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Types of Postgraduate Study

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30 Dec

LiveWebTutors General Blog

Types of Postgraduate Study

Complete Information That You Ever Want to Know on Postgraduate Studies

 Your education is a dress rehearsal of a life which is yours to lead”

-Nora Ephron

So, aim for higher and better education to lead a better life!

Postgraduate education involves studying and learning for the professional degrees, professional or academic certificates and diplomas etc. The basic structure and organization of postgraduate education vary from country to country. In this article, we endeavor to outline the main types of post graduate degrees or studies.

Primarily, there are four different types of postgraduate courses. They are:

  • Taught courses
  • Research Degrees
  • Professional Qualifications
  • Conversion courses

Let us begin with Taught Courses

Taught Courses:

These courses include different types of Masters Degrees and the post-graduate diplomas that are certified courses.

  • A postgraduate certificate course lasts for about four months and a diploma course lasts for about nine months.
  • These two basic-level qualifications can provide a route to different types of careers and they can serve as a stepping stone towards studying for a Master degree. Sometimes these degrees are awarded to those students as well who do not complete their Masters.

Taught Masters takes about one or two years and involves completion of a project or dissertation.

  • Taught courses are popular among students and they are led by a tutor. Students pursuing taught courses are expected to attend the weekly lectures and seminars. There are different streams like Masters of Arts (MA), Masters of Engineering (M.E), Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A) and Masters of Science (M.Sc.) etc. Courses can be chosen according to the interests of candidates.

Important to Remember:

Not all taught Masters Courses are entirely taught. Candidates can do Master of Research degree or MRe which is more like an independent research work. MRe qualification comes under the category of taught course but more than 60% of this course is an individual research.

Acquiring Master’s Degree (M.A, M.F.A, MBA)

This is one of the most common types of post graduate study. Normally, it consists of just 1 or 2 years of study. Master’s programs cover a wide variety of specialties that include humanities, arts (M.A or MFA), MBA Masters of Business Administration and MS Masters of Science and Technology.

These all Master's courses have a combined structured coursework and on completing of these courses, students need to submit a thesis (which is a prime requirement).

In the recent years, MBA has gained an immense popularity among students. This Masters course opens a doorway to opportunities and better job prospects.

Research Degrees

Those who love to get immersed in the subject of their choice should pursue research degrees. These degrees are also known as doctorates and with the completion of this degree; candidates acquire the title of a doctor.

  • The principle kinds of doctorate programs are PhDs, DPhils and several other integrated PhDs and professional doctorates.
  • Doctorates can be taken after the Master’s degree and sometimes after a bachelor’s degree.
  • Doctorates take 4 years to complete but sometimes it takes a longer time.
  • The main component of PhD is a doctoral thesis which runs to 120,000 words and it is a research project on any specialist topic.
  • Thesis should be able to present something new to the studies that can be utterly useful.

Important to Note:

An MPhil is similar to a PhD but easier. Instead of having to complete a tedious and time-consuming thesis, candidates pursuing M. Phil would be asked to carry out a research project comprising of 30-35K words. So, M. Phil is not as challenging as PhD and does not have the same reputation. However, it is also a respected academic qualification.

There are some new PhDs in the market. They are known as new route PhDs. They have been going for more than a decade and aimed and providing students taught courses and practical experience. These are professional doctorates that combine professional skills with academics and prepare the students to acquire jobs on completing it. These PhDs are more vocational types than the traditional PhDs and prepare the students for jobs.

What are conversion courses?

Postgraduate conversion courses are a lifeline for all those students who have not take-up an undergraduate course for the profession they want to adopt. These courses are smooth sail through if you do not have any idea about the profession you think you would adopt in future.

  • These courses are about one-year and are kept under the category of taught course.
  • These courses include teaching for which the graduates need a one-year PGCE or Postgraduate Certificate of Education.

Conversion courses for architecture, social work, dentistry, medicine and law etc.

  • Postgraduate conversion courses have a law that the students who need to take law graduation conversion course if they have acquired a degree in some other stream and wish to become a legal practitioners. They also have to take a Bar professional training course or a legal practice course.
  • Medicine is another stream where the students need to take a 4-year graduate entry level medical course if the first degree is in a stream other than Medicine.
  • If graduates of other subjects want to pick up dentistry, they need to pursue a 4-year course.
  • Aspiring architects also have to take a postgraduate course in addition to their Bachelor’s of Arts.
  • Social work is a stream where candidates need to take a 2-year postgraduate course.

For the professions like Engineering, Pharmacology and Journalism

  • Masters are options in certain stream like pharmacy and journalism etc. But, it is always desirable. Journalism is a non-graduate profession and it takes the entrants that have first degrees. These degrees are much sought after because they enable the students to pick up careers of their choice.
  • Pharmacology is yet another industry where higher degree is desirable but it is optional.
  • The same holds true for Engineering. Master of Engineering is a valuable degree for the students who want to embrace Engineering as a career option.

Businesses-MSc, MBA and MA

  • An MBA degree is one of the most-sought after post graduate studies. It is highly desirable and over the years it has gained an immense amount of popularity.
  • Though there are different degrees in business also but MBA is the most popular one. It lasts for about 2 years and it is the priciest one. It can help you change your career and move to a highly paid job.
  • There are MScs and MAs that can help the students to become academicians and are easily affordable. There are certain other studies like Masters of finance with a great track record of enabling the post graduate students secure highly paid jobs in the financial sector.

A Few More Desirable Post Graduate Degrees:

Juris Doctors Degree (J.D)

Those who are interested in picking up the career in law and going to the law school can acquire JD or Juris Doctor Degree. It is considered as a first step towards adopting a legal career. It is a three-year program with a focus on both the general and legal principles. A Juris doctoral degree enables the students to work on the different aspects of law and become an advocate.

It is good to know that after completing this degree, candidates can also choose to be a non-practicing attorney and can choose entrepreneurship.

Doctor of Medicine:

Yet another popular and prestigious post graduate degree is M.D or Doctor of Medicine. This 4-year combining course-work with a clinical practice develops the skills of students and helps them adopt a career as physician.

Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)

It is more or less like a M.D program only and it is meant for those students who want to become dentists. It is structured as a 4-year program which combines the clinical practices and academic studies. The entire dental anatomy and patient care is taught in the program. Like medicine, acquiring a DDS degree ensures a high earning potential particularly in the more specialized areas like oral surgeries.

Choosing the right post graduate course is one of the most important decisions of any student’s life. When they know what each program entails they are able to pick up the right program of their choice.

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