What types of qualification are available?
A number of different postgraduate qualifications are available.
Make sure you research all the options so that you can choose the one
which best suits your needs. Discuss your ideas with your People
Resources. Postgraduate qualifications are available via taught
courses and via research.
The main types of postgraduate qualification include:
- Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma: These are usually one-year
taught programmes that either lead to a professional qualification(eg
Higher Diploma in Education/Post graduate Certificate in Education) or
allow you to acquire specialised skills (eg Diploma in Technical
Communication). Course fees may be subsidised for some 'conversion' courses
in special skill areas.
- Masters Degree: Masters degrees can be taught or by research.
Taught courses typically take one year for full-time study and two or
three years for part-time study. Research degrees can take anything from
one year to about five years, depending on how long it takes to complete
the research and generally leading to the award of an MPhil.
- Doctorate: A Doctorate or PhD programme usually takes a minimum
of three to five years to complete. It may be possible to follow a structured
programme for part of the time but in many cases, the research is self-driven
with supervision from a faculty member. Funding is often awarded for three
years, which can cause problems if the research is not completed within
You must invest time and effort in finding out which is the best option for
- Postrgaduate Research Qualifications don't suit
everyone. Be clear why you are choosing to do research.
Does it fit into your career plan? - more
- Postgraduate Vocational courses are required for careers such
as teaching. For other careers such as engineering, insurance
etc you can enter the profession straight after graduation. - more
- Skills courses enable you to gain specific skills in areas
such as computing software or sign language or practical skills such
as dry stone walling. These courses don't usually require you to
have a degree. Find out the basic requirements for your career
choice and whether additional skills will enhance your
application. Contact local
colleges for details of courses. Check the websites for night
courses and day courses in Ireland, and
Learn Direct in the UK.