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Postgraduate Courses in the UK

What is a Postgraduate Masters degree?

A postgraduate or master's course in the UK follows the successful completion of an undergraduate degree, generally lasting for just one year compared to two-year master's programmes found elsewhere in the world. This means students can save time and money and begin their careers much quicker with a highly regarded UK postgraduate degree.

Why study for a Master's degree in the UK?

The UK is home to some of the leading universities in the world, renowned for their quality of teaching and research. A UK postgraduate degree is held in high esteem by employers, and for international students studying in the UK, it is a fantastic opportunity to improve your English and immerse yourself in a multicultural and exciting community of academics and students. You will:

A study carried out by the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that 86 per cent of students who completed a postgraduate master's in the UK were in full-time employment following graduation, compared to just 75 per cent of undergraduate leavers.

Types of Postgraduate Degrees in the UK


There are four main types of taught programmes: Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Engineering (MEng), with each lasting 1-2 years full-time.

On a taught programme, students are expected to attend weekly seminars, tutorials and lectures, much like an undergraduate degree, and assessment can be via exam, dissertation or project.


A Research degree will see students take more responsibility for their work and schedule, basing their study around a thesis while being supervised by an academic. The most popular research degree is a PhD, which can take 3-4 years to complete and consists of writing a thesis between 60,000 – 100,000 words, which is then presented in an oral examination.

Other types of research degrees include the Master of Science (MSc), Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Master of Research (MRes). These degrees are similar to a PhD but not as academically demanding, with papers being much shorter.

How much does a Master's cost?

The average cost of a postgraduate and master's degree in the UK for an international student is £12,400. Tuition fees at the postgraduate level vary on the type of master's you wish to study, which part of the UK you wish to live in, and what university you attend.

Postgraduate schools in the UK are far less expensive than graduate schools in the USA, and studying in the UK can be 30 to 60 per cent cheaper than American equivalents.

Eligibility criteria for a Master's

For those contemplating pursuing a master's in the UK, understanding the admissions criteria is pivotal. These guidelines ensure that students are well-prepared for the rigour of postgraduate studies:

1. Academic Qualifications

An undergraduate degree pertinent to the master's course is typically necessary. The grade or class of the degree is essential, with many universities expecting at least an upper second-class honours.

2. English Language Proficiency

For those who aren't native English speakers, presenting a PTE or IELTS score is imperative. The required score often hovers around 58.5 for PTE Academic or 6.5 for IELTS, though this may differ between institutions.

3. Work Experience

Specific courses, especially professional ones such as an MBA, might necessitate relevant work experience, generally ranging between 1 to 3 years.

4. Letters of Recommendation

Most institutions will require at least two recommendation letters. Ideally, these should be from academic tutors or professionals who can vouch for the student's proficiency.

5. Statement of Purpose

A clearly articulated essay highlighting one's motivation, career aspirations, and reasons for selecting the particular institution is usually part of the application.

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Master's Degree FAQ

What are the best master's courses in the UK?

The "best" courses often depend on one's career aspirations and interests. However, some of the most renowned master's programmes in the UK, due to their global recognition and robust curriculum, include:

How much does a master's in the UK cost?

The cost of a master's degree in the UK varies widely based on the course, institution, and whether the student is from the UK, the European Union, or outside of these regions. For international students, fees can range from £12,000 to £30,000 per annum, with courses like medicine or MBA programmes being on the higher end of this spectrum.

Which is the cheapest master's course in the UK?

While fees vary depending on universities and location, generally, courses in the fields of arts, humanities, and some social sciences tend to be cheaper compared to programmes like medicine, engineering, or business. Additionally, some universities outside of major cities like London might offer more affordable rates.

Which master's course is best for getting a job in the UK?

Courses with a high employability rate often align with industries that have a strong presence in the UK. Some of the master's programmes with high job prospects include:

Remember, employability doesn't solely depend on the course but also on networking, internships, and other experiences gained during the course duration.

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Double Quote up  I sincerely thank SI-UK for getting me accepted to UCL. The MSc in Urban Development and Planning is extremely competitive, but the right guidance provided by SI-UK made my dream of studying at University College London a reality. The services were exceptional from beginning to end.  Double Quote Down

Rashmi Lakshanya Urban Development and Planning at University College London

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