What Are Postgraduate Students?

The definition or classification of postgraduate students varies from country to country. In the United States, a postgraduate student is one who has completed a baccalaureate degree program and is continuing coursework toward additional degrees, diplomas or certification. This article provides additional information about postgraduate study.

Historical Basis of Postgraduate Study

In medieval European universities, students completed liberal arts studies in approximately six years. An additional period of up to 10 years was required for further advancement in the study of law, medicine or theology. Postgraduate degrees were intended to equip the degree holder to teach a particular subject. The two main credentials that postgraduate students seek are master's degrees and doctoral degrees.

Important Facts About Postgraduate Studies

Prerequisites Varies, depending upon institution and intended program of enrollment; all programs require at least a bachelor's degree
Concentrations Classics, comparative literature, history, philosophy, physics, sociology, psychology, neural science, music
Online Availability Fully available for select programs
Possible Careers Engineer, budget analyst, art director, editor, teacher, lawyer, physician, surgeon

Postgraduate Students - Master's Degrees

In most countries today, a master's degree curriculum follows the bachelor's degree program and is the first step for postgraduate students. The time to completion can be as short as one year of postgraduate study for some programs such as a Master of Social Work. Other master's-level programs require an additional 2-5 years beyond the bachelor's degree. Postgraduate students who are working toward master's degrees generally earn a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.). More career-specific master's degrees are also available, including the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) or the aforementioned Master of Social Work. A master's degree may be the terminal degree for a career. One example is the library science master's degree.

Postgraduate Students - Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral postgraduate degrees are often classified as academic or professional doctorates. Two common academic doctorates are Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Science (D.Sc.). A doctoral degree program may require several years to complete. In most U.S. institutions of higher learning, the doctorate is the terminal postgraduate degree.

Other Postgraduate Students

Some postgraduate students choose to take additional coursework in their chosen fields to earn certificates or diplomas. These students may apply such coursework toward postgraduate degrees. They may also use the courses to satisfy continuing education requirements in their chosen professions.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • University of the Rockies

    University of the Rockies responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of the Rockies:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Argosy University

    Argosy University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Argosy University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University

    Purdue University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

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  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Judson University

    Judson University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Judson University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Georgetown University

    Georgetown University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Georgetown University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

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