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What is a Postgraduate Degree?

what is a postgraduate degree

A postgraduate degree is one of the most valuable degrees you can have. It is not just about having the degree, but what it stands for.

A postgraduate degree signifies that you are someone who has gone above and beyond in their education and takes their studies seriously. You also show that you are committed to your profession or trade by obtaining this type and level of qualification.

But what is a Postgraduate degree?

Luckily you are in the right place to find out more!

what is a postgraduate degree

The Origin Of Degrees

Degrees have been around for centuries, and the postgraduate degree is no different. The first postgraduate degrees were in theology and law, dating back to the 12th century. A postgraduate degree in theology was most commonly referred to as a doctorate or “Doctor of Divinity.”

The first postgraduate degree in law was known as a “Doctor of Laws” and was awarded by the University of Oxford in 1341.

The First Postgraduate Degree in a Profession

In the 17th century, postgraduate degrees were introduced to be awarded by universities in professions other than theology and law. The first postgraduate degree in a profession was the “Master of Arts,” which was introduced by the University of Cambridge in 1636.

This degree was originally designed for those who had completed an undergraduate degree and wished to pursue further studies in a different area.

The First Postgraduate Degree for Graduates

In 1833, the University of London introduced a postgraduate degree for graduates called the “Doctor of Science.” This degree was designed for those who had completed an undergraduate science degree and wished to pursue further studies in their area of interest.

Postgraduate Degrees Today

Today, postgraduate degrees are still awarded for professions other than theology and law (which can now be obtained as postgraduate degrees too). However, the postgraduate degree has also evolved to include graduate study programs.

A graduate study program is a course of study that is offered to those who have completed an undergraduate degree. While it does not necessarily mean you are continuing your studies, this type of program can allow you to specialize in a certain area or gain more knowledge and skills in your chosen profession.

What is a Postgraduate Degree?

A postgraduate degree is essentially a graduate study program. However, the term “postgraduate” simply refers to those who have completed an undergraduate degree. This means that a postgraduate degree can be in any field of study and is not limited to professions or trades.

How to Apply for a Postgraduate Degree?

The process of applying for a postgraduate degree can vary depending on the university you are interested in. However, it is usually a two-step process.

The first step involves meeting the entry requirements for postgraduate studies and ensuring you meet any prerequisites that are required. The second step is the application process, which usually includes submitting an application form, writing a personal statement, and providing academic transcripts.

Postgraduate Degree Types

There are several different types of postgraduate degrees that have been awarded over the years. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common postgraduate degrees:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Doctorate (Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Science, Doctor of Medicine, etc.)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Master of Laws (LLM)
  • Master of Engineering (ME)
  • and Master of Veterinary Science (MVSc)

How long does it take to get a Postgraduate Degree?

Again, this depends on the university you are interested in and the type of postgraduate degree you wish to pursue. However, most Masters degrees take one to two years to complete.

PhDs take between three and eight years to complete, but this can be extended if your research is particularly time-consuming. One of the longest PhDs was completed by Dr. Marie-Louise Meaney of the University of Sydney, Australia. It took her 29 years to complete her degree.

Postgraduate Degrees Online

In recent years, online postgraduate degree programs have become increasingly popular. This is mainly because postgraduate degrees are graduate study programs, which means they can be completed from anywhere. Many universities provide online postgraduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines, and there are many programs to choose from.

How Much Does a Postgraduate Degree Cost?

Postgraduate degrees can vary in cost depending on the university and program you choose. However, most postgraduate courses are less expensive when compared to undergraduate degrees. The average Masters course in America costs around $11,000, while the average Ph.D. costs around $18,000.

However, it is possible to gain funded Ph.D. positions, which means the research institution will pay for your tuition fees, living costs, and other expenses. For example, there are currently over 18,000 Ph.D. students in the United Kingdom receiving full funding from their research institutions.

what is the postgraduate degree

All About The Benefits

As postgraduate degrees are graduate study programs, they provide unique benefits not found in undergraduate studies. The biggest benefit of a postgraduate degree is that it can increase your earning potential.

