Careers ServicePostgraduate study and research

What types of Postgraduate study are available?

There are 2 types of postgraduate study:

  1. Research - Masters courses are usually one year full-time.
  2. Ph.D. 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 are mostly of one-year duration. They 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.

Think about what you hope to gain from further study, and the time and cost implications. This will help you decide whether it is right for you. Researching the options available to you will help you to make an informed choice.

Why students choose to do postgraduate study

  • seeking an academic challenge
  • to increase their knowledge, professional expertise, and skills
  • to progress their career
  • to develop research skills (Ph.D. and MRes courses)
  • to increase their chance of employment in a chosen field
  • to experience life in a different country at a university abroad

When choosing a course you need to consider:

  • 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 application
  • 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

Further information

This guide, New guidance for disabled students applying for postgraduate study, 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:

Study abroad

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

For general directories of international universities, see the list below:

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

Scholarships and grants (examples):

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


Scholarships and grants (examples) for USA:


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

The School of Business, Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) offers a FULL SCHOLARSHIP plus LIVING ALLOWANCE for various Business Taught Postgraduate Programmes to outstanding international applicants. Learn more about the scholarships and apply (apply by early June each year).

Research Grants Council of Hong Kong: Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme


Study in Japan includes information about Japanese universities, student exchanges, funding to study in Japan, student visas, how to apply and language requirements

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

Funding study abroad:


Postgraduate study:

Postgraduate Research funding:

Scholarships and grants examples:

  • 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

  • - a 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