Pursuing an MSc at Surrey.

Ciao a tutti! 🙂

I hope you guys are all well. By this time last year, I had already paid the initial fee at Surrey, thus confirming my choice to study at this University. So, I thought that some of you might be in the same position and want to know a little more about what it means to pursue an MSc in the UK.

So, first of all, I wanted to remind you guys that, in most cases, you can choose to attend either a full- or a part-time MSc. A full-time usually means it lasts 12 months, while a part-time option spans over two years, thus enabling you to work in the meantime. Furthermore, fees for a part-time MSc are usually half those of a full-time one.

Pursuing a full-time MSc has its pros and cons. The main advantage is the usually shorter period required to graduate. In most cases, like in Italy, postgraduate courses last two years (the so-called Lauree Magistrali). The flip side is that this year is going to be quite demanding. In my case, I had 4 modules in the first semester and 4 in the second, while during the summer, we are expected to work on the final dissertation (which equals our Tesi di Laurea).

Classes usually start in October and end at the beginning of December (schedules are different for every course, though). The second semester begins in February and lasts until June. Throughout these months, you are likely to have to work on assignments or group projects. Furthermore, January and May are usually for exams.

This might sound like a lot, but don’t worry! You’ll usually have two weeks off between the first and second semester, where you’ll have time to release pressure and rest before starting again in February. In the second semester, you’ll enjoy a spring break, which is relatively long compared to other countries. This year, for instance, it’s going to be three weeks!! However, it might be that you’ll have submission due over this period. But at least there will be no classes to attend 🙂

A beautiful day in Surrey means a walk to the campus lake!

Let’s spend a few words on the evaluation criteria. In the UK, at the Master’s level, your exams, group projects, and assignments will be marked with a 0-100 percentage. To pass, you usually need to reach at least 50%. Then, you have three ranges: 50-60% usually equals the “pass” range, 60-70% is “merit,” while 70-100% is a “distinction.” This is the general rule. However, module leaders can slightly change these ranges according to the module requirements.

What might interest you the most is that pursuing a Master’s at Surrey is not like chasing a degree in any other UK university. Indeed, in September 2021, Surrey was nominated University of the Year for Graduate Employment by the Sunday Times’ “Good University Guide.” Therefore, even if coping with deadlines and exams might sometimes be challenging, you know you are working hard for a bright future. And that will motivate you to carry on and do your best!

Surrey is one big family where no one is left behind. There are several services available to all of us to cope with those difficulties we might come across while studying. Check out the “Academic Skills and Development” service at this link: https://study.surrey.ac.uk/study-support/academic-skills-and-development. They provide support with everything related to the way of studying in the UK. For instance, when I arrived in September, I felt pretty lost because of the different teaching and assessment methods used in the UK compared to those I was used to in Italy. The Academic skills service was beneficial to help me get a clear picture of what my module leaders were expecting from me.

Sometimes, the workload can lead to stress and anxiety. But don’t worry! This is part of the process, and learning how to overcome it is a very useful and enriching experience. Also, you are not alone! The university offers a free-of-charge Well-being service (https://wellbeing.surrey.ac.uk/centre-for-wellbeing), which provides every student with the chance to talk to professionals who can help you find a work-life balance and do your best. Last but not least, being Surrey one big family, there are students ready to listen to you and give you advice on how to best cope with university life. Check out the Perr Support service and the great job they do! https://wellbeing.surrey.ac.uk/support-services/peer-support.

Last but not least, Surrey is here to prepare the best minds for the job world. Therefore, we have an excellent employability team that constantly provides the best opportunities to Surrey graduates willing to find a job. Amongst the services offered, you can book one-to-one appointments to have your CV, Cover Letter, or Linkedin profile checked before submitting a job application. Here you can find all the information you need about this excellent service: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/employability-and-careers.

I hope this blog was helpful, guys. If you have more questions about studying at Surrey, don’t hesitate to contact the international support team at internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk. They’ll be more than happy to assist you with whatever questions you might have.

Cheers 🙂

A presto!