What is a postgraduate degree?
Postgraduate degrees are an additional qualification that you can study for once you’ve completed an undergraduate degree. The subject of a postgraduate degree does not have to be related to your previous studies and it can be undertaken at a different university.
Some undergraduate degrees like our
Industrial Control Engineering (MEng) have a fourth or fifth year bundled in with them comprising postgraduate degree level 7 modules. Students on these integrated courses will graduate with both an undergraduate degree and a postgraduate degree in one subject and wouldn’t usually take a break between different levels of study.
What type of postgraduate degree are available?
Postgraduate degrees can broadly be split into two categories; postgraduate taught or postgraduate research.
Postgraduate taught degrees include
Master’s degrees, common examples of which include
Master of Arts (MA),
Master of Science (MSc) and
Master of Engineering (MEng).
Master of Research (MRes) degrees offer a more research-intensive route to a postgraduate degree, with up to 60% of the course focused on individual, original research. However, this still falls into the postgraduate taught degree category.
Postgraduate diplomas and certificates are also available. These provide a qualification at the same level as a master’s degree but are shorter as they are composed of fewer modules. An example of a common postgraduate certificate is the
Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). This is an internationally recognised qualification that often features as part of a teacher training course or as a qualification in its own right. Find out more about our PGCE Primary Education and PGCE Secondary Education courses.
Teaching and research for postgraduate taught degrees usually happens at the university that offers the degree, but some teaching and research may also take place in a commercial setting if there is an industry research partner or sponsor involved.
A further type of postgraduate taught degree can be classed as professional, an example of which is the University of Gloucestershire’s
MBA Business Administration (MBA). This may be undertaken in a commercial setting such as the student’s existing place of work, with the taught element taking place at the university.
Postgraduate research degrees include
masters of research (MRes) and
doctorates (PhD/DPhil). MRes degrees are undertaken in 1-2 years, and doctorates normally take three or more years to complete and are based on undertaking original research into your chosen subject. This is done with a view to writing a thesis which is a written summary of your research project, coming in at anything between 10,000 to 120,000 words. The University of Gloucestershire offers a range of postgraduate research degrees across a number of subject areas.
Find out more about our
postgraduate research degrees.
Who can study for a postgraduate degree?
Anybody can apply to study for a postgraduate degree. In order to be accepted onto a postgraduate degree you will, in most instances, need to have completed an undergraduate degree. In some cases this will need to have been in the same subject as the postgraduate degree that you want to study, but the university will decide this and specify
Postgraduate degrees are something that a lot of
mature students choose to do, often years after completing their undergraduate studies, having taken time out of higher education to work in industry and gain experience or raise a family.
Postgraduate degrees also offer an opportunity for international students to study in a different country, having gained an undergraduate degree in their home country. This allows international students to go abroad and study at institutions in countries which may be world-leaders in their chosen field. This creates diverse research communities with common interests and aspirations, overseen by dedicated supervision teams who support and encourage student development.
What postgraduate degree courses are available at the University of Gloucestershire?
The University of Gloucestershire offers postgraduate taught and postgraduate research degrees across a wide range of subject areas including Business and Management, Cyber Security and Computing, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Health and Social Work and Media.
Many subjects have a master’s and research option so you can progress from a postgraduate taught course (MA) or Master’s by Research (MRes) to a doctorate (PhD). Postgraduate degrees at the University of Gloucestershire have intakes beginning in February and October each year.
Take a look at our
postgraduate guides to get an idea of the postgraduate degrees we offer
What are the benefits of studying a postgraduate degree?
Studying a postgraduate degree provides a more detailed look into your subject of choice and will involve an element of original research. The amount of research involved varies between courses and qualifications.
A one or two year master’s degree will comprise around 60% original research with the rest of the content being taught. Undertaking this level of research will develop your expertise in your chosen area to a point where you’ll be ready to enter a specialist field of employment or confidently make a career change.
In comparison, a doctorate lasting three or four years will be almost exclusively original research leading to the publication of your doctoral thesis. This option is likely to be undertaken by those wishing to go on to further academic research, teaching or lecturing.
Postgraduate study will also enhance your skills and abilities in the following areas, all of which will help to enhance your CV and make you an attractive proposition to employers:
- Data analysis
- Critical thinking
- Project management
- Real-world, original problem solving
- Organisation and time management
Why should someone looking for a postgraduate degree choose the University of Gloucestershire?
The University of Gloucestershire is a well-established centre for postgraduate degree study. If you choose to come here, you can expect to be taught or supervised by staff who have a solid background in research, many of whom are actively engaged in their own research projects.
We have well-known, nationally and internationally-recognised subject experts among our academic staff, including Dr. Jane Monckton Smith, Prof. Adam Hart, Prof. Anne Goodenough and Prof. Richard Billingham.
This helps to create a postgraduate environment with a wide range of development opportunities that students can take advantage of. Strong research subject communities will support you to further your interests in your chosen field and provide subject and methodological expertise. Our
Research Priority Areas (RPAs) are themes built on our existing research strength and areas for investment in the future.
How can someone apply for a postgraduate degree at the University of Gloucestershire?
Unlike undergraduate degrees for which applications are made via UCAS, you make postgraduate degree applications directly to the university. The exception to this is applications for PGCEs which are made via UCAS.
Take a look at our
postgraduate guides to get an idea of the postgraduate degrees we offer and get a feel for the structure of the course you’re interested in and whether you think it’s right for you.
To help you decide and to provide more information, you can visit the university and get a feel for the campus where you’ll be studying. We run postgraduate open days and a meet the lecturer programme, giving you the chance to have an informal chat with the academics that have expert knowledge of the course or courses you’re interested in.
Once you’ve decided which course you want to apply for, you can apply online by following the application links on the course page.
Research degrees require additional material to be supplied with your application including your research proposal, CV, copies of degree certificates and transcripts and referee details. Additionally, international students will need to submit evidence of English language proficiency.
Find out more about
applying for a research degree.