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Five things you didn’t know about postgraduate study

Weighing up which study option is best for you can be daunting. But once you get into it you’ll be surprised at how many benefits and bonuses can come out of postgraduate study.


By definition, postgraduate courses need students to have an undergraduate degree. However, by combining your previous work experience and qualifications, you may be able to apply for a postgrad course without a bachelor’s degree.

Entry requirements will differ from course to course, but if you’re considering doing an undergraduate degree it’s worth checking to see what you’re eligible for. If you’re studying at university for the first time or it’s been a while, be sure to look at shorter degrees like graduate certificates or diplomas – but more on that later.

If you’ve completed an undergraduate degree you might be familiar with student HELP loans. The great news is these are also available for postgrad courses.

Rather than pay upfront, FEE-HELP loans let you take out a loan with the Government that you pay off through tax. This can sometimes be much easier than paying for your course upfront.

Some postgraduate courses also provide Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs), which means the Government subsidises your course fees. So, it’s worth shopping around to see which courses provide CSPs as it can save you thousands in the long run.

While undergraduate courses contain students at varying points of their careers, postgraduate students have a certain level of knowledge and work experience.

Not only will you be in a room with like-minded people who will enhance your learning through discussion and collaboration, many students will also have strong industry connections. These connections can come in handy after you graduate and they’re not the only connections waiting to be made on campus.

Academic staff not only know a world of people within industry, but are in important roles themselves. Not to mention who will pop up as a guest lecturer throughout your course.

It ain’t called a master’s degree for nothing!

The completion of a master’s degree shows that you have displayed mastery and high-level knowledge in your chosen discipline, and that you can analyse, evaluate, and solve complex problems.

This combination of specific knowledge and important general skills will set you apart in your industry, and make you a master in demand.

The odds are, if you’re going to be studying a postgraduate degree you will be doing it part-time. The length of time this takes can seem very daunting, but the good news is there are options available.

Some disciplines provide stepping stones to a master’s degree through graduate certificates and diplomas. These allow you to complete a smaller number of units which will count towards a master’s while walking away with a postgrad qualification.

Postgraduate degree progression

  1. Graduate certificate – 4 units
  2. Graduate Diploma – 8 units
  3. Master’s degree – 12 units

So, completing a graduate certificate will have you half way to a graduate diploma, or a third of the way to a master’s degree, and you’ll get to dress up for graduation and pop your new qualification on your CV!

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