Types of master's degree programmes

Thinking of studying a master’s degree but unsure if it’s the right step for you? Don’t worry. To help you with your dilemma, we’ve explained what a master’s degree is, how it’s different from undergraduate degrees and what types of degrees are available at postgraduate level. After all, having the right information can make all the difference.

What is a master's degree?

A master's degree is one of the most popular postgraduate qualifications available and demonstrates a high level of expertise in a specific field of study. It’s a level 7 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) which sits above an undergraduate bachelor's degree but below a doctoral programme. The duration of a master’s degree varies depending on whether you decide to study full-time or part-time, but typically it can take between one to three years to complete.

There are lots of different types of master's degree programmes available, and here at Loughborough we currently offer MA, MSc, MBA and MRes. Information on what each degree entails has been provided below.

Master of Arts (MA)

A Master of Arts, otherwise referred to as an MA is usually awarded in disciplines categorised as arts or social sciences. We offer MA programmes in a number of different subject areas at both our London and Loughborough campuses.

Master of Science (MSc)

A Master of Science (MSc) is usually awarded in disciplines categorised as the sciences, such as chemistry, engineering, health and physics. We offer a wide variety of MSc programmes across a number of Schools and Departments, including Business and Economics, Social Sciences, and Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is designed to give you the skills and knowledge you need for career progression in business and management roles. Prospective MBA students are required to have at least three years' professional work experience.

Master of Research (MRes)

Master of Research (MRes) programmes are designed to enable you to hone your academic research skills. We offer a number of different options, mostly at our London campus.

Alternative postgraduate degrees

In addition to the master's degree programmes we've listed above, you'll find that we also offer a number of other postgraduate qualifications, including postgraduate certificates (PGCert), postgraduate diplomas (PGDip) and short courses.

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

A Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) is a postgraduate qualification offered across a range of different subjects, which is designed to further your skills in a certain area or train you for a specific career path.

Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas

Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas are shorter taught postgraduate courses. They include master's-level content, but take less time to complete.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is an academic qualification that you can receive during your teacher training. We offer PGCE courses in Mathematics, and Physical Education.

Diploma Supplement/Bologna Agreement

We are committed to implementing the objectives of the Bologna Declaration, including promoting student mobility and adopting a system of easily readable and comparable degrees. Graduates are issued with a Diploma Supplement to enable flexibility and comparability of qualifications internationally.

Study options

Most master's degree programmes take one year of full-time study, or two to three years part-time.

Modular programmes​

Master's degree programmes are based on modules totalling 180 credits. Most modules are worth 10, 15 or 20 credits.You will need at least 150 credits from modules you have passed with marks of 50% or more, and the remaining modules marked at not less than 40%. The 150 credits usually include a dissertation or equivalent.

Postgraduate diploma (PGDip) students need 100 credits from modules with marks of 50% or more and further modules worth 20 credits marked at not less than 40%. Postgraduate certificate (PGCert) students will need to achieve 60 credits with marks of 50% or more.

Details of taught modules are available on the individual programme pages.

Modular programmes​

Entry requirements for a master's degree

Entry for most master's degrees and other taught programmes requires an honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, but some are open to graduates from a variety of subjects and do not require a specialist background. A few programmes require relevant work experience. Please see your chosen programme entry for details.

Study exemptions and credit accumulation

We may consider offering credit transfer or exemption from part of our programmes to students who already have some postgraduate level credits awarded by another higher education institute. If you leave Loughborough before qualifying for an award, you will be entitled to a transcript detailing the credits you have accumulated, and these may be taken into account by another institution if you continue your studies elsewhere.