Whether you’re in your final year and trying to think of ways to avoid the real world for a bit longer, or just an ambitious fresher, tagging on some extra study to your undergrad might float your waka. But navigating the waters of postgraduate study options practically requires a PhD all on its own. To save you having to trawl through the regs, here’s your quick guide to all things postgrad.
Graduate certificate (60 points)/Graduate Diploma (120 points)
This is when you already have a degree, but you want to add some more study at undergraduate level without having to take a whole other degree. It’s like taking another undergraduate major or minor, which is great if you want to change to a different field or upskill in something that complements your degree. Like, if Julian did computer science, and created a robot that could destroy the world, he might decide to take a Grad Dip in philosophy and ethics to decide whether or not he should.
Postgraduate certificate (60 points)/Postgraduate Diploma (120 points)
These quals are studied at the next level up from undergrad and usually require self-directed research, in the same subject as your undergraduate degree. They’re often used as stepping stones to masters degrees. Or an exit qual if it turns out you can’t quite hack a whole masters.
Ok, this is where it gets a bit complicated. Masters can be anywhere from 120 – 240 points depending on your entry qual. If you’re going straight from a bachelor degree, you’ll have to do at least 180 points. All your papers will be at postgraduate level (500-level). There are actually three types of masters, but that isn’t really spelled out anywhere:
- Taught Masters: same subject as your undergrad degree and the majority of your papers are taught classes. You might include a 30-point or 60-point research paper.
- Research Masters: same subject as your undergrad degree. You may take some taught classes but will include a thesis (research project) of either 90 or 120 points. This is a pathway to PhD study.
- Conversion Masters: usually a professional qualification, in a different area of study from your undergrad degree, e.g. accounting or teaching.
And finally, the big kahuna. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the usual path, but you can also do a Doctor of Education, Doctor of Juridical Science or Doctor of Musical Arts. Three years of full-time self-directed research resulting in a mahoosive thesis. Not for the faint of heart!
This is a super quick intro to postgrad study, and there are lots of other things you need to know. So if you’re thinking about postgrad study make sure you talk to an adviser in your faculty to get all the deets!