Five reasons to defer your master’s

Freddie Parker on 4 March 2022
Student carrying textbooks and a backpack

Studying postgrad straight after your undergraduate degree can be stressful. Here’s why you might want to hang on for a year before starting.

Obtaining a master’s degree is great for your employability. It also allows you to specialise further in your field. But immediately adding another year to your higher education can be exhausting, as well as expensive. Here are some reasons why you might want to take a break:

Gap year

If you didn’t get a chance to travel at uni, you could make time to do it before your master’s. A gap year is a great way to experience the world and immerse yourself in other cultures. In this time, you could learn a new language or cuisine.

There are also schemes where you can spend a year teaching English abroad. This would give you invaluable experience, without being too much of a financial drain. If you’re stuck for inspiration, check out our recommendations for European cities to visit.


You could also find a graduate job or internship to gain industry experience before continuing your studies. A fixed-term contract for a year or two would be a great idea, as you wouldn’t have to deal with the overlap of work and study.

If you’re employed before you start your master’s, you can try renegotiating a part-time contact for when you start. Industry experience will really boost your employability. It will also help your studies by showing you practical applications of your field.

You’ll save money

The postgraduate student loan works differently to the undergrad one. It is a fixed amount that isn’t means-tested. Depending on the cost of your master’s, there will be different sums left over. Many people work while studying for a master’s.

Taking a year or two to build up some savings is one way you can ease some of the stress of preparing for postgraduate studies. It may also mean that you don’t have to spend as much time working during the course.


Finishing a degree is intense. When you’re feeling exhausted after completing your finals, the last thing you might need is something even more difficult. Take some time to relax. Unwind after the huge achievement that is getting a degree.

Beginning a new hobby, pampering yourself, or starting a mindfulness journey are great things to do during a year of self-care. It’s a good idea to get to know yourself and what you find relaxing before diving into the next academic step.

Not ready to leave

Sometimes we fall in love with the city we studied in and don’t feel ready to leave just yet. Equally, some of us might want to go home to spend some time with the family. Both of these are perfectly fine reasons to hold off on your studies temporarily.

Spend some time enjoying the city. Once you’re feeling ready for a change of scenery, get those applications in. If you’re planning to study for your master’s at the same uni or in the same city, you don’t have to worry about this. But it still may be worth thinking about taking some time for yourself.

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Freddie Parker
Freddie Parker on 4 March 2022