Postgraduate FAQs

What is a postgraduate degree? What's the difference between a masters and a PhD? We answer your frequently asked questions about postgraduate study.

What is a postgraduate degree?

A postgraduate degree is usually your second degree and involves a higher level of study. It often follows the completion of an undergraduate (or first) degree. Sometimes, you may be accepted on to a postgraduate course without undergraduate qualifications if you have a great deal of knowledge or experience in the subject you wish to study.

How is a postgraduate degree different to an undergraduate degree?

Undergraduate degrees are designed to introduce you to the knowledge base within a specific discipline. At the end of the course you are usually awarded a bachelor’s degree (BA or BSc) in the subject you studied.

When you study a postgraduate degree, you typically have a previous knowledge of the subject you will study. Postgraduate study allows you to specialise in an area of your knowledge using a greater level of understanding and greater independence. Postgraduate degrees are considered a higher level of study than undergraduate degrees.

What kind of postgraduate courses are there?

Taught Masters

These includes Master of Arts (MA), Master of Business administration (MBA) and Master of Science (MSc) courses. A taught masters follows a similar structure to undergraduate study and builds on existing subject knowledge. They offer a fantastic chance to focus on the area of expertise in which you wish to specialise and can improve career prospects.

Research Degrees

These include the Master of Research (MRes) and the Master of Philosophy (MPhil). Research Masters involve one or more independent research projects, with fewer timetabled hours and taught lectures. These courses place more emphasis on research expertise and allow you to enter academia or progress to a PhD.


The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is an internationally recognised academic qualification, taken after an undergraduate degree, that allows you to go into teaching. We offer a wide range of PGCE courses in many different subjects.

Postgraduate Diplomas (PGDip) and Certificates (PGCert)

PGDip and PGCert courses are shorter, taught postgraduate courses. These courses involve less time and study than a full Masters qualification and offer a chance to learn more about a specific subject. Often, these qualifications can be built upon at a later date to achieve a full Masters qualification.

Can I do a postgraduate degree if I haven't completed an undergraduate degree?

Yes, possibly. For some of our postgraduate courses, we will consider your work experience and may offer you a place on this basis. Please refer to our course pages for further information.

Can I get funding for a postgraduate course?

The UK Government offers loans to eligible students, letting you access more than £11,000 for taught and research masters programmes. Information about your eligibility for these loans and application details are available through the Government site on funding for postgraduate study.

Some Research Degrees may be eligible for Research Council Funding though many still use the postgraduate loan system.

How do I apply?

Once you have looked at the postgraduate courses we have available you can apply to us directly on the relevant course page. If you have any questions regarding specific courses you can contact the course leader or admissions tutor for that course, who will be listed on the course page, or you can email our Postgraduate Admissions Office or The Research School depending on the kind of course you would like to study.

Why choose Worcester for a postgraduate degree?

Worcester has a vibrant and active team of Academics with a rich variety of specialisms. Our Research School has expanded significantly in the last 10 years and offers a dynamic research environment and strong sense of community.

Our postgraduate teaching style is intellectually adventurous, purposeful and professionally oriented. Our curriculum and supervision are informed by the very latest thinking, allowing you to widen your horizons with contemporary and relevant study.