If after completing your undergraduate degree you decide to continue your studies then maybe a masters or a doctorate (PhD) is the right option for you.
There are two types of masters available: Taught masters and Master's by research. UCAS has information on these and other postgraduate qualifications. Find a masters is a directory of courses at academic institutions both in the U.K. and around the world, and also has useful advice on funding.
Taught masters programmes
A taught masters course is similar to an undergraduate degree and you attend lectures, perform practicals and have either the option of exams or producing a thesis at the end to gain an MSc (Masters of Science). They normally last between 1-2 years full time or up to 3 years part time.
Masters by research
Students interested in research can advance into a Masters of research (MRes). A research Masters includes a small proportion of lectures but the majority of your time is spent on your independent research project(s). Instead of exams you prepare a thesis on your independent research which is then submitted at the end of your course. These courses last 1-2 years full time or 2-4 years part time and they are often seen as a preparatory course for a PhD. At the end you gain an MRes (Masters of Research).
Some students go straight from an undergraduate degree into a PhD. A lot of PhDs are partially or fully funded by research councils associated with the UK Research Council who award grants to university departments. The departments then advertise these funded places to students as studentships on a competitive basis.
Find a PhD is a directory of PhD's at academic institutions in the U.K. and abroad.
These are useful as they coordinate research projects across the country and can be a source of further information and possibly funding. The home of the research councils can be found online at Research Councils UK. Other Research Councils Include the:
- Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council
- Economic and Social Research Council
- Engineering and Physical Science Research Council
- Medical Research Council
- Natural Environment Research Council
- Science and Technology Facilities Council