What Are the Different Types of Post-Graduate Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 29 June 2019
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Many universities offer post-graduate degree programs through which individuals who have already completed undergraduate degree courses can learn about a topic in greater depth. These degree programs come in many varieties although postgraduate courses in most countries take the form of either master's degree programs or doctorate degrees. People who successfully complete post-graduate degree programs normally receive either a diploma or a certificate of completion.

Master's degree or advanced degree programs are courses that normally involve at least one year of study. To enroll in such a program, an individual must have completed an undergraduate degree course with an above average grade. Some universities require applicants for teaching jobs to have completed master's degrees while employers in some industries reserve certain highly compensated jobs for people who have successfully completed advanced degree programs. In many instances, people enroll in master's programs that relate directly to their undergraduate degrees although in other instances colleges accept graduate students who have not previously taken classes that are directly connected to the advanced degree syllabus.


Doctorate degrees, which include Doctor of Philosophy programs (PhD), are post-graduate courses that some people go on to take after successfully completing master's degree programs. At many universities, senior lecturers must possess doctorate degrees. Unlike master's degrees, doctorate degree programs are often more valuable for those who wish to remain within the academic world rather than people working in industry since employer's generally do not list doctorates degrees among the academic credentials that job candidates must possess. Nevertheless, some people involved in pioneering scientific research and other complex types of work may be required to have completed a doctorate programs.

Students can take post-graduate degree programs in many different types of subjects. People who have completed engineering undergraduate courses often have to complete advanced degrees that focus on one aspect of the topic before being able to land jobs that require specialized skills. Pharmaceutical companies and other types of firms that conduct scientific research often only consider job applications from people who have completed post-graduate degree programs. People employed in the finance, medical and academic fields can also improve their career prospects by enrolling in these courses.

Traditionally, master's degree programs involved classroom based study while doctorate degrees usually involved candidates completing a dissertation as well as attending classes. Since the latter part of the twentieth century, many colleges have started to offer online post-graduate degree programs. People taking these courses may have to take their final examinations at a certain physical location but the majority of the coursework is done online.



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