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 by Ben Taylor
, posted on 12 Nov '20

5 Reasons to Start a Postgraduate Conversion Course

If you want to pursue a different career path, a postgraduate conversion course can be the perfect way of changing your skillset and opening up new employment opportunities – particularly given the current context of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s this ability to fast-track your way to a new vocation that makes these qualifications so attractive for many graduates and people returning to education. And there are plenty of other reasons to choose a postgraduate conversion course. If you’re not convinced, perhaps this blog will convert you (pun intended).

#1 Lots of different subjects to choose from

When most people think of postgraduate conversion courses, the first ones that come to mind are probably the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). And with good reason – these qualifications are among the most popular conversion courses on offer.

But there are lots of other subjects that you can pursue after studying something different for your Bachelors degree; conversion courses aren’t just for teachers and lawyers! Here are a few of them:

  • Psychology – If you study a PGDip or MSc Psychology that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), you can gain the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) that you’ll need to become a trained psychologist. You’re not required to have studied Psychology at undergraduate level to enrol on one of these programmes.
  • Business Management – The Masters in Management (MiM) is aimed at graduates who don’t have any substantial experience of business or finance, allowing them to develop a new set of commercial skills and knowledge.
  • Accounting – Many Masters-level courses in Accounting are open to graduates from any academic background.
  • Computer Science – Even if you didn’t study an Information Technology-related subject at Bachelors-level, you could reorient your career path with an MSc in Computer Science, many of which are designed for students with no relevant experience in IT.
  • Journalism – Budding journalists can study a Masters in Journalism without a Bachelors degree in Journalism (some form of work experience might be required, however).
  • Property – Many universities offer programmes in subjects related to Real Estate and Surveying that are geared towards graduates without a background in this area.

#2 A variety of qualification levels

Even though you’re reading this blog on, our website doesn’t just cover Masters programmes. The same goes for postgraduate conversion courses, which aren’t necessarily taken as a full, 180 CATS / 90 ECTS credit Masters qualification. This means you can be a little more flexible with your studies – you don’t always have to take a year-long career break to complete a programme.

In practice, this means that there are four main types of conversion course to choose from:

  • Graduate Diploma (GDip) – Usually worth 120 CATS / 60 ECTS, these are level 6 qualifications that contain a selection of key modules that would’ve been studied on a full undergraduate degree. The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is probably the most popular GDip, effectively condensing 18 months of undergraduate Law into an intensive year of study.
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) – A PGDip is a level 7 qualification, normally comprising 120 CATS / 60 ECTS credits of Masters-level study.
  • Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) – A PGCert is a shorter alternative to a PGDip, usually worth 60 CATS / 30 ECTS credits of Masters-level study. A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is one of the most common routes into teaching.
  • Masters conversion courses – Just like a traditional Masters qualification, a Masters conversion course involves 180 CATS / 90 ECTS credits of study. Unlike the other options in this list, however, you’ll usually need to write a dissertation during your programme.

#3 Added flexibility

The fact that there are several different kinds of conversion course means that you’ll be able to pick a programme that suits you and your circumstances. For example, if you’re already working you could opt for a PGDip or PGCert that offers a postgraduate qualification without the time commitment that a full Masters might entail. Also, with one of these shorter courses you usually won’t have to write a dissertation – not that this is anything to be afraid of!

Of course, in some cases you might need to study a full Masters to follow your desired career path. Many universities offer conversion courses on a part-time basis, allowing you to fit your studies around work and other commitments.

#4 Diverse experiences

It might seem counterintuitive, but studying an unrelated subject for your undergraduate degree can give you another dimension of experience to draw from during and after a conversion course.

If you studied a Science discipline at university, for example, you might be able to bring this expertise to bear on a Law conversion course. Conversely, if you’re a Law graduate you could find that your knowledge comes in useful on a Journalism Masters.

Similarly, if you’ve been working for several years after graduating, you might use this professional experience during a conversion course.

#5 Career certainty

By the time you’ve begun a postgraduate conversion course, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of where you want your career to go than you did before starting an undergraduate degree. Three (or more) years of experience makes a lot of difference.

With many conversion courses tailored towards a particular profession, you’ll be well-placed to take advantage of any opportunities that come your way.

Editor's note: This blog was first published on 12/04/18. We've checked and updated it for current readers.

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