Postgraduate / Further Study

Postgraduate or further study can better qualify you for a graduate job, but this is not always the case. You need to be sure that the additional work and cost involved is worth it and that it will indeed help you to secure the job you want.  Come to a Career Coaching appointment to discuss your options and how to apply.

Postgraduate courses

Postgraduate courses generally fall into one of two categories:

  • Taught programmes: Masters programmes, postgraduate certificates and diploma courses, professional qualifications and some other specialist courses. A taught Masters programme (e.g. an MA or MSc) is likely to last 12 months full-time or two years part-time. A postgraduate diploma/certificate is likely to last nine months full-time.
  • Research programmes: Doctoral degrees (PhD, DPhil), research Masters degrees (e.g. MRes, MPhil). Research Masters degrees are likely to last two years full-time. Doctoral degrees are likely to be three years full-time, although may take longer.
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Before making the decision to apply for a course, consider the following:

  • Is the course essential to achieving your long term career aspirations?
  • Which Universities have the best reputation for your subject?
  • What are the entry requirements? Are you being realistic about your capabilities?
  • How is the course structured? What are the teaching and assessment methods?
  • If the course is vocational, what is the practical component?
  • How do employers view the course?
  • Is funding an issue? Would it be cheaper to find a course nearer to home or a part-time course you could combine with working?
  • How is the department structured? What is its reputation?
  • What support is given to postgraduate students by the department and the university where you wish to study?
  • PhD students - Who would be your supervisor?

Finding a course

Look at the department website of the institution/s where you are considering studying.

Useful links:

Usually applicants for MRes/PhD or MPhil/PhD should submit a detailed research proposal. You should state your research topic as accurately as possible and should address the following questions:

  • What is your general topic?
  • What questions do you want to answer?
  • What is the key literature and its limitations?
  • What are the main hypotheses of the work?
  • What methodology do you intend to use?
  • What are your case studies, if any, and what are your case selection criteria?


Fees can vary for postgraduate study and funding for courses is more complex than for first degrees. There are various funding options for postgraduate study, you may want to explore possible funding options:

  • Postgraduate Loans – New Government backed Postgraduate Loans of up to £10000 for help with course cost and living expenses, based on meeting certain eligibility criteria. For more information visit The University of Leicester Postgraduate page. You can also speak to the Student Welfare Service for more advice and guidance about the loan and other forms of Postgraduate funding.
  • Research councils – links to all the Research Councils’ websites along with further information about funding. N.B. You should already have an offer of a place on a course before applying and there are strict deadlines for applications
  • University/departmental bursaries and grants or loans from charities and trusts are often available - advice from Prospects
  • Career development loans - bank loans to pay for courses, further study, and training that help with your career development.
  • – jobs and studentships in further and higher education
  • – includes an online search facility for sources of funding
  • Employer sponsorship - depending on the type of course (for example CIMA, ACCA, professional law courses, HR and management), you may be able to secure a graduate role beforehand and your employer will sponsor you, which usually means paying for your tuition fees and sometimes living costs. Usually you would either complete the qualification full-time immediately before you start employment, or study part-time while you work.

When and how to apply

Apply early - start making enquiries in your penultimate year. Check out closing dates as some courses have strict deadlines – for example, primary PGCE, graduate entry into medicine and social work. Applications for postgraduate study are usually made directly to the institution and closing dates may vary and could change from year to year - there are exceptions and for some institutions you can apply through UKPASS but you should always check. Additionally for teacher training or PGCE courses (except TeachFirst) you should apply through UCAS.

Familiarise yourself with the application process. For example, ensure you have a good personal statement and referees. Prepare these well in advance of the closing date to avoid last-minute panics. You are able to receive support from the Career Development Service with any part of the Application and Selection process, so book an Appointment with us.

Further information

  • Attend postgraduate open days for further information
  • Visit postgraduate open days at the University of Leicester
  • Talk with postgraduates in your department to find out about the course they are studying.
  • Check out the Graduate Destinations Survey - see what graduates from your degree subject went on to study. Leicester / National
  • Check out the University of Leicester Gradschool webpage for information about studying at Leicester.

Study abroad

Studying abroad can offer the chance to combine a new culture with academic study and, in some instances, cheaper fees. Start planning early, at least eighteen months ahead, as closing dates vary and application procedures differ from country to country. Check out the potential benefits and ensure that the qualification is recognised in the UK.

Useful links

Short courses

Skills courses (such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language, bilingual secretarial, and computing) are short courses that help you build specific skills. They are usually at a less advanced level than your university studies and may be practical rather than academic. Many FE colleges run part time courses – contact them for details.

Opportunities at the University of Leicester

Useful links:

  • - provides a wealth of job opportunities and employer presentations from organisations all over the world

Advice on Postgraduate / Further Study for  International Students

Talk to an adviser:  Discuss your further study options - call in or book an appointment

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