Why choose postgraduate study?
Postgraduate study is a very positive option for many reasons such as:
- Aiming for a career in academic research and teaching
- A strong interest in your subject and pursuing an intellectual challenge
- Wanting a conversion course to change career direction
- Gaining an extra qualification to give you a competitive advantage in the job market.
However, it can be an expensive and demanding undertaking, so think carefully about how it will benefit your long-term goals, since employers will not necessarily offer a higher salary because you have a postgraduate qualification. It may sometimes be helpful if your A-level or degree qualifications are not as high as you had hoped for, bearing in mind that many graduate recruiters require a specific number of UCAS points and a minimum 2.1 degree classification.
If you’re considering it with a specific career aim in mind, do some research on routes into your chosen career to find out what skills and qualifications employers are looking for, and check whether postgraduate qualifications are recommended.
For certain professional career areas, e.g. Law, Teaching and Psychology, postgraduate qualifications accredited by appropriate professional bodies are essential. Wherever relevant, undergraduate courses at Swansea University are accredited by such professional bodies too, and this supports entry to professional postgraduate study and career development.
IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START PLANNING – exploring options and funding sources, attending postgraduate fairs and open days, gaining relevant work experience where necessary and researching/contacting potential research supervisors. In general terms, you need to submit your application as early as possible in the academic year prior to the year in which you intend to begin your studies. Most funding bodies will have application deadlines, and will expect you to have a provisional offer from a university when you submit your funding application, so you will need to allow enough time to liaise with potential supervisors in order to write your submission.
Take opportunities to talk to your tutors about their experience of postgraduate study, teaching and research. If you would like to come and discuss your options or any aspect of the application/interview process with a Careers Adviser, please visit our page on speaking with a careers adviser.
Graduate Prospects and TARGETpostgrad provide detailed, comprehensive information on different types of postgraduate study and research opportunities, funding and application processes in relation to study in the UK and overseas, including information on study in the UK for international students.
- Graduate Prospects includes a section on choosing the right postgraduate qualifications for your career and information on career destinations of Masters and PhD students to help you weigh up the potential benefits for your future career:
- TARGETpostgrad includes advice on:
- Why do postgraduate study and how to choose
- Study options and qualifications
- How to apply for postgraduate study
- Advice on postgraduate funding
- Postgraduate study and your career
- Advice for international students
Writing personal statements:
- Imperial College London - Writing Personal Statements
- City University London - Personal Statements for Postgraduate Study
Other useful sites offering a wide range of information and advice on postgraduate study:
- Steps to Postgraduate Study - the official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course.
- Masters Compare - search and compare masters courses
- UCAS Postgraduate - Please note that not all postgraduate courses are applied to through the UKPASS postgraduate applications service offered through the UCAS website.
- The Guardian newspaper – information for postgraduates
- FindAMasters.com includes advice on a wide range of relevant topics and links to related sites for Masters, MBAs, PhDs, Professional Doctorates, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), PostDocs & PhD jobs and a Postgraduate Forum
- Professional bodies’ websites: Professional bodies usually have student members’ groups – useful for networking and finding out about further professional study and training, e.g. the British Psychological Society's Student Members Group. A good source of information on professional bodies generally is www.totalprofessions.com. The job type profiles on the Graduate Prospects website include details of professional bodies where relevant: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles.
- Courses and research studentships are advertised in many professional publications and websites, for example:
For detailed information about particular research interests you will need to look at the departmental pages on individual Higher Education Institutions’ websites. There is no single centralised application process as there is for undergraduate courses through UCAS, and so you need to make direct enquiries to the HEI/ specific department for information and application forms.
Postgraduate study at Swansea University
Visit www.swansea.ac.uk/postgraduate/ for information.
Comparing international qualifications against UK standards
The National Recognition Information Centre for the UK (NARIC) is a useful resource should you need a comparison of your International qualifications against UK standards. General enquiries are answered free of charge but if you require an individual assessment and a letter of comparability, then there is a charge for this service.
International students can click here to find details of postgraduate entry requirements on the Swansea University website, or contact email@example.com with queries. It would also be helpful to speak to your departmental admissions tutor.
Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
The GMAT is a standardised assessment, delivered in English, which helps business schools assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management. It is used as one predictor of academic performance in an MBA or other graduate management programmes. It measures critical and verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, sentence correction, data sufficiency and problem solving ability, and also involves writing essays.
- Materials to help you prepare for the GMAT are available through the Interactive Career Planning course in Blackboard.
- Visit the Graduate Management Admission Council's website for information on the format of the tests. GMAC is a non-profit organisation of leading graduate management schools around the world.
- Information about the GMAT is available on the website of the Fulbright Commission which provides advice and support for people wishing to study in the USA.
- There are a number of preparation classes available in the UK. For example, Kaplan classes and also books that you can use to prepare at home. See their UK website at http://www.kaptest.co.uk/. GMAT prep books by Kaplan are also available from book stores.
A test that is similar to the GMAT Test is the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Test at www.getfeedback.net. It is a very demanding test designed to evaluate analytical and logical reasoning, and it used with applicants for jobs that involve complex decision making. They offer some hints and tips at www.getfeedback.net/help/tips/.
Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) - log into MyUni to access this link
The GAMSAT has been developed to assist in the selection of students to participate in graduate-entre programmes. It is designed to assess the capacity to undertake high-level intellectual studies in medical and health professional programmes. Visit www.gamsatuk.org for more information.