What is Postgraduate Education?

Portrait of a students studying in the library

Postgraduate Education is studying and developing learning for academic or professional degrees, diplomas, or any other qualifications for which a first or bachelors degree is required. A postgraduate degree is a degree which you study for once you have completed a bachelors degree. Some postgraduate degrees require the achievement of particular bachelors degree, others don’t.

A postgraduate is a student who has succeeded in completing an undergraduate degree level course at a university or college and is undertaking further education at a more advanced level.

A postgraduate course takes one-year full time or two years part time to complete. The course content is designed to develop the knowledge obtained at an undergraduate degree level. A postgraduate degree or diploma offers students an innovative level of education in their chosen area of study.

When choosing a postgraduate course, make sure you know what you want to do. It is essential you choose a course which you are passionate about and one which suits your learning style. Ask yourself what kind of course you want and what you would expect to achieve at the end of it. Many Masters and diploma courses are linked to specific careers. Be sure to get as much information as possible. Course descriptions are useful, but your research should go above.

One type of a postgraduate course is a taught course. A taught course is led by a tutor and includes Masters degree and postgraduate diplomas or certificates. A Masters degree is an advanced academic degree that takes place at postgraduate. A diploma lasts nine months and a postgraduate certificate takes about four months. A taught Masters generally takes place over one or two years and usually involves the accomplishment of a dissertation or project. You can take a Masters of Arts (MA), a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Engineering (MEng) or A Master of Science (MSc).

Another type of course is a research course, in which you can do a Master of Research degree (MRes). Independent research constitutes a big part of postgraduate study as it concentrates more on independent study. Research degrees are commonly known as doctorates. The type of doctorates are PhDs, integrated PhDs and professional doctorates. Doctorates usually take up to four years to complete, but some can take longer.

Further postgraduate study is sometimes required for certain careers. Postgraduate conversion courses give you a lifeline if you have not studied an undergraduate degree for the profession you want to enter. They permit you to transfer to a different subject area. Conversion courses are usually taught and take about one year.

Postgraduation courses are not free, but in the UK they are normally cheaper, per year, than undergraduate courses. An average UK bachelors degree can cost up to £9250 or more. Your postgraduate fees will account for a large proportion of the cost of your Masters degree. However, they won’t be all you have to pay for. You’ll need to cover accommodation expenses as well as food, drink, entertainment and other living costs. Therefore, you’ll need to think wisely about how you will manage your expenses.

If you’re starting a full-time or part-time taught or research master’s course, you could get a Postgraduate Masters Loan. Masters students can apply for graduate loans of up to £10,000 from the Student Loans Company. You must be eligible for a Postgraduate Masters Loan however. Whether you can get a Postgraduate Masters Loan depends on your course, university and personal circumstances. You must meet certain criteria. The course you are studying for must be at an eligible college or university in the UK, and must be a full Postgraduate Masters Course, leading to qualifications such as: Master of Art (MA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science (MSc), Master of Research (MRes), Master of Law (LLM), Master of Letters (MLitt), Master of Fine Art (MFA), Master of Education (MEd) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil). You can’t get a Postgraduate Masters Loan for certain postgraduate courses, such as Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert), Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) as some may be funded by an undergraduate student finance.

You can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan as a contribution towards your course and living costs. Your loan payments will be spread out across all the academic years of your course. If you’re thinking of studying a part-time master’s course, your payments will be spread out over the period of the full course.

If you have a disability, including a long -term health condition, mental health condition, or a specific learning difficulty, you might be entitled to Disabled Students Allowances. These don’t have to be paid back and you don’t have to be getting a Postgraduate Masters Loan to apply.

You’ll have to start repaying your Postgraduate Masters loan in the April after you finish or leave your course, or in the April four years after the start of your course, either of which comes first.  You’ll repay 6% of your income over the minimum amount (threshold). This is £21,000 a year, £1,750 a month or £404 a week. You’ll have to pay any undergraduate student loans you have at the same time. You will be charged interest from the day you get your first payment until your loan is fully repaid or cancelled.

If you are employed, repayments are taken from your salary by your employer, along with tax and National Insurance. If you are self-employed, you’ll make payments at the same time you pay tax through self-assessment.  The amount you’ll have to repay will depend on your income. If you decide to leave your course early, you’ll still have to repay your loan, but the process of repayment might be different. If you already have a student loan, borrowing the Postgraduate Masters loan won’t affect the payment of any other student loans you already have for any undergraduate course.

For more help or advice, there are websites and information online to answer any of your questions or enquiries. Below are some useful websites on Postgraduate Education: