Postgraduate studies

Article reviewed: 2013/02/02 | Next review due: 2014/08/21

Postgraduate studies are available to any who have obtained a university degree or equivalent. Postgraduate studies are for those seeking advance and in-depth knowledge of their chosen subject.

Courses generally last from one to four years, depending on the course. For example, a Masters degree or an MBA may only be a one year taught course, but a PhD usually requires a three-four year research project.

Master Preparation Course

If your English is not up to the standard of that expected for a Master, then you may wish to take a prerparation course. The course can last for just a few months, or perhaps a whole academic year, however it goes into all the skills you would required, including academic, cultural and language teaching. In many cases, it guarantees admission into a masters course in a particular university.

Certificates or postgraduate diplomas (PG Cert / Dip)

Postgraduate certificates and diplomas were awarded after a one-year taught course and doesn’t usually involve research. They are often accepted as professional qualifications in relevant fields, such as education or management and give you an advantage over others when trying to enter a saturated workforce.

Applied Masters (MA, MSc, LLM, MEd, etc.).

The courses generally last one year and have two components: several training units (with lectures, seminars, essays and exams) and a smaller thesis on a topic of original research.

Research Masters (MRes, MPhil)

With a research Masters, you wouldn’t attend lectures: the whole year will be devoted to research. Your final grade is reliant upon a longer thesis based on a topic of original research of about 40,000 words, subject to examiner review as well as oral examination and interrogation.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA is a year of specialised training in business management that will allow you to access a career in top level management. This is the most popular postgraduate degree taken up.

Doctorate (PhD)

A doctorate typically takes three to four years of study for which you will work on a single research project. In the final year, you will have to present a thesis of original research of about 100,000 words, subject to examiner review and interrogation.

Once you have received your PhD, you can then be called ‘Dr’, instead of Mr or Ms.

New Route PhD

This new type of PhD course combines coursework as well as a research project, giving you the opportunity to take on interdisciplinary studies.

Tooltip information:

  • MBA: The Master of Business Administration (MBA or M.B.A.) is a master's degree in business administration, which attracts people from a wide range of academic disciplines.

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