Research your career
Explore Your Options
Postgraduate study is a popular option for graduates. In 2016 around 15% of Loughborough graduates went straight on to further study. Whether you’re thinking of studying in the UK or abroad you’ll need to plan well in advance, which will involve assessing the suitability of each course and finding out about application procedures and deadlines.
Funding is a major issue for most people and you will therefore need to allow time to investigate scholarships, awards, loans and other sources of finance, many of which will have specific eligibility criteria and early deadlines. Look at here for help with finding courses and applying (UK), studying abroad and for sources of funding.
Types of postgraduate course
Firstly consider your motivations carefully and research the different types of course.
- Masters programmes (e.g. MA, MSc, MBA): 12 months full-time or 2 years part-time.
- Postgraduate diplomas and certificates: 6-12 months full-time, 2 years part-time.
To find out about Masters courses available to you within the UK, visit Coursefindr
- Masters programmes (e.g. MPhil, MRes): 2-3 years full-time or 4-5 years part-time.
- Doctorates (e.g. PhD, DPhil): 3-4 years full-time or 5-6 years part-time. Loughborough University Graduate School
- Engineering Doctorate (EngD): Industry based PhD, 4 years part time The Institute of Engineering Technology
- New Route PhD : 4 years full time which combines research with advanced skills training.
The titles and components of postgraduate courses outside the UK may vary, so research them carefully and look at our studying abroad resources. Wherever you choose to study, the type of course you choose will depend on your reasons for choosing postgraduate study and/or the specific requirements of the career path you have chosen.
Reasons for choosing postgraduate study
Further study will help you to do one or more of the following:
- Continue with your first degree subject in more depth or in a specialised area.
- ‘Convert' your first degree to something completely different.
- Achieve a professional qualification needed to pursue your chosen career (e.g. law, teaching, social work, librarianship or clinical psychology).
- Develop your research skills.
- Experience life at another university, either in the UK or abroad.
Advantages of postgraduate study
The benefits of postgraduate study include:
- Providing you with specific vocational or technical skills and expert knowledge.
- Opportunities to work on projects with experts outside the university environment.
- Impressing employers in industry sectors where postgraduate study is recognised.
- Providing you with a wide range of contacts that could be helpful in the future.
- Complementing relevant work experience.
- Occasionally attracting a higher starting salary.
Disadvantages of postgraduate study
- It won't necessarily help you decide on a career.
- Not all employers regard it as a bonus.
- You could become ‘over-qualified' for some jobs.
- It does not necessarily compensate for a poor first degree.
- Relevant work experience might still be necessary.
- High course fees and living expenses can add to debts you may already have.
Choosing the right course - Checklist
To help you choose the right course for you, it might be helpful to think about:
- the type of course you would like to study.
- what you hope the course might lead to and how it fits in with your career plans – check out what others have done after the course.
- entry requirements
- availability of funding and your own financial circumstances.
- reputation of the institution or department.
- course structure and teaching and assessment methods.
- academic facilities and support services available.
- location and travel considerations.
- which courses other graduates from your course have chosen – search the Loughborough University destinations database via Where do our graduates go?
Other routes to further qualifications
- Short and part-time professional and vocational qualifications. These are available at further education colleges, private colleges, online and by distance learning. For more information about courses across the UK visit The National Careers Service. To find out about opportunities to study in your local area visit the online prospectus for the relevant institution or centre.
- Undertake further qualifications whilst working. This can happen either as part of a graduate training programme (e.g. accountancy qualifications) or as part of an individual agreement where your employer releases you to undertake a job-related course (e.g. certificate or diploma in human resources accredited by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development.) Some graduates also enrol for part-time courses, at their own expense, to enhance their career prospects.
- Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a scheme which involves graduates working in companies on strategic business and product development projects. These projects are jointly supervised by the business and university and you get the opportunity to register for further qualifications while working.
Postgraduate Study Abroad
Finding a suitable postgraduate course abroad may be tricky and will therefore take more time. There are a number of websites which provide general information on study abroad and cover options in different countries. Others will enable you to search for a course in a particular country. If at first you don't find what you are looking for, don't give up. Persevere through the websites and ultimately contact with individual institutions should provide you with the information you need.
TARGETpostgrad, in partnership with AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) answer your questions about postgraduate study abroad and point you in the direction of useful sources of information on living and studying in specific countries. Find information on qualification names, language requirements, exchange programme options, fees and international scholarships, how to apply for postgraduate study abroad, and study visa basics.
- Accredited Online Colleges - AccreditedOnlineColleges.org
- Association of Commonwealth Universities - www.acu.ac.uk.
- Braintrack - www.braintrack.com- links to universities and colleges throughout the world.
- International Education Site - www.intostudy.com - guide to study abroad information, advice and opportunities for students worldwide who are considering studying overseas. Including university advice, college search facilities, student profiles, and articles from the leading journals on international education.
- Prospects - www.prospects.ac.uk - comprehensive coverage of over 50 countries.
- STUDYlink - www.studylink.co.uk - information on undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA study in a range of countries - contains course databases, advice and discussion forums.
- Study Overseas - www.studyoverseas.com - information on courses and institutions for study in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
- Trans-world Education College - www.transworldeducationcollege.com - is a United Kingdom base independent institution of higher learning offering tuition training by distance learning on a wide variety of courses. The college have affiliation with some US and UK universities.
- American Universities - www.clas.ufl.edu/CLAS/american-universities.html
- Canada's Online Campus Careers Centre - www.cacee.com.
- Canadian Bureau for International Education - www.cbie.ca.
- Central and Eastern European Education Directory - www.ceebd.co.uk - details of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes offered in academic establishments in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the CIS.
- Educational Testing Service - www.ets.org/tests_products - provides sample questions for GRE and TOEFL tests.
- Eurydice - is a network whose task is to explain how education systems are organised in Europe and how they work.
- Fulbright Commission - www.fulbright.co.uk - advice and support for anyone wishing to study in the USA.
- German Academic Exchange Service - london.daad.de - Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) provides information on study and research in Germany, including a directory of courses.
- GMAT - www.mba.com/global - The Graduate Management Admissions Test (for study in the US).
- gradschools.com - www.gradschools.com- details of postgraduate schools in the USA and elsewhere.
- Gradsource - www.gradsource.com - searchable database of graduate courses in the US.
- National Education Association - www.nea.org - information about US education.
- Petersons Education Centre - www.petersons.com - information and advice on study in the USA.
- Princeton Review - www.princetonreview.com - helps target the best schools for you.
- Study in the USA - www.studyusa.com - details of postgraduate courses in the US.
- Study Options - provide expert advice to students on all forms of university study in Australia and New Zealand
- UK NARIC - www.naric.org.uk/naric - is the designated United Kingdom national agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills. It performs this official function on behalf of the UK Government.