Amazing degrees and qualifications results in more detail – part 2

Continuing on from our previous blog Amazing degrees and qualifications results in more detail – part 1.


Postgraduate degrees

These are the next level of study after studying an undergraduate degree. In England and Wales this is generally a Level 7 or 8 qualification. It should be noted in Scotland it is a Level 11 or 12.

Master Degrees

A master’s degree is the most widely studied degree at postgraduate level. It is a qualification that students take upon completing a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. The course will be either “taught” or “research” led.

Taught degrees involve lectures, tutorials, and labs like an undergrad degree. Whereas, “research” degrees are for those who are looking for more of an independent study. Guided by an academic tutor or professor. Students would be conducting their own academic research. Based on an original research question that they have come up with.

A Master’s degree is an integrated to an undergraduate or doctoral degree. Additionally, as part of a single programme of study such as a Master’s of Engineering (Meng). Those wishing to study a doctorate (PhD) must of first completed a Master’s.

How long does it take to study?

Usually, it will take a year of studying full time. Additionally, it can take two years if you do it part time.

Additionally, some undergraduate courses have a master’s degree included; these degrees take four years if studying full time.


A doctorate is the top postgraduate level qualification students can earn. This is a level 8 qualification and consists of both research and academic learning. It is predominantly research based. Candidates will spend the entire course working on an independent thesis.

Importantly, there are two common types of Doctorate degrees. Firstly, there is an academic doctorate degree. This focus’ on conducting original research to expand knowledge within a particular subject area. Secondly, there is a professional doctorate degree. These involve research and broadening knowledge but incorporate more practical learning. In addition these include MD (doctor of medicine), DClinPsy (Doctor of Clinical Psychology) and PhD(Eng)/EngD (Doctor of Engineering).

How long does it take to study?

Full time students usually finish their PhD in three to four years. Subsequently, those studying part time could take up to six or seven years.

Postgraduate Certificate/Postgraduate Diploma

This is a level 7 qualification. Ideal for those looking to bolster their future career prospects without committing to a Master’s degree. Studying at the master’s level but on a shorter course. Additionally, it does not require a dissertation or research project. Additionally, a PGCert is worth 60 credits towards a master’s degree. Students need 180 credits to graduate with a Master’s.

Whereas a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) is like a PGCert but twice as long. This is a level 7 qualification. Its worth 120 credits towards the Master’s. Definitely an ideal stepping stone towards a future career prospect or even a Master’s degree.

Both qualifications are within a Master’s degree. A PGCert is seen as equivalent to one-third of the Master’s degree. With a PGDip being equivalent to two-thirds. Some master’s programmes will let you upgrade your PGDip into a Master’s by completing a dissertation or research project.

How long does it take to study?

Depends on the way the course is structured. PGCerts take one term to complete (about 15 weeks) or can be studied part-time for a year. PGDip’s can take two terms (30 weeks) to a year, or be studied part-time for two years.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education/Postgraduate Diploma in Education.

A Postgraduate certificate in Education (PGCE) is a level 7 qualification. A PGCE course allows students to earn qualified teacher status (QTS) and therefore be able to teach around the world. There can me a mix of academic learning and practical experience through placements. A Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) is the equivalent teaching qualification for students in Scotland.

How long it takes to study

Full time study takes one year in addition two years if doing part-time.

Conversion Courses

A conversion course is ideal for any student wanting to change careers. This is a postgraduate qualification allowing students to study a subject that they did not study as part of their undergraduate degree. Taught degrees are condensed versions of an undergraduate degree. Students also take conversion courses to go into further study at the Master’s level.

How long it takes to study

Most courses take one year if studying full time. An online conversion course can take even less time. Additionally, so will doing it part time.

Other qualifications and degree course you may see:

National Vocational Qualification

Sometimes referred to as NVQ’s. These are a practice-based qualification focusing on workplace skills. NVQ’s require the students to be in part time or full-time work in order to demonstrate their competence in these skills. Scotland would call these Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ)

NVQs are up to 7 levels. Studying at level 4 and 5 is equivalent to one-third and two-thirds of a bachelor’s degree respectively, with level 7 being equivalent to a Master’s degree.

The time it takes to complete an NVQ varies. Students tend to complete modules when they are ready. Accessed through a portfolio of work which is observed while they work.

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Taught at further education (FE) colleges. A level 3 qualification aimed at students aged 19 or over. Typically those who left school without any traditional qualifications but wish to enrol in a university. It prepares students for degree-level study. Universities see this qualification as equivalent to A-Levels, BTECS, International Baccalaureates and Advanced Highers.

Degree Apprenticeship

These allow students to study towards a bachelor’s or Master’s degree part-time while also working. They can take between three to six years to complete. Offered by universities in partnership with companies and professional bodies.

Accelerated Degree

An accelerated degree allows students to complete a bachelor’s degree in a shorter period. This will mean completing a three-year degree in two years. Additionally, a four-year degree in three. Students will learn the same content as they would in a normal bachelor’s degree but the student has less holiday.

Degree with placement year

Sometimes referred to as a “sandwich year.” This qualification is typically a four-year degree. The third year spent either studying abroad or working in a placement. Great opportunities for students to gain valuable experience from learning in a new country. Additionally working in a sector they want to be employed in.

Last but not least, If you require any help with your recruitment for Graduates, please do contact us and one of the team will assist. Additionally connect with us on LinkedIn.