Thursday, 25th April 2019


*Postgraduate qualifications are gained after graduating from university with a bachelor's degree.

Whether it is because graduates want to carry on learning in general, to specialise in a certain field or to learn another subject entirely, there is a range of different postgraduate qualifications available.*

Different types of postgraduate courses

  • Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are available in either vocational or academic subjects. These courses are taken over nine months or a year, and are usually linked to one specific job path. There are many different areas of study for postgraduate diplomas and certificates.
  • The most popular type of postgraduate course is the Master’s Degree. These can be taken at the majority of higher education institutions across the country and typically last one or two academic years when studying full-time. They usually entail a heavy mix of research and coursework, culminating in examinations towards the end of the year. Specific Master’s titles include Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Education (Med), Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Master of Law (LLM).
  • A doctorate (PhD) can be taken upon completion of either an undergraduate degree or a Master’s and is a much more research based qualification. Places on doctorate courses are offered to postgraduates on an individually assessed basis. PhDs can take up to between three and seven years and in many higher education institutions students will only reach PhD candidature after one or two years of preliminary supervised research. During research and study, while putting together a thesis, candidates will often be expected to teach university undergraduates.
  • People who want to teach after graduating from university can study for a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE). These one-year full-time courses can be taken at a large number of higher education institutions across the UK and successful trainees finish with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). There are other routes one can take to gain QTS and embark on a career in teaching, including Professional Graduate Certificate of Education (ProfGCE) and School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT).

What type of qualification can you achieve?

Postgraduate qualifications are levels 7-8 on the framework of higher education qualifications, which is used to show the different demands that are put on the student of each qualification.

These qualifications take a great deal of dedication and high levels of interest.

Only people who wish to specialise in a particular field will usually enrol in these courses, as they requirement investment of time, money and interest.

For more information on specific postgraduate courses, contact specific universities or graduate careers sites.