Studying Full Time for a Postgraduate Degree

Studying full time for a Postgraduate Degree basis is common and popular among students seeking future employment in their chosen subjects. Students will work at a high and intense level for the duration of this course obtaining their qualification as quickly as possible. Usually, the contact hours vary from course to course but full-time studying entails attending weekly lectures and seminars. You may be required to attend university from 9am to 5pm every weekday. 

Courses such as Business, Science and Law require more class time for their respective programmes. While Humanities and Arts generally will not require as much classroom time. Whatever the course you are taking, course coordinators, lecturers and tutors will expect you to study independently for six or seven hours daily. 

Studying Full Time for a Postgraduate Degree

Choosing to study a postgraduate course on a full-time basis requires consideration of factors like time and cost. There are several reasons why you would want to finish a postgraduate course faster or more slowly. You could want to return to work as quickly as possible following a career break and want to enhance your employment as well as earning prospects. You could be trying to balance your family life with your studies, which can be challenging. 

The costs of studying full-time to part-time can vary. Tuition fees are higher for students studying on a full-time basis in comparison with part-time study. According to UCAS, these courses can range from £4,900 to £30,000 but they put the average at £11,000 per year. Arts courses tend to cost less than STEM courses, such as Medicine. This can be a key factor in what way a student might prefer to study for their postgraduate course. 

There are also ways of funding available, including Postgraduate Loans, crowdfunding, Research Council Grants, Scholarships and bursaries. Living costs such as rent, food and travel need consideration. Places like Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh are expensive as well as London. Cost is certainly a factor that must be considered but this is not to be taken as an attempt by the writer of this piece to discourage you from taking up the course full-time! 

Studying a postgraduate degree yields many advantages

  • It focuses on one specific topic within a wider subject giving students a greater amount of specialist knowledge 
  • It provides an opportunity to build on your skillset allowing you to be more flexible and prepared for an ever-changing work market
  • It is more flexible than an undergraduate course in terms of modules and study options
  • The class sizes are smaller allowing you to meet and interact with people in a group (Hopefully when this is possible again!)
  • It allows you to experience the university campus 
  • You can also gain access to non-course offerings, such as student organisations, lunches with academics, etc. 

International students usually prefer studying on a full-time basis as there are restrictions on the number of hours that they can work whilst studying and it could also affect their Visa requirements. 

The Length of Courses for Postgraduates

Taught programmes are usually conducted through seminars, classrooms and supervised laboratory work. Work is assessed through assignments, essays, exams and dissertations. Students are encouraged to study on their own but they do receive plenty of support from their tutors. The Masters in Arts (MA) and Science (MSc) are usually very popular among students but other master’s courses can include: Law (LLM), Architecture (MArch), Education (MEd), Engineering (MEng), Fine Arts (MFA), Masters of Letters (MLitt), Music (MMus), Philosophy (MPhil), Studies (MST). They usually take students between one and two years to complete.  

Research Programmes take place through the pursuit of a self-directed project. It aims to contribute new ideas and theories to human knowledge. Usually, it will take place as part of a broader programme at an institute of study. The two key types of Research Programmes are a Masters in Research (MRes) or regardless of the subject studied a Masters in Philosophy (MPHIL), which usually takes two years for students to complete. The highest research degree is a Doctor of Philosophy, which takes a minimum of 3 years to complete.   


Postgrad.co.uk provides information about postgraduate courses and study in the UK. We list thousands of postgraduate courses from universities and colleges in the UK so you can search for the course of your choice. 

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