Postgraduate Training Scheme

Types of postgraduate qualifications

If you’re considering a postgraduate degree, you have various options available to you.

Some qualifications are linked to a specific profession, others lay the foundation for further academic study, such as a doctorate.

Whatever your reasons for considering postgraduate study – or whatever career ambitions you may have – it’s important to choose the right course for you.

Postgraduate Rebecca Humphries & Georgia Sykes walking by HUBS Wharfe Building

There are three types of taught postgraduate qualifications

  • Postgraduate Certificates
  • Postgraduate Diplomas
  • Masters degrees

All of them come in a wide variety of subjects and some have part-time or full-time options.

Some postgraduate courses must be closely linked to the subject you studied at undergraduate level, whereas others are open to everybody.

What are the differences between the three types of postgraduate courses?

Essentially, it’s the duration of the course and the difficulty or level of understanding required to complete it.

All postgraduate qualifications allow you to explore your chosen subject in more depth, but the level of knowledge and specialisation increases from a Postgraduate Certificate, to a Postgraduate Diploma and finally a Master’s.

All of our postgraduate courses are made up of a set number of modules, each worth a certain amount of credits.

Typically, a Postgraduate Certificate requires 60 credits, a Postgraduate Diploma 120 credits and a Master’s 180 credits. This is why some courses are structured to offer all three levels of qualification depending on how many modules you wish to undertake.

For example, you could only complete the requirements to graduate with a Postgraduate Certificate or a Postgraduate Diploma, or you could complete the full course to gain your Master’s qualification.

  • Masters Degrees

    These internationally recognised qualifications require the successful completion of 180 academic credits and include a final dissertation or major research/consultancy project.

    You’ll develop advanced knowledge in your chosen subject as well as other highly sought-after skills such as creative thinking, self motivation, time management and complex problem solving.

    As with an undergraduate degree, there are different types of Masters degrees depending on the subject you are interested in.

    The most common ones include Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), Master of Engineering (MEng), Master of Law (LLM), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Research (MRes).

  • Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas

    A Postgraduate Certificate (often referred to as a PGCert) is the first level of Master’s education and the shortest taught postgraduate award available.

    The length of the course is roughly half that of the Postgraduate Diploma (or PGDip) and a third of a full Master’s.

    A Postgraduate Diploma allows you to explore your chosen subject in greater depth than a Postgraduate Certificate, and typically includes the same taught modules as a Master’s degree but without the final dissertation or research project.

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