This article was written by the Great British Mag content team on 29 March 2021.
Looking at studying for your postgraduate degree abroad and wondering what the UK can offer? Keep reading to find out why this isle is such a popular choice among international students, learn what postgraduate options are available in the UK and find out how to apply.
What makes the UK a good choice for postgraduate study?
The UK is home to some of the world’s top-ranking universities, which lead the way in pioneering research and
academic studies. This makes it a popular destination among postgraduate students from all over the world, with 45% of the UK’s international student population here to study at postgrad level.
Other benefits of choosing the UK for post graduate study include:
- The chance to live in the UK and extend your stay beyond the end of your course
- Having access to world-leading resources, facilities and experts
- Completing your Masters in one year
- improving your career by deepening your knowledge
- increasing your earning potential
What type of postgraduate study is available in the UK?
There are lots of different options for postgrad study in the UK, all with different durations and offering different benefits. They include:
- Master’s degree: these typically last 12 months and learning is often done through lectures and seminars, sometimes with a research focus, too.
- Postgraduate research: this is an intense period of research into your chosen field, where you’ll be working alongside a team of specialists.
- Postgraduate diploma (PGDip): these usually lasts two terms (30 weeks) and can contribute to a Master’s degree as the study is at the same level.
- Postgraduate certificate (PGCert): similar to a diploma but only lasting for 15 weeks, PGCerts can also contribute to a Master’s degree as the study is at the same level.
- Postgraduate Professional Development: this can be completed at your own pace over a two-year period and is worth 50 credits towards a PGCert PGDip or a Masters (To compare, a Master’s is worth 180 credits.)
What subjects are available at postgraduate level in the UK?
UK universities offer a large variety of postgraduate-level courses, from the arts to sciences. Each university’s offering is different, so it’s worth checking out the specific courses your preferred uni runs. Or, if you’re not sure where to study yet, the UCAS website lists all of the courses available across the UK.
If you’re looking to get into a regulated field of work and need to undertake a professional training course, many of these are also classified as postgraduate diplomas and certificates. The Legal Practice Course (LPC) for aspiring solicitors, the PGDip in Social Work, and the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching (PGCE) or Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) for those seeking a career in the classroom are just some of the options available.
What are the entry requirements?
As an international student, to study in the UK you will have to show that you have a good grasp of the English language and that will be done by completing a Secure English Language Test. Or, if you completed your undergraduate degree at a UK university, this will act as proof of your language skills.
In terms of educational requirements, you’ll usually need an undergraduate degree at a grade of 2:1 or higher (or the equivalent from your home country). You might find some courses also ask for a certain level of experience as well as a degree, so check before making your application.
How do I apply for a postgraduate course in the UK?
You submit your application directly to the university of your choice – there’s no limit to how many courses or universities you can apply to. It’s worth being prepared though and applying well before the deadline, as popular courses get full quickly.
Different universities have different application processes, which can involve you completing an application form, submitting examples of your work, sitting an exam, or attending an interview.
Once you have been accepted, you can start looking into applying for a student visa.
How much do postgraduate degrees cost?
Studying in the UK is not cheap. Tuition fees are high and additional expenses, such as the cost of living, can be high, too.
Course fees vary between universities and subjects – STEM courses often cost more, for instance – but for a one-year Masters degree, the average cost of tuition is around £16,000. PostDip or PostCert courses are much cheaper.
However, there are scholarship and funding opportunities available to overseas students looking to study in the UK. While it’s not easy to win these (there’s fierce competition) they’re well worth looking into and could help offset the costs.