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5 differences between an undergraduate and a postgraduate course

Whether you’re currently studying an undergraduate degree or have been out of education for a few years and are heading back, starting a postgraduate course can be a daunting thing. It’s new in terms of qualification, but still in your comfort zone of studying. What will be different and what will remain the same?

We’ll come back to the latter shortly, but first, here’s some info on the differences you’ll face...



working hard
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You’re probably expecting this, but the workload is likely to be heavier or at least more intense in your postgrad. Gone are the deadlines that can be extended at a moment’s notice or four months to work on a 2000 word essay, postgraduates can be expected to read more and work quicker. So you’re unlikely to be able to go partying 6 nights a week as a postgrad. Sorry about that.

Sounds scary, but remember your undergrad once felt like this, and you’ll soon adapt to it.



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Postgraduate funding is quite different to that nice student loan which you’re undoubtedly still paying off. There are a few more options available to you this time that are worth checking out.

You could apply for bursaries, scholarships, postgraduate loans, career developments loans and some employers may even sponsor you to study. Don’t know where to start? Our ultimate funding guide is a good place...



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During your undergrad course you probably covered several topics over the course of a few months, and some might have only lasted a few weeks before disappearing from lectures altogether. While this was great for the topics which sent you to snoozeville, if you were really interested in that subject area it could be more than a little frustrating.

But your postgrad course is likely to be more intense and specialised on your subject area, so you’ll get the most out of a topic that you actually enjoy, and you’ll likely to have fewer areas sending you to snoringtown.


How you Learn

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While most of your undergraduate revolved around attending lectures and sitting at the back of huge rooms trying not to get caught falling asleep after a heavy night out, postgraduate courses can differ.

Depending on the subject you choose, you may have very little lectures (or none at all in some cases), fewer hours with your tutors and a heavier emphasis on you doing the work in your own time.

The good news about this is you can pick a course which suits your studying preferences. Want a course that’s heavily taught in lectures? They exist. Prefer to learn in the library and learn the basics from teachers? Yep, those courses are awaiting you too.



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There are so many postgraduate courses for every industry you can think of, so you’re certainly not limited in terms of your studying options. There are different levels of postgraduate qualification, different amount of studying times, and specialisms that didn’t exist at an undergraduate level.

Confused about which course to pick? We can help you with that...


Coming soon: The similarities of undergrad and postgraduate courses



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