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Postgraduate study has the potential to enhance your career prospects and may be essential for some career choices.
Masters (Taught) are advanced level qualifications, normally taken after a Bachelor's/undergraduate Degree (or equivalent).
Most taught courses last one year and lead to one of three qualifications: Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert), Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) or Master's (MA, MSc).
The programmes consist of coursework with other students (lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory work as appropriate) and, for the Master's degree, independent study for a supervised dissertation or project on a topic agreed with the relevant department. Both are examined, and in some cases, satisfactory performance in the coursework will determine whether a student continues on to independent study.
Except where indicated on departmental webpages, there are no specific application deadlines for postgraduate taught courses. However, you should be aware of the start dates for courses and give yourself plenty of time to apply. You should also allow time to make any financial, travel and accommodation arrangements, if you are offered a place.
Postgraduate Study in the UK - Explore the different types of postgraduate courses available.
Find-a-Masters - A database of Taught and Research Masters Courses from universities across the globe
The focus is on developing an individual’s research skills and so provides a good preparation for postdoctoral study. However, that’s not to say that a taught masters such as an MA or MSc isn’t sufficient preparation for a PhD
Research Masters degrees involve “the sustained, rigorous, critical and systematic investigation of a defined subject” over a period of at least one year. You will work independently to prepare a thesis under the guidance of a supervisor and are likely to receive training in research skills. You will normally be required to take a viva (oral examination) on your thesis before your degree is awarded.
Looking to carry out your own independent research as a postgraduate? If your project isn’t extensive enough for a PhD (or if you wish to study a shorter course) you might want to consider a Master of Philosophy (MPhil).
The MPhil is a unique qualification that looks much more like a PhD than another Masters degree.
An MPhil can be part of a (or a step towards PhD registration) but you can also study it as a standalone qualification.
Unlike most other Masters qualifications, the MPhil is a pure research degree. Whereas an MRes will include some taught units, an MPhil is based entirely on the completion of an independent thesis.
You’ll undertake this work under the guidance of an academic supervisor, but won’t normally have any other timetabled classes or assessments.
What are the entry requirements for an MPhil? As an advanced research qualification, an MPhil will usually have extra admissions requirements.
Some of these will be academic. You’ll need an appropriate Bachelors degree, as normal. But you may also need to hold another Masters degree (such as an MA or MSc).
This will depend on your subject, your university and the specific project you wish to tackle. If your MPhil is intended to lead to a PhD, your university may expect you to have existing experience at taught postgraduate level. If your project is smaller and self-contained, this may not be necessary.
Most MPhil programs will also require you to put forward a research proposal. This will define your intended project and / or state how you intend to tackle it.
The highest level of academic qualification and the title of PhD is used across the full range of academic subjects. It involves an extended period (at least 3 years) of supervised research resulting in a thesis which "forms an addition to knowledge, shows evidence of systematic study and of ability to relate the results of such study to the general body of knowledge in the subject and is worthy of publication”. It is more demanding than a research Masters, not only in its length but also in that your research must be original and add something new to the existing knowledge on that subject.
Again, you will work independently to prepare a thesis under the guidance of a supervisor and will normally be required to take a viva. Once your PhD has been awarded you are entitled to use the title of “Dr”.
Find-a-PhD - Current postgraduate research, PhD studentships and details of graduate research programmes.
The PhD Careers Research Training Programme
A PhD Careers Programme has now been added to the Research Training Programme in all Faculties.
The courses cover a variety of topics including:
Full details of the courses and the booking arrangements can be viewed here
If you wish to book a place on a course outside your own Faculty, you can do so, but this must be done via Target Connect.
Any queries about this programme should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Alternative Guide Online (AGO) is the most popular funding resource in the world for current and prospective postgraduate students studying at UK universities. If you are looking for funding for PhD, Masters, and PGCE study, the AGO can help! It's for all postgraduates, regardless of subject or nationality.