Focus on Further Study

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Career Choice

This week in the Careers Service we’re focussing on Further Study as quite a few of our students will choose to leave Bath and pursue this avenue. This blog takes a look at the essential info you need to work out whether this is right for you, and how to find the best course and have the best chances of success in your applications. For the final years amongst you who read your faculty email last week, you’ll find the content is very familiar!

What sort of further study? 

In the UK, there are several choices for postgraduate study – the masters, the conversion course and the PhD.

Masters courses

These are the most common, and are mostly MSc or MA courses, with largely taught content and an extended dissertation or project. They take 12 months and use all of it, with no extended summer break. They are an ideal way to get deeper knowledge, or to move into a different area (eg to management, or computer science, from engineering). In some countries, at least 4 years of study are the norm, so getting a job can be hard in those countries without a masters.

There are also MRes courses, with less taught but more research content; these are designed as ‘taster’ courses for the PhD.

Conversion courses

Some postgraduate study enables you to move from your undergraduate degree into another subject, and are the recognised ‘entry point’ to those professions – for example the PGCE for teaching, and conversions to Physiotherapy and Psychology.


These are 3-4 years full-time research-only degrees and are for those who have a real love of a subject and want to pursue extended research into it. Think of it like a 3-year Final Year Project or Dissertation and you will have a good idea what it’s like. They are commonly required for work as a lecturer and can aid progression into some other fields as well.

Should I do further study?

There are some really good reasons to consider further study – needing a masters to access a job, wanting to specialise, wanting to refocus – but do think very carefully if your main reason is ‘it will generally make me more employable’ or ‘I’m not sure what else to do’. For lots of information and advice have a look at our GetStarted: Further study guide which will look in more detail at everything mentioned so far.

I want to do further study – how can I choose, and how do I apply?

Choosing a further study course is similar to choosing an undergraduate one – but there is no centralised way of applying, so you’ll need a different application for each course. To find courses, you can use the fantastically-named and

We have loads of resources on further study, including information on writing great personal statements, funding your studies, and studying in other countries. These will help you work out which sort of course would be best for you.

If you’d rather, you can come to one of our talks on Considering a Masters or Considering a PhD (or listen to a recording) and ask us questions. And don’t forget, you are very welcome to use our Applications Appointments to get feedback on your personal statements.

Thank you to Ghislaine Dell, Acting Head of the Careers Service and Careers Adviser, Engineering & Design who wrote this content.

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Career Choice


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