Think about further study
You may be considering some form of postgraduate study once you graduate. This could be a 'vocational' course in an area such as teaching, law and nursing or a Master's degree or PhD.
There are many reasons for choosing postgraduate study or research.
- You might find that completing a further course provides an industry recognised qualification or training that enhances your career options. Bear in mind though that further study may not necessarily make a big difference for some careers and relevant work experience might be more useful.
- A PG qualification could be advantageous to the career you have in mind. It could be that some employers may relax their entry requirements in lieu of a master’s, or have a preference for postgraduate students.
- Finally, if you are really enjoy studying your subject, postgraduate study or research will allow you to deepen your knowledge and specialise in certain aspects.
Before you start applying for further study, make sure you have researched the various possible options, so that you understand how they fit in with your career plans, and how you can fund yourself.
If you want to discuss your reasons, come and talk to a careers adviser.
|Higher degrees by research||
The degree of Doctor of Philosophy, usually shortened to PhD (or DPhil at some universities) is awarded primarily on the basis of a thesis, which is the product of an original research project.
Tips to consider before you apply for a PhD
Careers after a PhD
A PhD is often viewed as an ‘apprenticeship’ for aspiring academics, but can also be a basis for employment in research, either in industry, government or the voluntary sector.
If you choose to do a PhD as the basis for an academic career, be realistic - each year, roughly half of those who obtain a PhD in the UK move into a research or teaching post in a higher education institution but this is often on a fixed-term basis of one to three years.
Some estimates suggest that only about ten percent will eventually obtain a permanent academic position, although the actual number varies across different disciplines.
|Postgraduate taught courses||
A typical master’s degree includes a mixture of teaching through lectures and seminars, a research project, a thesis or dissertation plus examinations.
Additionally, some master’s courses offer a ‘fast-track’ into a profession for those with a relevant undergraduate degree, for example, a bioscience graduate could undertake a two-year master’s course in physiotherapy or dietetics rather than completing another 3 year bachelor’s degree.
Tips to consider before applying for your course
Postgraduate study in the UK for international students
If you are an international student, you should begin researching postgraduate courses as early as possible and check with the university for their individual application procedures.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKISA) is the UK's national advisory body serving the interests of international students and those who work with them. It includes useful information covering ‘Making a Tier 4' (general application) to extend your permission to be in the UK as a student under Tier 4 of the points based system.
If you are interested in law you will need to apply through a central clearing house and in most cases there will be a fixed closing date for applications. Teaching, social work, nursing, medicine and dentistry require you to apply through UCAS.
|How to get funding||
The funding system for postgraduate study can be very complex so seek advice from the Careers Service if you need it.
Funding for PhDs
The majority of ‘home’ postgraduate researchers in the UK have their fees paid and receive a maintenance allowance via a studentship from one of the seven government funded Research Councils.
Each Research Council has responsibility for funding researchers in a specific group of subjects, and you will find details of these bodies and the subjects they cover on their website.
Research Councils do not accept applications directly from individuals. Instead, they allocate funding to universities and research centres and invite them to nominate suitable candidates. To find out how studentships are provided for researchers in your discipline check with your chosen institution and look at the relevant Research Council’s website.
To be eligible for a Research Council studentship you will need to have been resident in the UK for purposes other than study for at least three years prior to taking up the award and be free of any restrictions on your right to live in the country.
Other possible sources of funding are:
Funding for Master’s, Diplomas and Certificates
There are a range of funding sources available for courses:
Funding for international students
The British Council provides information to help you obtain scholarships if you are an international student.
|Postgraduate study for disabled students||
If you are a disabled or dyslexic student, you may wish to discuss your needs with the university you plan to apply to prior to making an application. Expert advice appears on the Disability Rights UK’s website.
Additional support and funding may be available to help cover disability-related course costs, for example via Disabled Students Allowances. You can find more information on the section of the Prospects website, Funding for students with disabilities
We provide additional resources if you are considering further study. They include everything from searching for the right course to finding funding.
Additionally, we hold a section for those of you interested in studying internationally. You will need to consider qualification equivalents, residency criteria, application procedures, possible funding support etc.
Choose your course carefully, especially if you plan to study a professional or vocational qualification in one country but want to practise in a different one. Do not assume qualifications awarded in some countries will automatically be recognised in others.