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Alyssa Berryman

Transitioning from undergraduate to postgraduate study


So you’ve finished, or are finishing, your undergraduate studies and you’re starting to look forward to the next step.  Depending on what you want to achieve, postgraduate study may be the next thing to consider, and there are many benefits to continuing your education.

But how do you transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study? It isn’t exactly true to say postgraduate study is a continuation of undergraduate work, format-wise; there are differences.

We spoke to ACU Bachelor of Exercise Science graduate Alyssa Berryman, who made the leap straight into a Master of High Performance Sport after completing her degree. 

What differences are there between undergraduate and postgraduate study?

“I found that a big difference was my own personal changes. I felt that I had more drive and determination in my studies because it was more serious. The content was harder and the assessments were made to push you and enhance your research and writing skills, which in the end I feel has helped me prepare more for a full-time job.”

What does your work and study schedule involve day-to-day?

“It’s busy, but I manage to make it all work. And there isn’t really a ‘standard’ day – how you work your schedule depends on your study load, work commitments and timetable. I started my masters full-time while also working part-time at various jobs, and continuing to be involved in student life at ACU and maintaining my family and social commitments.

“During the second year of my masters, I was also lucky enough to be elected as President of the Student Association for my campus. When this happened, I switched to studying part-time, as I was often attending meetings and organising events, as well as working a part-time job in retail and as a Student Ambassador for ACU. I was always busy and found that doing two to three hours of lecture/tutorial content every weekday was the best way for me to cope with the demands of my masters. For me, it’s important to keep on top of the content as falling behind just makes it harder to catch up. 

“Just recently, I interned at the University of Notre Dame in the US. During my internship, I worked a full-time role, which showed me what I can expect during my career. My main job was attending training sessions and games to track athletes live through GPS, ensuring they were hitting their targets and making sure all that data was available for analysis. I was also completing constant research for both assessments and projects given by coaches to help continue my learning.”

Alyssa Berryman - mastering sport

Alyssa Berryman

What do you enjoy most about your study?

“The ability to work through the course online, as well as knowing that I am receiving a great education to help prepare me for my career.”

What have been the biggest benefits of your postgraduate study?

“The freedom of being able to watch a lecture or complete any tutorial-based work at a time that suited me was one of the biggest benefits of my masters. Another benefit would be the different lecturers and ‘guest lecturers’ that would sometimes present on different topics throughout the unit. This meant that we were able to learn from people who were currently working in the industry and were obviously very skilled and passionate about their profession.”

What advice would you give to others considering postgraduate study?

“If it is something you want to do, then do it! Talk to the staff at ACU, and if possible, students who are completing the postgraduate course you are interested in. Words on paper cannot describe the full experience of completing postgraduate studies and I believe that it can offer a range of benefits, including experience and job opportunities. Everyone is different and aspires towards different careers, so gaining an understanding of the possibilities that can come from completing a postgraduate degree can really enhance your future.”

Why did you decide to study postgraduate immediately following your undergraduate?

“I had considered taking a break from studying, however found that I wanted to remain involved in student life on campus. I was also lucky enough to know that I really wanted to pursue a career in high performance sport, and a postgraduate degree would be a big benefit in the industry. 

Plus, finishing both degrees early in my career means I still have plenty of time to continue building experience through internships and other opportunities. Now I can really push into the sports industry and find the best fit for me, with no rush or pressure.”

Ready to make the leap? Explore postgraduate degrees at ACU.

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Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright@ Australian Catholic University 1998-2019 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G