Postgraduate FAQs

Environment and life sciences students

Not sure what type of study is right for you or where to start? Have a look at our FAQs below. If you still have any questions, please get in touch using the live chat or using the details below.

Common questions about postgraduate study

What’s the difference between a postgraduate research and postgraduate taught course?

Postgraduate study can be defined in one of two ways; postgraduate taught (PGT), and postgraduate research (PGR). PGT degrees tend to be more similar to an undergraduate degree in style; you’ll have a timetable with set lectures and seminars, and follow set modules. PGR degrees give you the opportunity for more independent study, with the chance to focus on more detailed research or projects.

PGT courses include:

  • PG Certificate – usually three to four months of study comprising of two 30-credit modules.
  • PG Diploma – normally equal to two full-time semesters, with students usually completing four 30-credit modules or equivalent.
  • MA, MSc , MLitt, MEng, MPhys, etc – the most common PGT qualification, the majority of full time master’s courses are taught over one calendar year. They typically feature two semesters of teaching, comprised of four 30-credit modules and an end of year dissertation or project, which is equivalent to a 60-credit double-module.
  • MBA – A master’s in Business Administration, this is a degree programme designed specifically for those in a business management capacity with at least two years’ of work experience looking to enhance their skills in an academic environment to later return to work and progress their career.

PGR courses include:

  • MPhil – usually completed over two years of study. The dissertation is normally shorter than at PhD, and the course is often inclusive in PhD study.
  • MRes - A research focused master’s degree that offers less teaching but a chance to complete a much larger research project. An MRes is a great degree for students wishing to progress to a PhD.
  • PhD – the most common research degree and the highest level of study achievable, the PhD student completes an intense period of research in a chosen field, supported by a PhD supervisor. The degree is normally taken by those looking to forge a career in academia. PhD’s usually take three to four years to complete if studying full time, and between six to eight years for part-time students.

Professional Doctorate (Prof Doc) – the Prof Doc qualification differs from the PhD by being more attuned to pursuing professional rather than academic careers, lasting between two to five years of full-time study.

Isn’t a research degree only for people who want to become academics?

If you’re interested in academia or research, then a PhD is likely to be required. However, many people choose to study for a research degree because it gives them something professional alongside their academic achievement. Certain courses come with certain accreditations that may be necessary for particular professions. Alternatively, they can be studied as a passion project, giving you the opportunity to research something in more detail than you have at an undergraduate level.

Are there any funding options or student loans for postgraduate study?

  • UK students

If you're a home student and want to study at postgraduate level, you may be entitled to a government-backed loan of up to £11,222 for a master’s degree or £26,445 for a doctoral degree.

  • EU students

If you’re an EU student and starting a course on or after 1 August 2021, you must have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to be able to receive student finance.

Check eligibility and apply online on the government's student finance website

  • International students

Find out more about the costs of studying here and explore the scholarships and financial support available for international students.

Any students self-funding their studies can pay for the tuition fees in full (and receive a 3% discount), or in instalments by setting up a payment plan.

If you’re a University of Salford graduate, your postgraduate tuition fees could be discounted by 20%. Discounts apply for UK, EU or international students who’ve studied a level 6 (BA (Hons), BSc (Hons), BEng (Hons), LLB (Hons), MChem, MEnv, MPhys or Grad Dip), level 7 (master’s) or level 8 (doctoral) course with us.

Find out more about postgraduate fees and funding options.

How long does it take to study a postgraduate course?

This depends on the course that you chose. Duration can range from one semester for a single module, to up to eight years for a PhD. Check out the relevant course page for details of the duration of your chosen course.

Can I just take a postgraduate level module, rather than a full course?

Of course, we offer a range of single modules, with a particular focus on the area of health care. Should you wish to continue your studies, this may then count as credit towards your degree.

Do I need to choose a postgraduate course that’s in the same subject area as my undergraduate degree?

A common misconception is that you must study the same subject area as a postgraduate student that you did when completing your undergraduate degree. Whilst you will have a range of options that link to your previous subject, there are also a wide number of degrees you can do, regardless of the subject you studied before.

You can use postgraduate study to apply the skills gained as an undergraduate student in a different way or look to branch out to a different career completely.

At the University of Salford, we offer nearly 50 different master’s programmes that are open to students who have a good honours degree, usually a 2:2 or above, in any subject.

By studying one of these master’s degrees you’ll get the chance to learn from industry experts and gain valuable practical experience. On some programmes you’ll also get recognised accreditations that can further your career.

Find out more about this option

How do I apply?

The application process varies slightly depending on whether you’re applying for a taught or research degree. We provide full details in our postgraduate taught and postgraduate research sections of our website, which includes information for home, EU and international students. 

What’s the application deadline?

There’s no set deadline, but you should apply at least four weeks before the course starts for postgraduate taught degrees and six weeks before the course starts for postgraduate research degrees. There may of course be instances where we need to close applications earlier if the course is full, so we advise applying as soon as possible.

International students can find a list of application deadlines on our international applications page.

Many of our postgraduate courses also have multiple intakes each year. For more information, please see our list of alternative start dates by date and school.

I’ve seen a course but not sure it’s right for me, how can I find out more?

Why not attend one of our events, where you can speak to our staff to find out if the course is right for you? We run Open Days and other events throughout the year, so have a look at what’s coming up next.

Can I study part-time or online?

Yes, many of our courses offer the opportunity to study via distance learning, or on a part-time basis. More details are available on our website.

Who can I contact to find out more?

There are loads of ways you can get in touch with us; phone, email, live chat or via our social channels. Simply visit our contact page and pick the best option for you.