Further study

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Find out your options if you're considering further study.


Further study

A world of opportunity

Postgraduate study can offer you a route into a new career, speed up your progress in your current job with professional qualifications – or be an essential component in qualifying to practise. Postgraduate qualifications tend to be divided into taught courses and research degrees and studentships. Degree apprenticeships are another option to consider for further study, if combining full time work and study is attractive to you.

Further study

Taught courses - PGT

Postgraduate qualifications that do not contain research elements are classed as postgraduate taught (PGT) courses. These can include:

Masters degrees

Masters degrees are level 7 qualifications that advance your studies in a particular subject area. The format is similar to an undergraduate degree and usually take 1-2 years to complete full time or 2-4 years part-time. Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MSc) degrees are the most popular type of Masters course, however there are many other types you can study:

  • LLM (Master of Laws)
  • MEng (Master of Engineering)
  • MEd (Master of Education
  • MArch (Master of Architecture)
  • MBA (Master of Business Administration)
  • MPhil (Master of Philosophy)
  • MRes (Master of Research) This is unique to the 'taught' courses since it does place more emphasis on research rather than developing knowledge within a subject area. There are taught modules within the MRes therefore it can still be classed a taught course.

Postgraduate certificates and diplomas

Postgraduate Certificates (PGCerts) and Postgraduate Diplomas (PGDips) are level 7 qualifications, like Masters degrees, but they take less time to study since they hold less credits and they do not have a dissertation element. You can study most subjects as a PGCert or PGDip and check with individual institutions if you want to 'top up' to a Masters – most will allow you to write a dissertation after the PGDip to achieve a full Masters.

Conversion courses

Conversion courses prepare you for a professional career that your undergraduate perhaps has not. Most conversion courses are Masters level but rather than include a dissertation, focus falls on practical training. If you feel you have studied a subject that doesn't lead into a specific career path, a conversion course may help you to do that. Popular conversion courses are:

  • Medicine
  • Psychology
  • Nursing
  • Engineering
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Journalism

Initial Teacher Training

QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) is required to become a teacher within the UK and there are postgraduate qualifications to provide this. A popular route is the PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) which is led by schools and/or universities. There are many routes into teaching, not all are postgraduate level qualifications so it is important to research the right route for you - take a look at Routes into teaching on the Prospects website.

Teach First

Teach First Graduate Scheme - Find out more about their salaried route into teaching.

Professional Qualifications

Professional qualifications are vocational courses and are typically an entry route into a specific job, or are used as professional development once in a job. They are awarded by professional associations and are evidence that you have met the minimum required standards to perform as expected within the profession. Popular professional qualifications awarded by professional associations include ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).

Further study

Research degrees - PGR

Postgraduate research qualifications that contain original academic research to advance you in a specific field are classed as postgraduate research (PGR) courses:

  • Research involves the in-depth study of a specific field, usually related to your first-degree subject. The results are presented as a written report known as a thesis or dissertation usually 70,000 – 100,000 words.
  • The most well-known research qualification is the PhD which usually lasts 3/4 years. There are a number of ways a PhD can be funded which you will need to be familiar with if this is something you want to do.
  • You can also apply for Research Assistantships - these are salaried posts that often offer the opportunity to study for a higher degree. There are also research opportunities outside universities such as the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships that work closely with industry.
Further study

Degree apprenticeships

Traditionally, apprenticeships were aimed at school leavers to combine study and full-time work as a training route into a profession after secondary school education. Nowadays, there are various levels of apprenticeship that people from all levels of education can consider:

  • Intermediate apprenticeships – equivalent to GCSE level education
  • Advanced apprenticeships – equivalent to A Level education
  • Higher apprenticeships – equivalent to foundation degree level education
  • Degree apprenticeships – equivalent to degree or masters degree level education

Apprenticeships are, for some, an attractive way to change career direction since you can study towards a qualification and gain work experience without the costs attached to it that qualifications normally have. The employers who provide apprenticeships, cover the costs for the study side of the apprenticeship and you receive a salary for the working element of the programme. Do your research into what salary you will receive as rates will differ dependent on the provider of the apprenticeship. Lower salaries are expected on apprenticeships due to the other costs associated with apprenticeships already being covered by the employer.

