master’s students:
- Why did you chose this specific Master’s programme/track?
- How does this programme complement your Bachelor’s programme?
- What kind of internships or research projects did you get to do?
- What do you want to do after your graduation?
- I am hesitating between these two programmes, what do you think is the main difference between them? (you can ask this to students of the two programmes you hesitate between to get insight in what distinguishes them from each other)
I found that such questions lead to more detailed information you haven’t heard during the information rounds. So, go for it. Also visit the stands of the Master’s programmes you didn’t really like when you were checking their website. It’s a great way to find out whether you can remove them from your list for sure.
How to get the real insiders info
Most of the Master’s programmes or tracks at the Faculty of Science are designed and organized by members of one or several research groups related to the field. The best way to find out whether a Master is right for you, is to do your Bachelor’s project in the research group which is related to the Master’s programme of your choice. This way, you will be able to experience whether the specific field (and the group of people attached to it) is right for you.
You can also email the programme’s coordinator; you will find contact details under ‘programme contacts’ on the webpage of each Master. It is probably possible to get in touch with one of the Master’s students from the track, to meet and participate in the Master’s programme for a day to experience it and ask all your questions. For me, this was where I based my final decision on. It turned out to be a great one!
Don’t worry, it’s only the rest of your life!
Choosing a Master’s may feel like shutting down all the other options you have. However, you can always change the course of your career or start a new one. Also quite reassuring: in most of the Master’s programmes at the Faculty it is possible to include a professional major or minor track in the second year. So, if you find out that die hard research isn’t for you during the first year, you can still switch to Science Communication, Policy or Teaching in the next. Those majors are collaborations between the UvA and the Athena Institute at the VU. If you like one of those options better in the first place, you can also decide to do a full programme at the Master MPA.
As I said, you have many exciting options. So come and visit the information evening tonight (November 12)! If you didn’t enrol in time, just go to the Faculty around 17:30 and register ‘at the door’ (which is actually in the main hall, you don’t have to stand outside). Still in doubt afterwards? Maybe the Master choice step plan or a career workshop can help you.
I wish you good luck with your choice. Enjoy the Science Master’s Event and let me know how it was in the comments.