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, 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.
Taught courses - PGT
- Masters are level 7 qualifications that advance your expertise in specific subjects
- Full-time: 1-2 years | Part-time: 2-4 years
- Popular choices: MA (Master of Arts), MSc (Master of Science)
Explore other options such as:
- LLM (Master of Law),
- 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 (PGCerts) and Postgraduate Diplomas (PGDips):
- Equivalent to Masters degrees (Level 7)
- Less time to complete, no dissertation required
- Study a wide range of subjects
- Many institutions offer a pathway to upgrade to a full Masters, provided you write a dissertation.
- Prepares you for a professional career
- Focuses on practical training rather than dissertations
- Ideal if your undergraduate degree doesn't align with your desired career
- Popular conversion courses: Medicine, Psychology, Nursing, Engineering, Law, Marketing, Journalism.
Initial Teacher Training:
Become a UK teacher with postgraduate qualifications:
QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) is required to become a teacher in a school in England
Popular option: PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) led by schools and/or universities but there are other routes
Do your research to ensure you’re taking the right path - explore Routes into teaching on the Prospects website.
Check out Teach First Graduate Scheme for a salaried teaching path.
- Vocational courses for job entry or professional development
- Awarded by professional associations
- Prove your competence in the field
- Popular qualifications: ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).
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:
- Conduct original academic research in your field, usually related to your first-degree subject
- Present your findings in a thesis (70,000 - 100,000 words)
- Popular research qualification: PhD (3/4 years)
- Explore funding opportunities, including Research Assistantships Doctoral Loan: Overview - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- You can also apply for Research Assistantships - these are salaried posts that often offer the opportunity to study for a higher degree. Industry collaborations like the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships also offer research opportunities.
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:
Apprenticeship Options: Intermediate (GCSE level), Advanced (A Level), Higher (foundation degree level), and Degree (degree or masters degree level)
With apprenticeships, you can gain a qualification, work experience and a salary at the same time without the usual costs. 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.
Degree apprenticeships are an option even if you already have a degree, but it must be in an unrelated subject. They are offered within vocational subjects like engineering, nursing, social work, and management.
Masters degree apprenticeships are gaining popularity for postgraduate study and work. These types of apprenticeships are still in development so there is a low volume available compared to other apprenticeships. Find more information on degree apprenticeships on Prospects website and UCAS.com.
Here at the University of Salford, we offer level 6 and 7 apprenticeships. To find out more, visit our Degree apprenticeships section.
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:
- University of Salford: Postgraduate Study
- FindAMasters - A searchable database of Masters degree programmes in the UK & Ireland
- Postgraduate study | Prospects.ac.uk - Detailed information on postgraduate opportunities available, including an online database to search for relevant openings
- Jobs | Job Search | Job Vacancies on jobs.ac.uk - Used by the research, science, academic and related professions to advertise research and studentships opportunities
- Find A PhD - A large database of postgraduate research degrees and PhD studentships
- Newspapers - Research posts and Research Assistantships are advertised throughout the year in the educational press such as The Guardian and The Times Higher Education Supplement. Relevant specialist magazines in your field of interest are also worth checking - for example, the New Scientist
- Steps to Postgraduate Study - Provides information and tools to help decision-making about what postgraduate taught course to study
- Degree Apprenticeships (Level 6 & 7) | Find Apprenticeships – Search for level 6 and level 7 apprenticeships
- Degree apprenticeships | ucas.com
Make a postgraduate application
Apply directly to institutions or through UCAS as required
Check individual institution pages for application guidelines
Prepare a compelling personal statement, and research proposal (for research courses)
Gather copies of certificates/transcripts for 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
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:
- Masters Applications: Applying for a Masters degree | Prospects.ac.uk
- PhD research proposals: How to write a successful research proposal | Prospects.ac.uk
- Apprenticeships: Degree apprenticeships: How to apply for an apprenticeship | Prospects.ac.uk
Funding postgraduate study
Secure funding for postgrad studies:
Explore loans, studentships, bursaries, and grants
Employers may assist with funding if beneficial for their business
Understand postgrad loan processes and course fees
Consider full or part-time study and check Council Tax liability. (Full time students are exempt and part time can claim reductions)
Check our Money pages for the latest info.
Sources of information on funding
Funding for postgraduate study - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) – These government pages provide an overview of the funding available through Student Finance England.
Postgraduate Scholarships - A Guide for 2021 (findamasters.com) – This FindAMasters page details a variety of scholarships, grants and bursaries available through universities, government funded bodies and charities.
A Simple Introduction to PhD Funding | FindAPhD.com< - This FindAPhD page provides a useful overview to funding a PhD.
Get Into Teaching: Funding your training (education.gov.uk) – The Get into Teaching website provides details of the funding you are eligible for when teacher training.
International PhD Funding in the UK - This FindAPhD page explains how PhD funding works in the UK and has details of scholarships and studentships.
Prospects website - Provides a useful summary of all the main sources of potential funding for further study and allows you to search for sources of funding. They produce a vidcast with key advice for students on funding postgraduate study.
The Grants Register, published by Palgrave. A copy is usually available for reference in most public libraries and there is a copy in the Library.
Postgraduate Funding | Scholarships and Student Bursaries (postgraduatesearch.com) - This database lets you search for university departments that are currently offering scholarships, bursaries and awards.
Fighting UK Poverty - Turn2us - A free online searchable facility of funding sources.
PostgraduateStudentships - Provides students with listings of the latest general and charity funding available for Masters and PhD Study
Institutional Scholarships and Awards
Check university websites for scholarships, awards, and bursaries. Deadlines apply, so be proactive
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. Information about bursaries at Salford are found on the Money pages.
Explore external scholarships like the £5,000 Masterscompare Scholarship. Find more info at £5000 Masters Compare Scholarship | Postgraduate Scholarship UK.
Professional Loan Schemes
Research councils are an important source of funding for UK postgraduate students. The Research Councils do not generally make studentship awards directly to students, but usually allocate them to departments in universities.
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)- Supports research in humanities and creative arts.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) - Focuses on non-medical life sciences.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - Addresses economic and social issues.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - Funds engineering and physical sciences research.
Medical Research Council (MRC)- Advances medical and related sciences.
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)- Supports earth, marine, and environmental sciences.
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) - Covers physics, astronomy, and space science.
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:
- Arts and Media: PGR-SupportSAM@salford.ac.uk
- Salford Business School: PGR-SupportSBS@salford.ac.uk
- Science, Engineering and Environment: PGR-SupportSSEE@salford.ac.uk
- Health and Society: PGR-SupportSHAS@salford.ac.uk