Last year I made the smart (or dumb, you decide) decision to do two masters. Both masters are in the field of education, which is the field I’ve wanted to work in since I was a child (although the profession changed through the years). Like me, more and more students are doing two masters simultaneously, because doing the second master can be a lot more costly if you start it after finishing the first. My choice to follow two masters was driven by the fact that I didn’t feel ready for the work field at the start of my master’s. I had also realized that I really wanted to go into the field of children and education, so I thought that doing a master’s in that field would be smart. In my journey, I’ve made good and bad decisions. Here are my tips in case you’re considering doing two masters at the same time.
Orient yourself. It’s important for you to orient yourself. What courses will you be following? What is the content of the courses you’ll be following? Can you and should you start both masters at the same time or start one after the other? Can you follow one of the masters part-time? It’s also important for you to ask yourself why you want to do two masters. Is doing two masters the only way to get where you want to or can you just follow some of the courses as elective courses?
Plan/work ahead. Doing two masters will require you to start planning and working ahead. You won’t get away with procrastinating as easily as you once did. I’m lucky enough that both my masters don't use exams, because if that were the case, doing two masters might've been a lot more difficult. Only having to write papers makes it easier to plan for deadlines. When I knew that I had too many deadlines in close proximity to each other, I would ask for an extension in anticipation. Most professors were understanding and cool with extending the deadline when I explained the situation. I think they were cool with giving me extra time because I came to them early on. This showed that I was proactive about my planning and not procrastinating. It’s also important to check for scheduling conflicts as the one master will not change the day of classes just for you. So sometimes you will not be able to follow a course because the time for the workgroups and/or lectures will overlap.
Ask for exemptions when possible. Asking for exemptions if you've already done a class similar in content to one that you have to do, could really lower your workload, so make use of this. You should also check whether it's possible to combine your internships and/or your theses. In my case, my university only gave me the option to find an internship that could cover the requirements of both masters. Even though I did not manage to do this for myself, it might be a possibility for you. When it comes to my thesis, they did not allow me to ask for an exemption, but this might differ per university and/or studies.
Use your knowledge. Make use of knowledge garnered from one master to use with the other. This will, of course, depend on how similar the two masters are to each other. In my case, both masters are in the area of education, so at times I could use parts or ideas of one paper for another paper. Because I did this, I didn’t always have to start from scratch when writing a paper.
Don’t overwork yourself. Try not to follow too many courses at the same time. I tried to keep the maximum number of courses to three or four courses per block. By doing this I could keep an overview of all the courses and keep up with the workload. Remember that the more courses you follow at the same time, the more deadlines, hours studying and hours at school. Following too many courses could work counterproductively. You might end up underperforming because you’re too focused on meeting deadlines rather than on the quality of the product you're turning in.
In short, doing two masters simultaneously can be difficult and a lot of work, but by orienting yourself beforehand, planning, and working efficiently you could graduate from both masters.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blogpost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme Magazine.