Over 45% of international students in the UK are here to complete a postgraduate degree, because it has some of the world’s top-ranking universities, leading the way in pioneering research and academic studies. This page explains the postgraduate options available, how to apply, and some of the benefits of studying in the UK.

Benefits of postgraduate study in the UK

  • Access to brilliant resources, facilities, and experts. 
  • The chance to live in the UK for up to a year, with your family.
  • Save money, by completing your master's in one year.
  • Increase your knowledge.
  • Gain a qualification.
  • Improve your career, by deepening your knowledge.
  • Change your career, by gaining skills in a new area.
  • Increase your earning potential.

What type of postgraduate study is available in the UK?

The UK has many options for postgraduate study. Popular choices include:

  • master’s degree – typically lasts 12 months full-time, and is an intense period of in-depth study that will includes lectures, seminars, and possibly research, along with a dissertation
  • postgraduate research – typically lasts for 12 months full-time, and is an intense period of research into your chosen field, working with a team of experts
  • postgraduate diploma (PGDip) – typically lasts two terms (30 weeks). Can be studied full-time or part-time, and there is no dissertation. A PGDip can contribute to a master’s degree, as the study is at the same level
  • postgraduate certificate (PGCert) – typically can be completed in one term (15 weeks). Can be studied full-time or part-time, and there is no dissertation. A PGCert can contribute to a master’s degree, as the study is at the same level.
  • Postgraduate Professional Development – can be completed at your own pace over a two-year period, and is worth 50 credits towards a PGCert PGDip, or master's. To compare – a master’s is worth 180 credits.

What subjects are available at postgraduate level in the UK?

Most UK universities offer a large variety of postgraduate level courses – from the arts to sciences. Use our search tool or look on university websites to see what courses are available.

You can study for a PGDip or PGCert in almost any subject that is offered as a master’s degree, as the content is mostly the same, just without certain modules or the dissertation.

Some common professional training courses that allow you entry to regulated professions are also classified as postgraduate diplomas and certificates – for example, the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching (PGCE).

How do I apply for postgraduate studies in the UK?

You apply directly to the university, for as many courses as you like.

First, make a list of all the courses you would like to apply for and their deadlines. Make your application a couple of months before the deadline, because popular courses get full quickly.

Once you have been accepted apply for a Tier 4 visa and start arranging your finances

Different universities have different application processes, which can involve you completing an application form, submitting examples of your work, sitting an exam, or attending an interview.

What are the entry requirements?

As an international student, you will have to show you have a good grasp of the English language – by completing a Secure English Language Test in your home country.

The entry requirements for most master's, PGDips, or PGCerts is typically a 2:1 undergraduate degree classification or equivalent from your home country.

Ssome courses also ask for a certain level of experience as well as a degree, so do check before making your application. 

How much do postgraduate studies cost?

The cost of postgraduate studies vary from university to university, and some courses, such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), cost more. However, choosing to do a PostDip or PostCert is cheaper than doing a master's. 

Find out more about postgraduate fees and funding