University of Leeds Featured Masters Courses
University of Portsmouth Featured Masters Courses
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi Featured Masters Courses
Imperial College London Featured Masters Courses
University of Leeds Featured Masters Courses

Types of Masters Degrees

Postgraduate degrees are much more varied than undergraduate courses. So which is right for you?

Our guides cover everything from taught MA and MSc courses, research-based MRes and MPhil programmes and shorter Postgraduate Certificates & Diplomas.

The qualification you choose may depend on your background and goals, with professional qualifications and conversion courses available for careers in law, business and teaching.

Elsewhere in our advice section we've compared taught vs research-based degrees and looked at reasons for taking up postgraduate study.

Academic Masters degrees

Many taught MA & MSc degrees or research-based MRes & MPhil courses explore advanced academic topics.

Read more

Professional Masters degrees

These courses provide professional qualification pathways or advanced training for specific jobs and careers.

Read more

Business Masters degrees

Various postgraduate degrees exist for experienced managers or aspiring business professionals.

Read more

Postgraduate Law courses

Various postgraduate courses exist for students wishing to qualify as lawyers, or specialise in legal topics.

Read more

Postgraduate Teacher Training courses

These courses allow students to qualify as teachers through postgraduate professional training.

Read more

Conversion courses

Conversion courses allow graduates to switch subject or prepare for new careers through additional training.

Read more

Taught vs research

Postgraduate degrees can be taught courses or based on independent research. Our guide explains the difference.

Read more

Modes of study

Postgraduate courses are often flexible. We've explained how you can study part-time, by distance learning or online.

Read more

Postgraduate qualifications explained

Taught Masters degrees involve studying a set schedule of lectures and seminars. Although they share plenty of similarities with undergraduate programmes, they involve a much greater level of independent study than you’ll be used to at Bachelors-level.

These are the main types of taught postgraduate qualification:

Research Masters degrees are even more independent in nature than taught programmes. Students on these courses will typically focus on their own research work rather than following a set timetable of modules.

The main kinds of research Masters degrees are:

Professional Masters degrees are vocational courses aimed to prepare students for a career in a particular sector.

These are some of the most popular professional postgraduate qualifications:

Looking for a quick way to compare different types of Masters degree, side by side? We’ve got just the thing.


Postgraduate Qualification Types
Degree Full Title Type Length Subjects
MA Master of Arts Taught 1-2 years Arts, Humanities & some Social Sciences
MSc Master of Science Taught 1-2 years Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & some Social Sciences
MRes Master of Research

Taught

-

Research

1-2 years All subjects
MPhil Master of Philosophy Research 2 years All subjects
MFA Master of Fine Arts

Practical

-

Professional

1-2 years Arts
MLitt Master of Letters

Taught

-

Research

1-2 years Arts & Humanities
LLM Master of Laws

Taught

-

Research

1-2 years Law
LPC Legal Practice Course Professional 1-2 years Law
GDL Graduate Diploma in Law Professional 1 year Law
MBA Master of Business Administration Professional 1-2 years Business & Management
MIM Masters in Management Professional 1 year Business & Management
MEng Master of Engineering

Taught

-

Professional

4 years Engineering & Technology
MSW Master of Social Work

Taught

-

Professional

2 years Social Work
PGCert Postgraduate Certificate

Taught

-

Professional

1 term All subjects
PGDip Postgraduate Diploma

Taught

-

Professional

2 terms All subjects
PGCE Postgraduate Certificate in Education Professional 1-2 years Teaching
PGDE Professional Diploma in Education Professional 1-2 years Teaching

Please note that individual degree programs can vary and it’s possible that a specific course at a given university might be slightly different to the typical guidelines above.

Did you know we currently list 22,404 Masters programs worldwide?


Why not take a look?

Last updated - 26/07/2019

This article is the property of FindAMasters.com and may not be reproduced without permission.

Click here to search our database of Masters courses