Why study a Postgraduate course in the uk
There are over 20,000 postgraduate courses available at universities and colleges in the UK, covering an enormous variety of subjects.
With such a vast range of taught courses and research programmes on offer, it’s fair to say you’ll find the specialist qualification you’re looking for at whatever postgraduate level you intend to study.
You’ll also be working towards a qualification acknowledged to be of the highest academic standard the world over; as a postgraduate student in the UK, the investment you’re making in your future will be protected by rigorous internal quality assurance on the part of your chosen university and by the Quality Assurance Agency which oversees standards of UK higher education.
Postgraduate study in the UK is intensive, so the courses are of relatively short duration. This is a significant advantage for many students and their employers, since it means that the maximum professional advantage is coupled with the minimum time away from work.
Independent study, strong research base Research study, whether at Masters or Doctoral level, involves individual supervision by a faculty member who has an interest in the topic.
This emphasis on personal guidance and independent study is a key characteristic feature of research degrees in Britain-and one of the reasons postgraduates from UK courses possess the kind of high-level skills suited to careers in business, applied research and higher education.
Which course? Research degrees are awarded to students who have completed a period of original research and submitted a thesis for examination.
A research degree – and especially a PhD – is the ultimate opportunity for students who want to pursue their own specialist interests.
Research is extremely stimulating and exciting as it involves producing something that is original. The student is the expert in that subject and will gradually come to know as much as his or her supervisor! The PhD is a research programme extending over three or more years, usually culminating a dissertation or thesis of 70,000 – 100,000 words. The thesis must present original findings that are, in principle, publishable. In some subjects such as art, however, the thesis may be replaced by an original major work. And in social sciences, several published articles may be accepted in place of a single long thesis.
The British Ph.D. offers the following opportunities to international students:
• to produce an original piece of research, which may mean an important boost to the student’s career • to become one of the world’s leading experts in a particular field • to receive a sound training in research methodology and practice – especially important for those intending to pursue an academic career
All of the above are widely recognised as advantages of the British Ph.D., especially in the higher education world.
New types of doctoral programmes have been developed in recent years aimed at experienced professionals in industry or professionals such as education, engineering and clinical pyschology.
Other research degrees commonly found in UK institutions include the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.), a research programme extending over two years.
The thesis must present original findings. Some universities require students to register first for an M.Phil. before transferring to the Ph.D. at the end of the first year. Research programmes can vary from one to three years or more, depending on the nature of the programme.
Not only is there a wide choice of courses, there is also a wide variety of different ways in which they can be studied. For instance, you can study your course in your home country by distance learning, or study modular courses where you study one part of a course at a time – and when you choose to study them.
What to expect Students undertaking a research degree initiate and develop their topic under the supervision of one or two academics. To be successful, research students must demonstrate intellectual independence. They will be expected to work on their own to a large extent but will meet their supervisor(s) at least every few weeks. Learning costs less in the UK Postgraduate degrees in the UK can be completed in a shorter time than those in many other countries, as courses are more intensive.
This makes the cost of achieving a postgraduate qualification in the UK considerably less than elsewhere. You only have to pay fees for one year and you only have to live away from home for one year.
So though annual costs may look higher in the UK than elsewhere, the overall cost is lower. This is even more true if you can find a course that is based in one of the less expensive parts of the UK. There are a number of scholarships available to students planning to study a postgraduate course in the UK. These include British Chevening Scholarships and those that are available through the British Council Fellowship Programme and the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP). Details of these and other scholarship schemes can be obtained from your local British Council office.
All international students staying in the UK for more than six months are guaranteed free hospital treatment plus reduced dentists’ and opticians’ fees through the UK National Health Service. Doing away with the need to include health insurance in your budget.