If you are a recent graduate or heading into your final year, the start of a new semester can get you thinking about your options. If postgraduate study is a move worth considering, here is what you need to know.
If you think that postgraduate study is just a repeat of your undergraduate degree, think again. Postgraduate courses require you to study more independently and are usually heavily project- or research-focused, seeing students work in teams or with staff supervisors throughout their program. It is also likely that you will get a lot more choice in your subjects, with fewer core studies than at undergraduate level.
Many students thinking about further study assume that their next step is a masters degree. Masters programs can take one, two or even four years to complete full time, depending on the type you choose. If you don't want to commit to a lengthy degree, why not choose a shorter qualification such as a graduate certificate or graduate diploma? These programs take six months or a year of full-time study respectively.
It is likely that most students in your undergraduate degree commenced study straight after high school. As a postgraduate, you will study alongside people from varied backgrounds — everyone from fresh graduates to professionals with decades of practice under their belt. Some students will have completed similar degrees; others may have studied in a completely different discipline or been accepted based on extensive work experience.
Your fellow students, lecturers and tutors make up your industry, so you will make some very useful connections during your program. You will work with a range of a different people across group projects and in your classes, but it’s also worth getting involved on campus by joining a club or attending social events.
Postgraduate programs often lead to professional recognition in your field, in many cases being the final step towards being able to practice. Architecture is a good example, where students must complete a masters degree to fulfil registration requirements. In other fields, postgraduate study allows students to extend their qualifications. Accounting graduates, for instance, can become certified as a chartered accountant (CA) or chartered practising accountant (CPA).