Most universities run postgraduate open days, some in the Autumn, but many in the Spring. Some universities will also run them around June or July. Many are run for the whole university, but some are specific subject open days run by departments or faculties.
If you can visit the universities you are considering studying your masters at, we would always recommend it, but it may not always be practical in terms of time and money.
Below are suggestions and information to help you get the most from the open days you attend, and what options are open to you if you’re unable to attend.
Research the course
It’s a good idea to conduct research on the course you’re interested in before you go and do some research so that when you attend, you have a list of questions to ask already. This will also impress the University staff and show that you are a serious student.
Do I need to book a place?
You will often need to book your place in advance to attend the open day, which helps the University know how many people are coming. You may also be sent useful information in advance to help you prepare for your visit.
Who will be there?
Checking who will be present at the open day is always advisable, especially if you want to see a particular course convener. If they won’t be present at the event, you may be able to arrange to meet them at a different time that day, or on another occasion.
Most universities will publish the open day programme either when they start advertising the open day date, or shortly after. It may be a mix of a courses fair, subject related talks and one to one opportunities. It’s useful to check this in advance, and also to find out whether current students from the courses you are interested in will be there.
Postgraduate open days usually include opportunities to ask about funding either with advice desks, or a specific funding talk. If you want to talk to somebody about your own circumstances, check that there will be somebody present on the day who can help you with this.
Increasingly, students want to know what masters courses will lead on to: often the careers service at the university will be present at the open day so you can find out how they help masters students and what services they offer to help you look for jobs at the end of your course.
What should I do if I can’t attend an Open Day?
If you’re not able to attend a particular postgraduate open day, there are plenty of alternatives. From online chats and virtual open days, or you can arrange a different time to suit you to visit the University or Department. If you decide to do that, setting up appointments in advance will ensure that you get to speak to the people you need to. You can also ask to meet some current students from the courses you are interested in.