Postgraduate

Masters' Awards

Taught Masters'

Video: The differences between postgraduate and undergraduate study

Taught Masters' courses typically include subject specific taught modules and a dissertation or research project of approximately 15,000 – 18,000 words.

They are usually studied full time over 12 months. To help you combine postgraduate study with other commitments, many courses also offer flexible and part-time study options.

Choosing a taught Masters'

Our taught Masters' courses give you opportunities to:

  • extend your knowledge and skills in a subject beyond undergraduate level
  • develop knowledge and skills in a subject that differs from your previous studies or work experience
  • prepare for a postgraduate research degree
  • develop the professional skills required for your chosen career

Steps to taught postgraduate study

Steps to taught postgraduate study

Are you interested in taught postgraduate study but would like some general guidance? The Steps to Postgraduate Study website can offer you just that. It's sponsored by the four UK higher education funding bodies, so it is an official, independent guide. 

Steps to taught postgraduate study logo formatted as an inline logo

Types of award

A Master’s is awarded for the successful completion of 120 credits of taught modules and a 60 credit dissertation or research project.

The titles of taught Masters' awards vary to reflect the subject area studied. Awards available include:

  • MA – Master of Arts
  • MBA – Master of Business Administration
  • MClinRes – Master of Clinical Research
  • MEd – Master of Education
  • MFA – Master of Fine Art
  • MMedEd - Master of Medical Education
  • LLM – Master of Laws
  • MSc – Master of Science

Other postgraduate awards are earned for partial completion of a Master’s course:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) is awarded if you successfully complete half of the taught modules (60 credits)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) is awarded if you successfully complete all of the taught modules (120 credits)

Research Masters'

Research Masters' courses are designed to further your knowledge of a specific subject, culminating in a focused research project, dissertation or thesis. They can be tailored to your interests and offer the scope to study topics that may not be available as a taught Master’s course.

Many research Masters' include some taught modules that introduce specific subjects or relevant professional and research skills.

They are usually studied full time over 12 months. To help you combine postgraduate study with other commitments many courses also offer flexible and part-time study options.

Choosing a research Masters'

Our research Masters' courses give you opportunities to:

  • complete a focused and original piece of research, without the time commitment required for a Doctoral award
  • extend your knowledge and skills in a specific subject beyond undergraduate level
  • prepare for a Doctoral award
  • develop the skills required for careers in academic or industrial research, or professions where an understanding of research methods is essential

Types of award

The titles of research Masters' awards vary to reflect the subject area studied. Awards available include:

LLM (by research) – Master of Law

The LLM (by research) provides an excellent foundation for a PhD or for a career in the legal profession. You receive research training and undertake original research leading to the completion of a 50,000 word dissertation.

MLitt – Master of Literature

Available only for arts-based programmes, this award combines taught modules with research training and assignments. You write either a supervised dissertation, of 16,000-24,000 words, or a series of research assignments.

MMus – Master of Music

The Master of Music combines portfolio work (eg composition or examples of academic writing), essays, commentary on creative practice work, oral examinations, research training and a major creative project or dissertation.

MPhil – Master of Philosophy

This award is available in all subject areas. You receive research training and undertake original research leading to the completion of a 40,000- 50,000 word thesis.

MRes – Master of Research

Available in various subject areas, this award combines taught modules, research training and a dissertation.