As you move from undergraduate to postgraduate study, you'll find a much stronger emphasis on self-directed learning, and an expectation that your own intellectual curiosity will drive your studies to a far greater extent. You'll need to be able to deal with a greater level of abstraction and theoretical complexity. You'll also be expected to engage with and in the most up-to-date research, and develop your own innovative ways of thinking about topics.
You'll need to develop your critical research and enquiry skills, as well as relevant technical and practical skills, and you'll become a much more autonomous learner, developing the skills of self-organisation and self-motivation. You'll also need to learn to deal with the unpredictable nature of research, and how to cope with both negative and positive results from your data and/or research. Lastly, you'll learn about appropriate professional attitudes, behaviour and values in your discipline, including learning ethical behaviours, developing academic integrity, recognising the need to reflect on methodology, and becoming part of a research community.
All of these challenges will ultimately push you forward in your area of specialism, empowering you to enhance your future opportunities.
Whilst studying at Stirling, I found the close relationship with lecturers and staff to be incredibly beneficial. Lecturers were always available to discuss the work they had covered in class and give as much guidance for completing coursework and exams. Having access to a lab dedicated to Masters students meant that there was a place for students to discuss and collaborate when having difficulties. The course featured many opportunities to present to the other students which has improved my confidence in public speaking situations and developing my ability to present to an audience of people from a range of backgrounds.
Beth Watson, Scotland, MSc Big Data