Want to change your career path but studied something unrelated at undergraduate level?
A postgraduate conversion course might be the perfect way to pursue a different subject and open up new opportunities, including in professional careers such as Law and Teaching.
The PGCE provides initial teacher training, usually in a subject related to your degree.Read more
The GDL allows postgraduates to train professionally in law, despite having studied an unrelated undergraduate subject.Read more
These degrees provide professional training and education for postgraduates seeking to qualify as psychologists.Read more
The MSW is a specialised Masters for students training as social workers.Read more
A conversion course is a programme of study that trains a graduate in a new subject and (usually) prepares them for a specific profession.
These are often (but not always) Masters-level courses. However, many are shorter than a full Masters, with a greater focus on practical training in place of a dissertation.
Postgraduate conversion courses come in many different guises, but these are the most popular:
In professions such as teaching, a conversion course is a common qualification pathway that draws on the expertise a student has gained in their undergraduate subject. An English teacher, for example, might study Literature at Bachelors level, with the intention of then taking a PGCE and qualifying to work in schools.
In other areas, conversion courses offer a chance for people to ‘redirect’ their careers, or transition from an academic to a vocational subject. A Philosophy graduate, for example, might choose to study for a GDL as part of a route into legal practice.
There are four main types of postgraduate conversion course:
It's sometimes possible to transfer between conversion courses to 'upgrade' your qualification. For example, you might put the credits you've earned on a PGCert or PGDip towards a full Masters.
Postgraduate conversion courses are designed to prepare you for a career unrelated to your undergraduate degree. As such, there are lots of options available that don’t require any substantial prior experience of their subject.
These are some of the most popular subjects you could choose to take a conversion course in:
As you’d expect, the precise entry requirements differ from course to course. In general, you’ll need at least a 2:1 degree in any subject, but some programmes will accept a 2:2.
In some cases, you’ll need to show evidence of a prior interest in the subject or profession you’re ‘converting’ to. For example, most PGCEs ask that applicants have already some classroom experience. Similarly, relevant work experience is required for a Masters in Social Work.
Postgraduate conversion courses will give you a solid grounding in what you might have missed in the subject at undergraduate level.
If it’s a level 6 graduate diploma (like the Graduate Diploma in Law), the programme will most likely condense 18 months of undergraduate study into one intensive year.
Meanwhile, if you take a level 7 conversion course – i.e. a Masters or a PGDip – you’ll learn the undergraduate essentials of the subject in preparation before studying Masters-level modules.
Many postgraduate conversion courses are offered on a part-time basis – universities recognise that students who are interested in changing their career direction often have extra commitments, and part-time study is one way of accommodating them.
Sometimes there’s also the option of studying a conversion course online or via distance learning methods. This can be ideal if you’re unable to attend university on a regular basis, for whatever reason. And, as long as they’re accredited by the relevant organisation, these courses will give you the same opportunities to register as a professional in your sector.
This depends on what type of postgraduate conversion course you’re taking, so it’s best to check on the relevant advice page on FindAMasters.com, or to consult our funding guide. However, there are a few rules of thumb:
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Last updated - 14/12/2017