These days, many students have a vague understanding of how to write essays for a Masters degree and what is an essay format. We highlighted the top mistakes that students make in their essays before, and now it’s time to outline the major differences between Undergraduate and Masters essays.
1. Independent Thought
At a Masters level, it goes without saying that both you and your readers are aware of all popular theories and frameworks. Quickly identify the school of thought and proceed to your personal analysis of the problem to demonstrate how your essay addresses the existing research gaps. Undergraduate essays can define terms and theories to a greater degree.
2. Scope of Research
While the reading lists provided by your tutor should be thoroughly studied in any case, you have to steer towards roads less traveled and demonstrate more innovativeness at a Masters level. Search for new theories and go beyond what was studied in the module writing a Masters essay.
3. Structural Clarity
The person reading your work should be able to instantly see the logic of your arguments development. You can start by creating a table of contents in Word. Think about how its constituent parts will progress into each other. Afterward, build up your ideas around this mind map. Masters essays usually have a more elaborated structure than Undergraduate essays. However, check with your supervisor if subheadings are allowed at all, as old-school essays require only plain text with no structure.
4. Conceptual Thinking
Your Undergraduate essay would mostly include existing critique and limitations of the studied phenomena, but Masters works should identify new weaknesses, drawbacks, and gaps. Try to evaluate how the concepts link to each other and how the school of thought has evolved over time. Practice the skill of reading between the lines when writing a Masters essay.
5. Conclusions and Implications
At an Undergraduate level, you address specific questions to the best of your ability and summarise your findings in the conclusions section. In your Master’s essay, don’t forget to conclude the academic contribution of your observations in the end. Extract practical implications and provide sophisticated recommendations in the final paragraph.
Below is a brief recap of the key differences between Undergraduate and Masters essays.