What is Postgraduate Education? Types, Eligibility & Application Process

What is Postgraduate Education? If you are a postgraduate student and you want to know more about postgraduate education in terms of the types, eligibility, and requirements, then this article is for you, as Stay Informed Group have carefully provided this article to explain the in-depth meaning of postgraduate education and bring about understanding between postgraduate education, masters in education, types of postgraduate study, postgraduate certificate and what postgraduate diploma is.

We understand the difficulty students Express sometimes in understanding what postgraduate education is. And whether or not Masters education, PhD, and postgraduate diploma are in the category of postgraduate certificate under postgraduate study.  
Before the end of this article you will really understand what postgraduate education is including its history, and how to apply, and easily navigate the application process.

The reason for this article is to answer the question what is Postgraduate Education? and bring about understanding about this topic as many people are still confused about it. All you need to do is read this article to the end to fully grasp what is embedded in this content.

The structure and organization of postgraduate education varies between countries as well as between institutions within the countries. This article describes the basic course types in postgraduate study, as well as methods in obtaining masters, PhD, and other types of postgraduate study certificate or diploma, with an explanation of their history.

Postgraduate Education
What is Postgraduate Education?

What is postgraduate education?

Basically, postgraduate education is any higher education that is completed after an undergraduate degree or diploma. This is usually a prerequisite for participating in a graduate course. It is an upgrade compared to what a student would have studied, and it is an opportunity to focus on a particular area.

In an increasingly competitive environment for college graduates, a postgraduate degree can set you apart from other applicants who are in the quest for the same jobs.

In the United States, postgraduate education is said to be a “graduate education” and would be taken by a graduate student. Alternatively, students can attend the medical school, law school or business school to study these particular areas, after which a postgraduate certificate will be awarded in diploma or masters as the case may be.

History of postgraduate education

Although the university and higher education systems go back to ancient Greece, ancient India, the Arabian Peninsula, and ancient Rome and China, the mode of postgraduate education depends on the system of awarding degrees to different levels of study and can mainly be zeroed back to the functioning of medieval European universities, Italians mostly.

The studies lasted six years for a bachelor’s degree and up to twelve years for a master’s degree or a doctorate. For the first six years, they taught the College of Arts, where the seven liberal arts were studied: astronomy, music theory, arithmetic, geometry, grammar, rhetoric and logic. The main focus was on logic. After completing the Bachelor of Arts, the student can choose one of the three faculties (law, medicine or theology) in which he would like to complete a master’s or doctoral degree.

The Postgraduate Masters degrees, and the medical degrees have been equivalent for some time “, the former was favoured more in Paris and the universities modelled it, and the latter favoured more in Bologna and its universities. In Oxford and Cambridge Law, Medicine, and Theology faculties and the Art faculty was distinguished, using the title of doctor for the first and master for the second. “Because theology was considered the highest subject, the doctorate was considered superior to the master’s degree.

The main meaning of the postgraduate diploma was that they authorized the holder to teach ( the word “Doctor” comes from the Latin word “docere” to which means to teach”).

Types of postgraduate qualification (certificate and study

types of postgraduate study
types of postgraduate study

Now we are gradually moving into the main goal of this article, which is to the possible types ans/or levels of postgraduate education, and study; from master’s to PhD, postgraduate diploma, non-degree, and honorary awards.

What is Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma?

Diploma and certificate are types of postgraduate education that are more professional and tailored to a specific professional area. They are also shorter and less intense than a degree. Students can expect to earn a final certificate for 15 weeks and a final diploma for 6 to 12 months (both if they study full-time).

What is Master’s degree?

master’s degree is a very common qualification in postgraduate education and is generally referred to as a grduate degree in the United States. It can be based on research, a course based on teaching, or a combination of both. Generally, Master of Science (MSc) and Master of Arts (MA) courses are taught, while Masters based on research include Philosophy (MPhil). But an MSc can also be a research course). “MBA” is a term used to qualify a master’s degree in Business.

A master’s degree usually lasts 1 to 2 years full-time. If it is a taught course, it is similar to an undergraduate degree offered through seminars, tutorials, and lectures. At the end of the course, a master’s thesis is assessed.

