Further study and research options

Further study and research options

Is further study for me?

Continuing or returning to study can be an excellent career investment and for some careers undertaking further study is a requirement, for example clinical psychology or librarianship. It is a big decision which requires commitment in terms of time and money so you need to be highly motivated and clear about what you hope to gain from the additional qualification. Research the options and choose the route which best fits your career aims.

Before undertaking further study you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How will it help my career plans?
  • Is it a requirement for my chosen career?
  • What will I gain from it?
  • Can I afford it? Find out more about Funding options
  • Where is the best place for me to study? Stay at this University or go elsewhere?
  • Will I get in?


Another undergraduate degree

The most common reason for considering a second undergraduate degree is to gain a vocational qualification such as medicine, dentistry or law (although these occupations also offer shortened courses for graduates).

Postgraduate taught course (PgDip, MSc, MLitt, MA, MBA etc.)

These are normally one year with taught modules and a dissertation. This option can give you the opportunity to specialise in your subject or to change direction. Some courses are also professional qualifications, such as the PGDE for teaching or RICS approved MSc for chartered surveying.

Research degree

You can either find/propose your own research project (more common in Arts and Social Sciences) or work on a defined project within a research team. Masters degrees by research usually last one or two years with PhDs normally taking three to four years to complete. It is now common to do a taught or research Masters degree first before continuing to a PhD, this is called 1 + 3.

Finding further study opportunities

There are a number of online databases you can use to search for courses and research opportunities.  You can find links to the most important in our UK study resources.

You can also search our resources for professional bodies, such as the British Psychological Society, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Royal Town Planning Institute, which have lists of accredited postgraduate courses.

International opportunities

Studying overseas can be a great opportunity but it takes a lot of careful planning. Most of the questions posed in the "Is further study for me?" section above still apply but there are also some other factors you will need to consider, such as the language in which the course is taught, visa regulations and any other restrictions.

Entry requirements can vary from country to country and some institutions may require you to sit additional tests such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) which is common for MBAs. It is also essential to research how universities work in other countries (when does the academic year begin? How are programmes of study organised?).

Further advice and support

  • Visit our explore your options section for help in deciding what is right for you.
  • Discuss your options with a careers adviser, member of academic staff (for research especially), or perhaps a potential employer - in addition to family and friends.