A postgraduate degree demonstrates commitment and an ability to complete an intensive and challenging qualification but also opens up new career possibilities unavailable to those only educated to undergraduate level.

Congratulations to those students that have completed their postgraduate degree. Postgraduate study can be difficult, and to have made it through to graduation is an outstanding achievement. Following graduation, people with a postgraduate degree have a couple of options:

Further study

Depending on the level of postgraduate study you have completed, you may be interested in continuing your journey in education. Approximately 10% of Master’s graduates in the UK continue into further study following their graduation.

Completing a master’s degree is a common route to further postgraduate study towards acquiring a PhD. While it may not always be the case, the majority of institutions will require PhD candidates to have achieved a master’s qualification as well as an undergraduate degree graded at 2:1 or higher. Even institutions that may not necessarily need candidates to have completed a masters, they will still look favourably on those who did.

If you have enjoyed your time studying for a master’s degree, then you may be keen to continue to progress your level of qualification. Visit our dedicated page to starting your PhD to find out more.

Job applications

Following the completion of your postgraduate degree, if you have chosen to end (or at least pause) your journey in education, you will be well-equipped with the skills, expertise and experience you need to enter the working world.

The vast majority (approximately 80%) of postgraduate students will enter work after graduation. Of those that were in employment, approximately 90% will enter a professional or managerial role.

Some employers may specify a postgraduate qualification, whether that be a master’s, PhD or alternative qualification, as an essential eligibility requirement to apply for a particular role. A postgraduate degree can increase your depth of knowledge and understanding of your field way beyond that of an undergraduate.

While not all employers will require candidates to have completed a postgraduate qualification, your academic history will still be highly valued and can help make an application stand out from the crowd.

Many people that have completed a postgraduate qualification have a firm idea of the type of career they are interested in entering. Postgraduate qualifications often tend to be more specific than those at undergraduate level.

For instance, if you have undertaken a master’s qualification in museum studies, then it is likely you are interested in a career working in a museum or gallery, perhaps as a creative director. Or suppose you have completed a specific PhD research project in the ways single-use plastics are damaging the coral reef habitats of marine wildlife, then it’s likely you are interested in working in environmental marine biology.

However, if you are still unsure of the career path to take after graduation, don’t panic. There are many options for you to explore. A great place to start is by attending a careers fair. This will provide you with the chance to speak to a range of companies about the careers available to graduates with a postgraduate qualification.

If you want to understand more about the industries and careers available to postgraduates, take some time to explore our graduate career paths.