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Can a Masters accelerate your career?

Brooke Boland

We speak with a Masters Course Leader to find out how these programs work and what career benefits they offer graduates.
Can a Masters accelerate your career?

Image: supplied.

Postgraduate qualifications vary from semester-long diplomas to years of research culminating in a PhD. A Masters program sits somewhere in between, and is a popular choice for many people in the arts who want to develop their skills and knowledge.

To find out more about how a Masters program can accelerate a person’s career, ArtsHub spoke to Nell Greenwood, AFTRS Course Leader Masters, who has seen many students complete their degree and go onto a successful career in film and television. 

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‘One of the ways we describe the Master of Arts Screen is as a career accelerator. It’s a very effective way to shift gears and take that next step in your career,’ said Greenwood.

In Greenwood’s experience, a Masters program is a popular way for people in the industry to gain entry into senior screen industry positions. Recent graduates, such as Becca Johnstone, who completed a Masters of Screenwriting in 2014, had a major work she developed during her studies optioned by a US production company within a couple of months of graduating, while Liz Keegan who studied Editing in 2010 was nominated for a student Oscar and is currently in New York cutting her first feature film. 

‘It’s about giving students the skills level so they leave the course as industry professionals. The course is structured around intensive, real-world exercises. Students are constantly making work –from one day exercises to a funded substantial project that they make over the final year of the course. This gives them numerous opportunities to test and hone their skills — and also as significantly, their creative point of view,’ said Greenwood.

A Masters is typically an immersive two-year full time program. At AFTRS, students specialise in one of ten different disciplines. These students also engage in mentorship opportunities and industry work placements to help them transition from the course into an industry role once they graduate.

‘One of the things we’re proudest about our graduates is that they know who they are as film-makers – they graduate with a portfolio of highly accomplished work that’s driven by a deep and authentic artistic perspective,’ said Greenwood.

Many students who want to enrol in the Masters program at AFTRS often complete a Graduate Certificate first, which serves as a pathway.

‘How we distinguish the Graduate Certificate and Masters programs, is that the Graduate Certificate gets you from one stage to another,’ Greenwood explained. 

‘It could be that you are transitioning from one area of the industry to another, or from another profession into the screen arts, or that you are looking to add another level of skill to your practice. We’ve had journalists up-skilling as screenwriters and currently have a scientist who wants to move into documentary making.’ 

Visit Award Courses to find out more about studying a Masters at AFTRS.

About the author

Brooke Boland is a Melbourne-based freelance writer.

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