When you hold a degree already, you can still consider a degree apprenticeship, however, it must be in an unrelated subject.

Degree apprenticeships are offered within vocational subjects such as engineering, nursing, social work and management. Find more information on degree apprenticeships, such as the subject areas where they are offered, on the Prospects website and UCAS.com.

Masters degree apprenticeships are becoming more popular for further study and work, following an undergraduate degree. They are still being developed by employers, universities and professional associations, therefore there are a lower number available in comparison to degree apprenticeships. Find more information on Masters apprenticeships on the Prospects website.

Here at the University of Salford, we offer level 6 and 7 apprenticeships. To find out more, visit our Degree apprenticeships section.

Further study

Choosing a postgraduate course

Understanding what subject area you want to study, the length of time you wish to study, and if you want to study a taught or research based course will be a good starting point to choosing the right course for you. Other questions to ask yourself would be surrounding your career aims and what you wish to achieve by studying at this level.

You can then use the following websites to start your search:

Further study

Make a postgraduate application

Most postgraduate applications will be made directly to the institution itself however some courses may require you to apply via UCAS. It is important to check the application guidelines and information on the individual institution pages that you are interested in to find out where and how to apply.

Most postgraduate applications will require a personal statement, and for research postgraduate courses, a research proposal. You may also need to provide copies of certificates/transcripts of previous qualifications.

Always follow instructions you are given and tailor your application carefully. Typically, you will be asked to cover:

  • Reasons for wanting to do course and attend specific university
  • Relevance of your previous studies
  • Career aspirations
  • Relevant skills and experience gained from outside of your studies

My Postgrad Apps is an online system which can help you especially if applying for more than one course.

There are many resources available to help you with making postgraduate applications:

Further study

Funding postgraduate study

Funding for postgraduate study is available in various forms – loans, studentships, bursaries and grants, and some employers may assist you in funding a qualification if it has benefit to their business. Exploring and understanding the different sources of funding is therefore vital to ensure you are finding the best option for you.

The process to apply for a postgraduate loan is very similar to the undergraduate student loan, however there are differences once you have secured the loan. Researching this as well as your chosen course and qualification is advisable.

Details of fees for a particular course will usually be found on the course information pages of an institution.

There may be decisions you want to make - for example, whether to study full or part-time, where you will need to weigh up considerations over issues such as Council Tax liability, that may vary according to your status. In such cases you should check on our Money pages for the most up-to-date information.

Sources of information on funding

Institutional Scholarships and Awards

  • Most universities operate their own scholarship and award schemes. These vary considerably from full-fee studentships to smaller bursaries to help financial hardship. Search on individual institution websites for information. Applications will have a deadline connected to them.
  • Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships where fees are paid in return for undertaking teaching or research duties are sometimes offered. Opportunities are often advertised in newspapers such as The Times Higher Education Supplement and The Guardian (on a Tuesday). Information about bursaries at Salford generally can be found on our Money pages.
  • Companies can choose to sponsor postgraduate students through an institution. Such opportunities are often advertised in newspapers such as The Times Higher Education Supplement and The Guardian (on a Tuesday) but they may also be run on an ongoing basis with a particular institution.
  • Masterscompare - Masters Scholarship worth £5,000 for the academic year. More information can be found at: £5000 Masters Compare Scholarship | Postgraduate Scholarship UK

Professional Loan Schemes

If you're training for a professional qualification in, for example, law, dentistry or medicine, banks can offer professional or career development loan schemes. There is guidance offered by Save the Student: Professional and Career Development Loans guide - Save the Student.

Public funding: Research Councils

The most important sources of funding for postgraduate students in the UK are the Research Councils. These bodies are government-funded agencies engaged in the support of research in different disciplines. The Research Councils do not generally make studentship awards directly to students, but usually allocate them to departments in universities.

Further study

Further support

You can listen to our Postgraduate Options and Funding Explained Linked In Learning Pathway for more information.

For specific research queries and support, contact your school's Postgraduate Research Office:

Speak to a careers adviser

Our Careers Advisers are on hand to help. Book an appointment on Advantage or by calling 0161 295 0023 (option 5).

Appointments are available for current students and graduates of the University of Salford only.