A study by the Australian Council for Educational Research found that those with a postgraduate degree earn an average of $27,000 more per year than those with an undergraduate degree.

Greater career opportunities…

Another benefit of a postgraduate degree is that it can give you greater career opportunities, as certain professions require postgraduate qualifications. For example, it is often necessary to complete a Ph.D. or Master of Philosophy in a field such as medicine, law, and science.

Other benefits can include:

  • Improved critical thinking and research skills.
  • Opportunity to network with other professionals in your field.
  • A deeper understanding of your chosen profession.
  • Improved employment prospects and earning potential.

What Are The Downsides To A Postgraduate Degree?

Although postgraduate degrees are beneficial in many ways, they do come with some downsides. The biggest downside is that you will need to invest a lot of time and effort into completing postgraduate degrees, so it is not something you can do half-heartedly. Postgraduate programs require a high level of commitment and motivation, so you need to be sure that this is what you want before applying.

Another downside is the cost. As mentioned earlier, postgraduate degrees can be expensive, so you need to make sure you have the financial resources to cover your expenses.

What Are The Best Postgraduate Degrees?

This is a difficult question to answer, as the best postgraduate degree depends on your individual needs and goals. However, some of the most common postgraduate degrees are the Master of Business Administration, MBA; Master of Arts, MA, or M.A.; and Doctorate (Ph.D.), D.Phil., D.Litt., etc.

The most prestigious universities to attend also depend on your chosen program and discipline, but some of the best universities in the world include Harvard University (USA), Oxford (UK), and Cambridge (UK).

What Is The Weirdest Postgraduate Degree?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the weirdest postgraduate degree depends on your definition of weird. However, some of the most unusual postgraduate degrees include:

  • Ph.D. in Packaging from the School of Packaging at Michigan State University (MSU), which aims to “prepare students for research careers in packaging, product development or marketing.”
  • Master of Science in Coffee Brewing and Service Technique from the University of California, Davis.
  • Master of Wine and a Doctorate in Oenology from MSU for all you wine lovers out there.
  • Doctorate in Manga Studies from Japan’s Kyoto Seika University, which is “the world’s first doctoral degree program dedicated to the study of manga.”
  • Master of Science in Cheese from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which “focuses on the business, science, and production of cheese.”
  • Parapsychology is also considered a weird postgraduate degree, as it is the study of psychic phenomena such as telekinesis and extrasensory perception.
  • Thanatology is the study of death and dying, so it may not be the most cheerful postgraduate degree out there.
  • Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology from the University of Edinburgh, which “offers an in-depth exploration of myth, legend, and folklore.”

Finished Your Studies And Ready To Work?

Congratulations! Now, let’s help you create your all-important resume by checking out our advice on How To Write A Letter of Interest, and How To Address A Cover Letter, or how about the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume, or Achievements To List On Your Resume, and How To List Education On A Resume to get you started.

We’ve also found these incredible guides online, such as the Resume Format Guide, the English for Academic CVs, Resumes, and Online Profiles, or perhaps Resume Writing: 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips, the Resume Formats handbook, and finally Marketing Yourself in the Age of Digital all available in 2023.

Of course, you’ll want your online profile to stand out from the crowd. For that, take a look at CVs, Resumes, and LinkedIn, as well as Ignite Your LinkedIn Profile, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile, and of course the ever popular LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies, or LinkedIn For Dummies to get you working in no time!

Final Thoughts

Postgraduate degrees are great programs that can help you develop your skills and improve your career prospects. However, they do come with some downsides, so you need to be sure that this is what you want before applying.

There are many universities around the world that offer a wide range of postgraduate degrees, so it is important to do your research to find out what a postgraduate degree is and to find the right program for you.

Good luck with your Postgraduate Degree studies!

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