Masters degree question.
July 7, 2012 4:15 PM   Subscribe

How much does a masters course in London usually end up costing?

I'm currently applying for a master's course (this one; for the link-averse, it's a one-year conversion I.T. course for non-I.T. graduates, teaches programming and a bunch of other stuff). It's four days per week attendance plus homework etc. It's £6875 for the course, and I have £11k in savings. I don't live in London, so I'd have to get accommodation too. I'm not sure I can get a loan (think I've left it too late; heck, applying for the course at this stage is probably timewasting) and I'd rather not have to get one in any case. But burning all my savings isn't a prospect that fills me with vim either.

Theoretically speaking, I'd get a part-time job and work whenever I wasn't studying, but I have this sneaking suspicion it's hard to live on part-time wages in the middle of the UK's capital. I've also no idea how much work one has to put into a master's course, so I don't know how much time I'd have to work in the first place.

So how do-able is this? Should I push ahead and apply, or will I just be setting myself up for uber-debt and major savings-wastage?
posted by Fen to Education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't say as to the course, but I can say that many people have successfully taught themselves to program, at home, for free. At the very least, I think you should install a programming language and a decent development environment, and work through a tutorial or two to see if you can learn on your own.
posted by katrielalex at 4:25 PM on July 7, 2012

You probably haven't left it too late to get a loan (at least, I hope not: one of the students signed up for the MA course I run is applying for one this week) and Birkbeck's evening teaching would make it easier to fit it around other work if you were doing the two-year part-time version (under 'attendance' on the left there). It is also a good time to do a Master's degree in the UK, since as of September the average year of Master's-level teaching will cost much less than a year of undergrad education. I expect universities to notice this and adjust their Master's fees upwards sooner rather than later.

But £11,000 in savings could go a lot further in other British cities or towns, including places that would be fun to live in. Unless you hear that Birkbeck's course is especially excellent, I'd think about it pretty carefully. Either way, you should contact them (or go to one of their events about funding your course) and ask for help, too: as a place that has traditionally provided education to working adults rather than 18–21-year-olds, even at undergrad level, Birkbeck should be particularly good at giving advice on this sort of question. They have a bunch of posters about this up in the Underground right now, I noticed today.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 6:29 PM on July 7, 2012

This may not be a particularly helpful comment but London is incredibly expensive. Perhaps one of top five most expensive cities to live in. It's like getting a Masters in NYC. It's the housing/living costs that are going to be the issue. Maybe living in someone's house as a helper would make it doable. Otherwise, I think you need to really think carefully about this. (as you obviously are doing).
posted by bquarters at 6:54 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you apply for this course and get in, £11k (minus fees) is nowhere near enough to live in London for a year. Oh course, there are jobs around, and you can live outside London (as I do), but costs will be enormous.

If you are determined to do this course, look for somewhere that has a good track record of supporting developers. You might find the Newcastle area receptive - the Supermondays conferences and other events organised by the local IT people are pretty good. As always, YMMV.
posted by The River Ivel at 9:37 AM on July 8, 2012

Response by poster: Cheers for the answers all. Been doing some more searching - looks like Kent's got a similar course - and about £1.5k cheaper as well. Think I'll be looking into this one as well.
posted by Fen at 3:35 PM on July 8, 2012

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