Postgraduate study has several key differences to its undergraduate equivalent. Understanding them can help potential students make more informed decision as to whether or not it’s for them.
Master and PhD programs tend to require students undergo a huge amount of research. In addition, they focus far less on coursework than undergraduate degrees. Using the PhD as an example, one of two avenues of study are commonly available:
Master level programs can be quite similar. They tend to be split into either a research or coursework master, although many subject areas don’t have research components.
Where bachelor degrees can take between three to five years, postgraduate programs can be as short as six months. The following table represents the most common time frames, although these can be either less or more depending on the course. Level of relevant prior study can reduce completion times even further than values specified here.
|Degree type||Full time duration||Part time duration|
|Graduate certificate||Six months||One year|
|Graduate diploma||One year||Two years|
|Master’s degree||Two years||Four years|
|PhD||Three years||Eight years|
The advanced level of education offered by postgraduate study can quite literally come at a price. Where bachelor degrees can cost on average anywhere between $15,000 - $33,000 pa, master degrees can be from $20,000 - $37,000 pa. If you’re doing a Master of Business Administration, you can expect to pay anywhere between $40,000 and $121,000.
Graduate certificates and diplomas aren’t exempt from this price increase. They might only got for six months to a year, but prices are still high. Take the Graduate Certificate in Sports Medicine from the University of Melbourne, costing $12,224. If it were a year long course, it’d be far more expensive than bachelor rates, weighing in at $24,448 pa. This just so happens to be the price of its equivalent graduate diploma.
It should be clear from these figures that no matter the program you choose, make sure it’s the right one for you. If you’re not sure how to do this, it helps to determine if it’ll lead to a career you find fulfilling.