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What is Licentiate Degree?

This is one of the types of postgraduates study, that is not talked about all the time. In countries, like Sweden and Finland, there is a Licentiate Degree in Postgraduate Education that is more advanced than a master’s degree, but less than a doctorate.

The required credits correspond to approximately half of the credits required for a doctorate. The requirements for coursework are the same as for a doctorate, but the scope of the initial research required is not as high as for the doctorate. Doctors in the medical field, for example, are licentiates rather than doctors.

In the United Kingdom and in countries like the United States whose education systems are based on the British model.

In the United States, the master’s degree in postgraduate education has long been the only graduate course normally awarded, while in most European countries except the United Kingdom, the master’s degree has almost disappeared. However, in the second half of the 19th century, American universities began to follow the European model by awarding a doctorate, and this practice spread throughout the United Kingdom.

On the other hand, most European universities now offer parallel or substitute masters to give their students better chances to compete in an international market that has been dominated by the American model for years. At the end of this study, a postgraduate certificate is awarded.

What is Doctorate (PhD)?

In postgraduate education, a doctorate or PhD is a research degree that is studied after completing a master’s degree. A doctorate lasts 3-4 years full-time and is based on a much more thorough original research by the student.

In contrast to the previous study, where there is more differentiation between professors and the students, doctoral students work with their research director on research, which is related to what the department of this institution is already focusing on. 

PhD students are also allowed to work as teaching assistants, where they are allowed to teach undergraduate courses and marking works done by undergraduate students. 

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What is Honorary degrees in postgraduate education?

Many universities award honorary degrees, mostly at postgraduate level. These awards are given to a wide range of people such as artists, writers, musicians, politicians, entrepreneurs, etc. to recognize their accomplishments in their various fields. Recipients of these degrees typically don’t use related titles or letters such as “Dr.”

What is Postgraduate Education

How are postgraduate courses taught & assessed?

As we have already emphasized, postgraduate education are structured differently than undergraduate education. Yes, there are a few similarities between the undergraduate education and courses and the postgraduate courses. However, the focus is on students being serious and working on their own original research. This idea is further reinforced by the fact that they work as teaching assistants, also attend and speak in conferences and are more likely to get in touch with their study supervisors.

The taught postgraduate courses can be assessed in addition to oral presentations through exams and thesis. However, the final qualification and grade for PhD students is mainly about a much longer thesis.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for a postgraduate education?

In almost all cases, you will require to have at least a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree in a related subject (from an accredited university) to start your postgraduate, and masters education and earn a postgraduate degree. You can take a pre-master course if you do not have the necessary skills and knowledge.

There may even be conversion courses to help you change your path of study. If you have a university degree, you have shown that you have the key qualities to study at the next level. A conversion course complements the knowledge that is required to study a new subject at the next level.

  • If English is not your mother tongue, you must also meet the English requirements for the course you are applying for.
  • Please note that it is not uncommon for graduate courses to have somewhat higher requirements for English admission than for a similar undergraduate course at the same university.
  • Some international students may need to take additional standardized tests depending on which subject they want to study or where they want to study.
  • You may also need to interview yourself and show that you have the funds to fund your studies abroad by applying for and receiving the right student visa.

Postgraduate education application process

Compared to applications for bachelor’s programs, the deadlines for applications for postgraduate, ranging from master’s to PhD can be considerably less strict in many countries. Fewer students apply for postgraduate education.

Some deadlines are only a few months before the course starts. However, processing times for applications for graduates can sometimes take longer than for students at the undergraduate level, so you may have to wait longer to find out whether your offer has been accepted. You should always confirm these important deadlines with the institution itself (this could be a question you ask a university).

It is always advised to submit your application as early as possible so that the course you are applying for does not get filled up and your application arrives in good time before the deadline.

Conclusion (Non-degree qualifications)

Types of Postgraduate study and education can include the study of qualifications such as postgraduate diplomas, Masters (master’s), and postgraduate certificates. They are in some cases used as steps towards a normal degree, as part of training for a particular career, or a qualification in a field of study that is too narrow to justify a full degree course in the postgraduate level.


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