Postgraduate study (also known as further study) is studying towards a Master’s or doctoral degree, or a postgraduate diploma or certificate after you’ve got your Bachelor's degree.

This can be taught or through research. Taught programmes follow a similar structure to undergraduate degrees, usually over one year of full-time study, or two years part-time. Master’s degrees by research involve the sustained, rigorous, critical and systematic investigation of a defined subject over a period of at least one year. Many students begin a research Master’s degree with the aim of upgrading it to a PhD after the first year of study.

Why undertake further study?

To benefit your career

A professional postgraduate qualification is essential for some careers (law, teaching, psychology) and may be helpful in others (journalism, human resource management, politics, economics). If you want an academic career, a PhD is often essential – not because it’s required by law, but because of the competition for academic posts.

Personal interest in the subject

Whatever you choose to study, you’ll need to enjoy and be interested in the subject to keep yourself motivated, especially for research degrees. In some areas like humanities, this is often the reason for postgraduate study, especially if you don’t intend to follow an academic career.

To improve your academic record

A postgraduate degree can sometimes add to your academic credibility, particularly if you didn’t achieve your desired grade as an undergraduate. However, many employers still look for high UCAS points, or a 2:1, even for postgraduates, so make sure you weigh up all the options when you decide.

To allow time to make any career decisions

The extra year can help you consider your future career and improve your skills and attributes. And you might undertake work experience to help your CV stand out.

Talk to a careers consultant

If you’d like to discuss your reasons for further study, and your options both at Christ Church and other institutions, you can book an appointment with a careers consultant by emailing (with a contact telephone number). You can also visit the Careers and Enterprise Online Hub to live chat with a member of the team and access online resources to help with your career planning.

It was tough for me to make the decision to do a Master's, as I was quite exhausted after finishing my first degree. What I did not realise was that my Master's gave me so much more confidence and skills to prepare me for the workplace. By doing a Master's, I now see myself as someone who could move up the ladder within my workplace. This is because the course content was giving me great ideas on how to be innovative and creative in what I do at work.

AndrewMBA Leadership and Management - Education Student