What is a Postgraduate Student?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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A postgraduate student is a person who has already earned a four-year undergraduate degree, commonly called a bachelor’s degree, and then gone on to pursue postgraduate education. For instance, a postgraduate student may enroll in an educational program that ends with a master’s degree or and even pursue a doctoral degree. In most cases, such educational programs require a person to earn a bachelor’s degree prior to enrollment and meet other admission requirements. There some accelerated programs, however, that allow students to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree through the same program.

In the simplest terms, a postgraduate student is simply a student who continues with studying after he has graduated form another education program. Usually, however, this term is not used to describe a person who has graduated from high school or completed an associate’s degree program. Instead, it is typically used to indicate a person who has graduated with a four-year college degree and then gone on to pursue additional studies at an institution of higher learning. The term is often applied to a person who is seeking a master’s degree but is used for those seeking doctoral degrees as well.


When a postgraduate student seeks a master’s degree, he usually has to apply for admission and submit college transcripts along with the results of pre-admission testing to the school he is hoping to attend. Often, he will have to write an essay as part of the admission process as well. Some educational programs that offer master’s degrees also require postgraduate students to participate in interviews and obtain recommendation letters. In most cases, a master’s degree program lasts for about two years and requires an individual to earn 30 graduate level credits.

A postgraduate student may also seek a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). This is the most advanced degree a person can obtain from a higher-learning institution. Since a doctoral degree is more advanced than a master’s degree, a person who wants to earn it usually has to commit to more time in school than he would with a master’s degree program. In most cases, a person who wants to earn a PhD has to commit several years to earning it after graduating from an undergraduate program. Some of these programs accept postgraduate students who have earned bachelor’s degrees, but the more competitive doctoral programs may require a master’s degree as a prerequisite.


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Post 3

@animegal - In a postgraduate program like a Master of Arts the course work is much more difficult than undergraduate work and students find themselves restricted to taking fewer courses at a time, but with a much heavier work load.

Often the school will recommend that you give yourself at least 10 to 15 hours of week to focus on one class, and this is only taking into consideration basic assignments and reading. When it comes to final papers time management can become an issue.

I think anyone considering becoming a postgraduate student should be fully dedicated to his or her program. There is a huge amount of reading and research involved and it requires a fully committed student.

Post 2

How is postgraduate student work different than undergraduate work?

Post 1

I believe that pursuing a postgraduate degree is something that should be done carefully and with a lot of thought. With a Master of Arts degree you can usually expect to invest one to two years of study and a fair bit of money. Usually a Master of Arts degree will cost around $20,000 minimum.

A lot of school offer postgraduate students the ability to work as a teacher’s assistant as a way to give them professional experience in front of classes, and to help offset the costs of the program. Unfortunately, there aren’t always enough spots for postgraduate students and you should make sure you have a backup source of financing.

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