From bachelor’s to master’s without unwanted surprises – an interview with Bram
As Open Days are coming up, probably many of you are about to search for bachelor’s or master’s programmes to apply for. Most likely, you’re now going through the thinking process of how to prepare for university studies and what to expect. Luckily, I now introduce you to this blog post in which I talk with my dear friend Bram. He did his bachelor’s in Biotechnology at WUR, and this year he has started his master’ s in the same programme. Together, we’ll try revealing the “what’s” and “how’s” about transition from first degree to second. Let’s get started, then!
First: basics – how long and what’s included?
Bachelor’s studies at WUR last for 3 years, during which you follow courses and, at the end, perform a bachelor’s thesis. Master’s studies last 2 years and consist of 1 year of courses, 6 months of master’s thesis and about 4-6 months of internship.
Are there other differences between these degrees?
For that question Bram answered: “Of course, but if you did for bachelor’s the same study programme as you chose for master’s, it’s much easier. Especially if you did it all at WUR. Then, you know about the expectations, way of teaching and learning here, and you simply are familiar with the topic. On the other hand, you will have to study more and put more effort in your master’s. There is more group work, reports to write and mandatory classes than during the bachelor’s studies. You also meet lots of other students who are slightly more motivated and enthusiastic about studied subjects. For example, you come for a lecture, and you need to search for a free spot as there are so many people attending. Concluding, there is more expected from you as a student, but the environment helps to keep up with the pace.”
Could you talk more about the education transition?
“Whereas at bachelor’s they teach you lots of fundamentals, during master’s you will learn more of the applied knowledge. Teachers might be more specialised in a certain field of study, but that’s what makes it nicer. They are most likely more interested in what they talk about. So, you can freely approach them to ask questions and discuss things. The good thing is that, as a master’s student, they don’t immediately consider you as a child in a playground. :P”
“Since I did my bachelor’s here it wasn’t too difficult. In the end, it was just a bit of paperwork and sending proper documents. Though, in the period of finishing thesis, waiting for last exam results and applying for master’s there was a bit of stress and confusion.”
Happy it worked then! Have you felt any changes between your bachelor’s and master’s student lifestyle?
“That’s a good question and, well, to be honest, yes. I feel like bachelor’s life is checking at 2 AM if the practical at 8 AM was mandatory; master’s life is taking ibuprofen for the back pain instead of the headache (ha-ha). But being serious, yes, there was a change in my lifestyle. I started going to sleep at regular hours and walking up on time. I study equally over the whole period; so, I’m trying not to leave the whole preparation for the self-study week. And, at the end, it works better this way. It feels like I get more from master’s than from bachelor’s.”
Lastly, do you have any tips for future master’s student at WUR?
“I think the best thing you can do is simply attend everything you can. Come for lectures, practicals and tutorials, take notes and try understanding the topic. It’s a rather risky game to skip a class or two as, honestly, later on it might be difficult to follow. Another good thing is to be active during group work. You will meet other students with whom you might do brainstorming or study sessions together and help each other. The last important aspect that comes to my mind is enrolling for courses on time. As for some classes there is a maximum of participants it’s good to remember to enrol within the deadline. Otherwise, you might need to choose a course you won’t like that much.”
Ps. Feel very welcome to check our previous blog post about key elements to successful study! This can be quite helpful while planning future study flow during masters 🙂
Thanks to Bram we collected quite a lot of information. Now, I hope the topic of master’s studies in practice is more familiar to you all! Let us now in comments if you have any questions!