By:  Larissa Fedunik-Hofman
December 17th, 2018

Top 10 postgrad degrees you’ve never heard of

There are heaps of reasons you might consider enrolling in a postgraduate  or Master’s degree. You might have graduated with a Bachelor’s degree such as Engineering, Science or IT and now want to gain more specialised skills to set you on track for your dream job. You may have been in the workforce for some time and want to upskill in an area that’s related to your industry. Or maybe you’re looking to undergo a complete career change which requires new qualifications!

You might be surprised by the number and specificity of postgraduate options offered by universities – there’s truly a Master’s degree for every STEM specialist. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our list of the top 10 postgrad degrees you might never have heard of.

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1. Interaction Design

Interaction or user experience design is all about making sure interactive digital products, systems and services best meet the needs and desires of users. It’s a job that’s in major demand right now: user experience designers were in the top 5 emerging jobs of 2018, according to LinkedIn. Google Maps designer Marie-Claire Dean thinks of herself as a “tech translator”: interaction designers need both coding skills and a deep understanding of how people interact with technology.

You can study a two-year Master’s degree at universities such as UTS, the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney. It’s a great choice if you have an undergraduate qualification in computer science or graphic design and if you’ve been working with graphics, web design or interaction design and want to upskill.

2. Sustainability

Sustainability is one of the most important buzzwords of the current century, but what exactly is a degree in sustainability all about? A Master’s degree in Sustainability covers sustainability challenges such as energy conservation, population health and food security and discovering tools to identify, measure and implement solutions.

The broad range of skills developed during the program could be applied to diverse industries ranging from environmental science and policy to urban planning, sustainable building design and public health. Find degrees at the University of Sydney and Curtin University.  

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3. Science Communication

If you’ve ever seen Dr Karl in action, you’ll know he expertly blends his science acumen with excellent presentation skills and comedic delivery. If you’d love a career that mixes science with performance art, the Master of Science Communication Outreach is a one-of-a-kind program at the ANU which will give you specialist training in science communications performance and exhibition design. Through a partnership with Questacon, it focuses on using science media across platforms and engaging with various sectors of the public. It’s a great option if you admire the career trajectories of TV presenter and data analyst Lily Serna or comedian and mathematician Adam Spencer.

 


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4. Games Design and Animation

If you love gaming, why not consider a degree that will prepare you for both the creative and technical challenges? Games developer Cherie Davidson calls herself a “jack-of-all-trades”: her job requires her to be a digital artist, programmer, developer and creator.

A broad Master’s degree such as a Masters of Animation, Games and Interactivity at RMIT will prepare you for a career in animation, visual effects and design for web, games and apps. Heaps of universities such as Macquarie also offer a Masters of IT where you can specialise in Games Design and Development.  Your coursework can also help you build up a creative portfolio to help you nail an internship and job!

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5. Viticulture

There’s a science to making wine, and there’s also a world-renowned Master’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Adelaide. The Waite campus has an onsite vineyard and wine sciences laboratory and is the main facilitator of 70 per cent of Australian wine research. If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a winemaker extraordinaire or vineyard operator, this is the place to go!

6. Renewable Energy Engineering

Renewable Energy Engineering majors are incredibly popular in Europe, and Australian universities are following suit. If you have an accredited engineering degree and are looking to gain specialised qualifications into renewable technologies, you can enrol in a two-year Masters program to break into the sector.

The Master of Engineering Science (Photovoltaics and Solar Energy) program at UNSW will equip you with knowledge about all types of PV devices and their integration with electricity systems, while a broader Master of Engineering in Sustainable Energy at a university like RMIT or the ANU will cover a diverse range of technologies and practices to improve energy efficiency with renewable resources.

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7. Genomics

There’s been a revolution in gene engineering of late, and now there are postgraduate qualifications to reflect the rapidly changing scientific landscape. The first and only Master of Diagnostic Genomics at QUT focuses on the identification of genetic disorders and the translation of new research into new diagnostics and therapeutics. There are a range of specialities, including molecular genetics, cytogenetics and biochemical genetics and electives such as cancer genetics and computational biology.

If you are looking to gain qualifications in public policy, the Master of Genomics and Health at the University of Melbourne prepares students in how to implement genomic technologies in health-related, community and policy settings, with an emphasis on ethics and social responsibility.

8. Astrophysics

If studying a science degree has inspired you to delve into the secrets of the cosmos, a Master’s degree in Astrophysics at a university such as the University of Southern Queensland could be for you. Astrophysicists explore celestial objects and phenomena to reveal the origins and future of our universe, and the Masters courses have an emphasis on the techniques and technology used to gather astronomical data. The skills are highly transferable to fields such as data science and computational chemistry and physics.

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9. Automation and Manufacturing Systems

There’s no need to fear a robot apocalypse due to widespread job automation if you’re prepared for it.  The Master of Engineering in Automation and Manufacturing Systems at the University of Sydney is all about applying engineering principles to control the manufacture, delivery and maintenance of tech components in a huge range of industries. With skills in optimising productivity, managing process timelines and ensuring quality control, the robots will have nothing on you.

10. Magnetic Resonance Technology

MRI machines changed the face of medicine and celebrated their 40-year anniversary this year (see this year’s Bragg Science prize runner-up essay for more). To prepare for the next wave of medical advancements, the Master of Magnetic Resonance Technology at UQ trains students in advanced MRI techniques which are not yet part of clinical practice. Another option if you’re interested in diagnostic radiography is the Master of Medical Imaging at the University of Sydney.

..and one for good measure!

11. Nanotechnology and Smart Materials

Smart materials and nanotechnology are huge areas of research right now, with applications in everything from medical devices (check out Noushin Nasiri’s smart sensors) and next-gen electronics at ANSTO. At Flinders University and RMIT, a Master of Nanotechnology covers the basic principles of nanoscience, current frontier developments and explores a range of lab-based methods of fabrication for these emerging technologies.

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Larissa Fedunik-Hofman

Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman

Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.

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