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Which is the right Postgraduate qualification for you?

Masters degrees and PhDs are the types of degrees that usually come to mind when postgraduate study is in mention. However, there are a range of postgraduate qualifications that could just as easily help you achieve your goals – and that is why it is important to know your options. As an aspiring postgraduate student, you are looking at enrolling on one of the following types of qualifications:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)
  • Masters (MA/MSc)
  • Research (PhD)

Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma vs Masters degree

The most obvious difference between a Masters degree and Postgraduate Certificates or Diplomas is duration. While Masters courses usually take between one and two years to complete, Certificates and Diplomas may last from a few months to no more than a year. This is mainly due to differences in the structure of the courses.

Masters courses focus more on research and the contribution of new knowledge in their field. In that respect, they consist of more modules and require more time (and money) to complete and attain your professional qualification. At the same time, of course, they are a great way for you to gain entry into a PhD, especially as many programmes allow students to tailor course content to their individual interests through a number of available elective modules.

Certificates and Diplomas, on the other hand, are made up of fewer modules. They both explore advanced concepts in your chosen area, even though Certificates are introductory in their approach while Diplomas usually delve deeper into it. Both can help you realise the extent to which you would like to expand your knowledge in your field and test your level of commitment to postgraduate study. And if you intend to complete a Master’s degree but do not meet the entry requirements, a Certificate or Diploma will cover the ground you need to get in. Many Diplomas are also accredited by professional organisations, which means that you can use them to pursue any professional opportunities.

How to decide?

Before you start researching, take some time to ask yourself what you want to achieve with a postgraduate degree and how fast you want to complete it. Whether to climb up the career ladder, change careers altogether or just expand your knowledge in a subject you are passionate about, the motivation behind your goals is the best guide towards choosing the type of qualification that is right for you.

If obtaining a Masters degree is your ultimate goal, just remember that there is more than one pathway to get there. You don’t have to make a decision right from the start, if you are unsure. A Certificate or Diploma could either fully cover your needs or pave the way for you to get there. Just start your studies and see for yourself where they can take you.

To find out more about our postgraduate courses, the types of degrees we offer and which is the right degree for you, visit us for an Open Day. We hold events around the year to help you discover the benefits of being a postgraduate student at Leeds Beckett University.

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