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 Postgraduate Jargon Buster

Expand your subject knowledge and advance your career with a postgraduate degree.

Jargon Buster​


Undergraduate: also known as a bachelor’s degree or a first degree.

Postgraduate: a general term for programmes of study undertaken after an undergraduate qualification has been achieved. The term is often used to describe a range of course types including Master’s PhD’s and PGDE’s.

(Taught) Masters: the next level qualification after completing a Bachelor’s Degree and can be undertaken immediately after graduating or as a return study after some years in the workplace. A full-time course usually takes between 1-2 years and follows a similar format to an undergraduate degree, studying a set of taught modules followed by a dissertation. There are several different types of Masters Qualification including: MA (Master of the Arts), MFA (Master of Fine Art), MSc (Master of Science), MBA (Master of Business Administration), Meng (Master of Engineering).

MRes (Master of Research):  a one year, full-time research degree, which focuses on more independent study. It tends to feature very few or no taught modules unlike the Taught Masters.

Executive Masters: an advanced level of master’s degree designed for executive professionals who want to advance their career. The course is usually completed whilst working so that you are able to draw on workplace experience. Enrolling on this type of course is something you would need to discuss with your employer before undertaking.

MBA (Maters of Business Administration): a prestigious postgraduate qualification that provides and overview of key business practices and is highly valued by top employers. They are the same level of qualification as other Master’s courses but are usually undertaken once you have gained a few years of professional experience. 

PGDE (Professional Diploma of Education): a form of initial teacher training and is the Scottish equivalent to the PGCE taught in England. It allows graduates with a Bachelors qualification to qualify as a teacher. It is an internationally recognised qualification, enabling you study in the rest of the UK and abroad. On completion you are able to register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GCTS).

Advanced Practice: designed for current health care professionals. It enables you to advance your practice through completing a selection of relevant modules. This course aids career progression and provides the opportunity for you to lead a transform service delivery through research-informed clinical practice.

PG Cert/Diploma: are qualifications taught at the same level as a master’s degree but they are usually shorter as there is no requirement to write a dissertation. The PG Dip takes slightly longer and is worth more credits than the PGCert. These qualifications help to boost your CV and advance in your career but do not take the same amount of time as a full master’s qualification as you do not need to undertake significant amounts of research.

PhD: also known as a doctorate, a PhD is a postgraduate doctoral degree which requires students to research and write an original thesis offering a significant new contribution to knowledge in their subject. PhD qualifications are available in all subjects and are normally the highest level of academic degree a person can achieve. 
LLB (Law) Graduate Entry: technically an undergraduate degree, this enables those who have already achieved a Bachelors qualification to complete the LLB in two years. On completion of this course you would have two undergraduate qualifications, one in your original subject plus the LLB. 


Masters in Nursing/Midwifery: also technically an undergraduate degree, and is designed for those who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in another subject. It enables you to gain a postgraduate Master’s qualification alongside gaining your nursing registration. The course follows the same path as the undergraduate nursing/midwifery course and takes 3 years, full-time, to complete. On completion of this pre-registration course you will be able to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Full-time: involves an average of at least 21 hours study per week, including private study and on-campus taught provision, for a period of 24 weeks or more. 


Part-time: less than 21 hours study per week, including private study and on-campus taught provision for periods of less than 24 weeks. Online and distance-learning courses are classified as part-time study. 

Flexible Study/Blended Learning and Distance Learning: include a variety of teaching and delivery methods designed to meet your goals and fit around your commitments. They usually comprise of a mix of online and face-to-face teaching.
Online Learning: these courses are delivered entirely online with no need for you to visit campus, although you can if you want to. You can study wherever and whenever suits you.

Global online: these are fully online courses that our supported by our Global Online team, so they come with some extra perks compared to our other online courses.​ 

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