Finding Out About Postgraduate Study and Research

There are 2 types of postgraduate study: Research - Masters courses are usually one year full-time and PhD usually 3 years full-time. These involve in-depth study of an aspect of your first degree or a closely allied subject. Taught - Masters, Diploma and Certificate courses, mostly of one year duration, prepare you for entry to a professional area. Note that an EngD is a combination of both - typically the first year is a taught programme, followed by 3 years research.

Postgraduate study is an increasingly popular direction for graduates, but applying for courses requires thought and preparation. Thinking about what you hope to gain from further study, and the time and cost implications, will help you decide whether it is right for you.  By thoroughly researching the options available to you, it will help you to make an informed choice.

  • Seeking an academic challenge
  • To increase their knowledge, professional expertise and skills
  • To develop research skills (PhD and MRes courses)
  • To gain a qualification that will progress their career
  • To increase their chance of employment in a chosen field
  • To experience life in a different country at a university abroad


  • How you want to study: full-time, part-time, distance learning, taught course or by research
  • Where you want to study: Do you want to study in the same institution or do you want to experience university somewhere else?
  • If the course is accredited or recognised by the industry body of the profession you want to enter
  • Competition for postgraduate courses can be high and so it is important that your application stands out.  You must show your motivation and commitment to further study and detail any relevant experience that adds value to your applicaton.
  • Many courses don't state specific closing dates but it is important to apply early to avoid disappointment particularly if you are also applying for funding.
  • Details of how and when to apply can be found on university websites.

This guide, designed to help students with a disability apply for a postgraduate course in the UK, has been published by the Disabled Students’ Commission and includes a helpful checklist.

Postgraduate Study

 Postgraduate Research

Studying abroad can be a life changing experience giving the opportunity to travel, learn about different cultures, meet new friends and enhance your CV.


A postgraduate course in another European country can offer considerable advantages, especially if you want to work in that country.  The experience can also be very broadening and add additional skills, such as languages.

  • Postgradireland and for information on p/g study in Ireland
  • Euraxess UK allows you to search for UK and international funding.  Funded studentships and fellowships in the UK and overseas are also advertised.
  • Europa Pages is useful for language courses in France, Spain and Germany and English courses in the UK and Ireland.
  • Eurydice is an information network on education in Europe including databases of all national education systems, with HE details.
  • Study.EU - information on English-taught study programmes across Europe 
  • Study in Europe - database of courses at state-accredited institutions across Europe


Individual countries in Europe

Funding for study in Europe

  • Anglo-Danish Society offers scholarship programme for British graduates studying in Denmark, and for Danish graduates studying in the UK

Australia offers many advantages for further study including a University system which is similar to the UK, meaning that British degrees are readily understood by Australian institutions.

  • Study in Australia is a website for advice on study in Australia.  It has extensive information on types of courses available, study costs, scholarships, student visas.
  • Studying in Australia has information on 10 of Australia's universities, including scholarships.
  • Australian government provides advice on studying in Australia
  • Study options - study in Australia or New Zealand


  • the US government's portal for international students.  It includes information on undergraduate and postgraduate study, short-term study and opportunities for scholars and funding.
  • Fulbright Commission website for information on postgraduate study in the USA.
  • The Thouron Award covers full tuition fees and health insurance for up to two years of post-graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania. Applications for the coming year close on 1 November. You can see more information on the award here or contact Jennie Eldridge from the Thouron team directly with any questions at Fay Lockett, a Thouron scholar during the 2020/21 academic year, has written about her experience of studying at the University of Pennsylvania through the Thouron Award programme. You can read the blog here.
  • World Education Services - guide to grade equivalence for US study.


Peterson's information to help you to choose colleges and courses, and includes the International Scholarship Search database for possible sources of finance.


Funding study abroad


Postgraduate Research funding

  • Make direct contact if you already know the course you want to follow or the institution you want to study at. Their postgraduate prospectus or website will provide you with course information and, in many cases, the name of someone from whom you can find out more.
  • Get individual advice from a Careers Consultant
  • Get advice on funding from Strathclyde's Student Financial Support Team
  • Prepare a winning application
  • Searchable database of courses across the world 
  • QS Top Universities QS rankings for the top universities across the world
  • Studylink  Studylink allows you to search for university courses around the world. The site also has advice on visas, applications, funding and entry requirements as well as country profiles
  • Universities Worldwide A searchable database of universities around the world. Users can search the database by country or by US state.