The UK is world renowned for its academic excellence and is the global leader in quality of reasearch. What's more, many UK master's degree programmes can be completed in just one year, offering great value for money and allowing you to move on with your career more quickly.

Studying for a postgraduate degree in the UK can transform your career.

UK postgraduate course types

Master's degree

A master’s degree is a second-level qualification after you have completed an undergraduate degree.

It allows you to gain more knowledge in your undergraduate degree subject, or to go in a completely different direction. You usually study a subject in a lot of depth, often with a long piece of original work at the end called a thesis or dissertation.

There are two main types of master’s degrees: taught and research.

Some common master’s degrees include:

  • MA (Master of Arts) in a wide range of arts or humanities subjects.
  • MSc (Master of Science).
  • A range of subject-specific qualifications including MEng (Master of Engineering), MFA (Master of Fine Arts), LLM (Master of Laws), MArch (Master of Architecture), and more.
  • Courses leading to an MPhil (Master of Philosophy) qualification, which are research-led and often designed for students to progress to a PhD.

Note that some Scottish universities offer an undergraduate degree called a Scottish Masters of Arts. This shouldn’t be confused with a postgraduate master’s.

MBA courses

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is an internationally recognised qualification which gives you the skills you need for a successful management career.

PhDs or doctorates

A Doctor of Philosophy, or doctorate (PhD/DPhil), is the highest academic level a student can achieve. These degrees are very demanding and often lead to careers in academia (as a lecturer or researcher). Most students will complete a master’s degree before they do a PhD, although this isn’t always necessary.

Postgraduate diplomas and qualifications

‘Postgrad’ certificates and diplomas allow students to study something new or build on the skills and knowledge already gained during their undergraduate degree. They are usually shorter than a master’s and you won’t have to do a thesis or dissertation.

Professional and vocational qualifications

These qualifications help you improve or gain skills for specific jobs. Most awards involve practical training. This gives you the opportunity to experience a job first-hand.

Conversion courses

A conversion course is a vocational postgraduate qualification usually taken by graduates who want to change subject area after their first degree. Often students do this to develop more professional skills. For example, you could study History for your undergraduate degree and do a Law conversion course to begin your career as a lawyer.

Search for a course

  • Search on Prospects - Prospects provide one of the most comprehensive post-graduate course searches with details on master degrees, MBA courses, PhD study, post-graduate diplomas and certificates, Law qualifications and Teacher Training. 
  • Search on UCAS - UCAS also offer some postgraduate course search options.

See also