How different is postgraduate study to studying a Bachelor’s degree?

Lydia Soon_HEA

Written by Lydia Soon, UTS Master of Public Health graduate

A postgraduate degree is further study that is undertaken after a student completes their undergraduate degree. Postgraduate study has different options: Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma to a Master’s or even Master’s (Advanced) or Master’s by Research.

For those who are wanting to know the differences between studying a postgraduate degree and undergraduate degree, keep reading!

(Please note these differences apply to postgraduate coursework only).

1. Length of time

Postgraduate study is shorter. For example, a Master’s Degree (full time) takes approximately 1.5 to two years to complete compared to an undergraduate degree, which averages three years (full time).

Of course, if you’re not ready to commit to a Master’s Degree yet, there is also a Graduate Certificate (one year part time) or a Graduate Diploma (one year full time).

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2. Entry

Entry into a postgraduate degree varies.

Most will require, at minimum, a completed undergraduate degree. Some degrees will require work experience on top of your completed degree and/or a relevant undergraduate degree to the postgraduate field of study. You may be required to sit an interview after applying in some degrees as well.

For those who have extensive work experience in a relevant field, you could potentially enter straight into a Master’s Degree instead of having to complete a relevant undergraduate degree.

3. Study environment

The study environment is quite different from undergraduate to postgraduate.

For example, lecturers expect a higher standard quality of work from postgraduate students meaning you are responsible for your own learning throughout the degree. A lot of learning during postgraduate study is self-directed whereas in an undergraduate degree, there is close supervision from your tutors and/or lecturers.

During my postgraduate studies, I found the lecturers were more approachable because class sizes are smaller, so there is more opportunity to participate in class discussions and with lecturers.

I also found that during my postgraduate degree, I appreciated studying more, compared to my undergraduate studies.

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4. Work-life balance

Most people, like myself, worked for some time after my undergraduate degree before pursuing a postgraduate degree. During my degree, there were a lot of mature aged students who have worked, so it’s not uncommon to see them in your class.

A lot of students pursue postgraduate study after working for a number of reasons, whether it is to upskill in their current job, seek career change or for personal development.

I pursued my postgraduate degree for the reasons listed and also, I enjoy acquiring new knowledge.

And finally…

The last pointer is at a postgraduate level, your success in postgraduate studies is what you make of it during your time as a postgraduate student!

I hope this gives you an insight to the differences between postgraduate study and a Bachelor’s degree and things to consider when pursuing postgraduate studies in the future.

Find out more about studying at UTS


Read more: Your questions answered: Public Health

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