Postgraduate Study Choices

Postgraduate study offers students a wide range of options. The following brief guide outlines some key issues about different types of study, and identifies some of the things you may need to think about when choosing which kind of study is right for you.

- Professional Postgraduate Qualifications
- Certificates and Diplomas
- Taught Masters, including Masters by research
- MPhil/PhD
- Professional, Specialist and Taught Doctorates
- Short courses and CPD
- Study Modes: Full-time, Part-time, Distance learning and e-Learning

Why choose postgraduate study?
There are many different reasons for choosing postgraduate study, but in general most people choose to study at this level for one or more of the following reasons:
- interest in the subject
- self-development
- career enhancement
- career change
- required career entry qualification
- interest in an academic or research-based career
- supplement to undergraduate degree, especially if lower than expected
- desire to postpone entering the working world.

Whichever reasons you identify most closely with, it is important to make sure that the programme you choose will help you realise your goals, and that you are realistic about the requirements and commitments of the programme as well as the benefits you expect to result from it, and the impact it will have on your life. This may therefore effect where and how you study, how much you can afford to pay or borrow, and how much funding you look for. If you are choosing postgraduate study for more than one of the reasons above, it may be helpful to consider which of the reasons is more important to you, and which factors should determine how you choose your course.

Applying for postgraduate study in the UK
In the UK, most Universities require you to apply separately to each institution, with each University having its own requirements and application form. In November 2007, however, a new national postgraduate application system was launched, and a growing number of Universities are allowing postgraduate students to apply using the UKPass system: this means you can apply to a number of Universities through this system at postgraduate level. To see whether the institution you are interested in studying at allows you to apply using UKPass, have a look at their website at: http://www.ukpass.ac.uk.

ThinkPostgrad: If you are thinking about postgraduate study as a means of postponing your entry into the world of work, we recommend that you consider whether you will really enjoy the course and benefit from it personally, professionally or academically, and take into account the pros and cons of study, including the cost, before applying.