What is an integrated master’s degree?
In essence, an integrated master’s is an extension of the undergraduate course you are already on.
For example, I am studying Biomedical Sciences and I’m now doing my integrated master’s year, turning my three-year course into a four-year course.
In other words, an integrated master’s is still considered part of your undergraduate degree.
In contrast, a master’s degree is completely separate from a three-year undergraduate degree.
As a result, anyone undertaking a master’s degree will end up with two degrees, whilst an individual doing an integrated master’s will only end up with one.
Additionally, those who would prefer to complete a regular master’s have the option to move to a different university if they would like.
In contrast, an integrated master’s will have to completed at the same university where the rest of the undergraduate took place.
All of this can make an integrated master’s seem daunting – if the master’s year doesn’t go to plan, it can impact your whole degree.
However, there are plenty of reasons why an integrated master’s might be suited to you.
How much does a master’s degree cost?
For post-graduate degrees, universities can set their own tuition fees.
Many master’s degrees are cheaper than undergraduate degrees, ranging from about £4,000 for taught and research degrees, according to FindAMasters, but can end up being much more expensive (greater than £10,000) for laboratory-based master’s and MBAs.
It’s worth noting that master’s fees tend to be even higher for international students studying in the UK.
On the other hand, an integrated master’s is still considered to be part of an undergraduate degree, and therefore the tuition fee is the same as the first three years of the course, currently £9,250.
This distinction also changes the student finance available for each type of master’s.
When doing an integrated master’s, you are still entitled to a loan to cover the full cost of tuition, as well as a maintenance loan currently starting at £4,534 if you are living away from home.
But, if you decide to do a regular master’s course, you can only receive a government loan of up to £11,295 to cover both course and living fees.
However, when completing a master’s degree you are more likely to qualify for scholarships and/or bursaries.
The cost of your course and the loan you will receive is definitely something to consider when deciding between a master’s and an integrated master’s degree.
One thing to also note is that some company schemes (e.g., the NHS Scientist Training Programme) will pay you to work for them and complete a master’s degree part-time – an option that is not available for integrated master’s.