Post Grad Courses??

Apart from starting employment, the other main option open to you when you finish your degree is to go on to do a post grad course.  But you must first research and question the post grad courses available to you.


You will usually need a good honours degree (2:1 or above) to get on to a post graduate course, however in some cases a 2:2 or a pass degree will suffice.


Usually, your first degree must be in an area that is related to the postgraduate subject. Sometimes, you can enter a postgraduate course with a first degree in any subject. Please check prospectuses carefully.


You might want to study your degree subject to a higher level or to specialise in one particular area. While first degrees are usually more general, post grad courses allow you to specialise.


A postgraduate qualification can be desirable and can provide competitive advantage for entry to a specific career direction. This can especially be the case where lots of graduates are competing for entry to that career.


For some careers, you must usually have a postgraduate qualification for entry. Examples include astronomer, solicitor and art therapist. You will need to research the career you are interested in to find out if you need a postgraduate qualification to gain enter.


Some postgraduate courses provide a quicker or ‘accelerated’ entry route for people who don’t have the required first degree for entry to a career.


For example, medicine degree courses usually take up to seven years to complete. However, graduates can take accelerated four-year courses to qualify. You would usually need a related first degree to enter, eg, a biological science, although some courses accept graduates in any subject.


Some funding is available for post grad courses, and you will have to apply for this at the same time as you apply for the post grad courses. However, competition for funding is often intense, so you may not receive a grant even if you get a place on a course.


You can talk to your tutors or the university careers service to find out about sources of funding.


Post grad courses are either research-based (eg, a research Masters, PhD or MPhil) or taught (eg, a taught Masters).


On a research-based postgraduate course, you usually work on a single piece of research. You research work is submitted at the end of the course, and you will usually have to discuss your research in front of an examining board.


Taught post grad courses are usually made up of units and modules, with coursework and exams. You would usually complete a dissertation towards the end of the course.


If you are considering going on to postgraduate study, you will need to ask yourself some of the following:


  • Will this qualification improve my employment prospects?
  • Have I got the motivation for more study?
  • Will I still be able to do the course if I don’t receive funding?
  • Am I taking another course just to put off making a career decision?


Diarmuid Haughian

MA Career Guidance, QCG

Diarmuid is the founder and Managing Director of  He can be contacted on

Post Grad Courses

Post Grad Courses