Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu

Cymraeg

Postgraduate

Postgraduate Taught Scholarships £500,000 worth of scholarships

Postgraduate degrees

PG choosing a book 720x324

At Cardiff University, you can choose from a wide range of postgraduate programmes. The programme suitable for you depends on a combination of your academic qualifications and/or your work experience, your career objectives, personal interests and circumstances.

There are two main branches of postgraduate study: research and taught degrees. Increasingly, research degrees that contain some structured teaching are being offered, such as our Master of Research (MRes) programmes, Professional Doctorates, and our PhD in Economics.

Taught degrees

Taught postgraduate degrees have a wide range of vocational and academic objectives and aim to provide advanced and specialist knowledge and may bring together themes from a number of disciplines.

Some taught programmes also allow you the opportunity to change career direction, such as some of the programmes we offer in Journalism and Computer Science & Informatics.

Benefits of a taught degree

The many benefits of undertaking postgraduate study include:

  • increasing your career and promotion prospects by developing a stronger academic and/or vocational profile;
  • the chance to change career direction;
  • increasing your transferable skills for a future or current career;
  • intellectual development;
  • developing new skills and problemsolving abilities.

Taught Masters

There is a range of taught master's degree titles: The two most common degree titles are Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MSc). Other master's degrees are specifically named, at Cardiff University these include MScEcon, MBA, MPA, MPH, LLM, MMus, MTh.

All taught master programmes involve a period of structured teaching, normally over two semesters full-time or modules of the value of 120 credits, combining instruction through lectures, seminars, tutorials, directed reading and independent study as well as practical work. Some courses may also include industrial or work-related placements.

The taught element of a masters is directly followed by the preparation and submission of an independent dissertation, normally over the summer, which reports the outcomes of a single research or practical-based project, worth 60 credits at masters level for a total of 180 credits.

Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)

A PgDip offers the same level of specialised knowledge and the same structured teaching as a masters but without the dissertation component. Postgraduate diplomas comprise 120 credits.

Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert)

Postgraduate Certificates offer the same standard and level of teaching as a masters and PgDip but are less extensive than postgraduate diplomas comprising modules totalling 60 credits.

Graduate Diploma

Cardiff University offers two Graduate Diplomas: the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Both allow a graduate of a non-subject specific degree to gain a degree in the respective area, which allows to proceed further in the chosen career path.

Degree classification Mode of Study Period of Study
Taught Masters full-time 1 year
part-time 2 to 3 years
PgDip full-time 9 months
part-time 18 to 21 months
PgCert full-time 6 to 9 months
part-time 2 semesters or 2 years
MScD (taught) full-time 3 years
Graduate Diploma full-time 9 to 10 months
part-time 2 years

Taught modules can be assessed using a variety of methods, including essays, reports, written examinations, and presentations.

Dissertation

Master degrees also include a written dissertation comprising approximately 15,000 to 20,000 words, which reports the outcomes of a single research or practical-based project.

Research degrees

Research degrees are commonly undertaken with a view to an academic or research career but also offer exciting career prospects outside of academia and research.

Benefits of a research degree

The many benefits of undertaking a research degree include:

  • developing more specialised knowledge and expertise;
  • increasing your career and promotion prospects by developing a stronger research profile;
  • making a valuable contribution to new knowledge;
  • intellectual development;
  • developing new skills and problemsolving abilities.

Your research project

Opportunities for supervised research are available in all our academic Schools and you are encouraged to explore opportunities in academic Schools outside your original degree subject. For example, our School of Medicine has regularly PhD projects available for graduates from a vast range of subjects including Biology and other life sciences, Computer Science and Informatics, Statistics and Mathematics, Psychology and Social Sciences, Chemistry and other physical sciences.

If you are not yet sure about a specific research project, you may want to do a Master of Research (MRes) or a taught master that includes a research project (most do) first. Particular examples of taught masters with a specific focus on research are our MSc in Social Science Research Methods, the MA in Language and Communication Research or the MSc in Neuroimaging Methods & Applications.

Research degrees involve an in-depth and independent study of a specified field over a prolonged period of study.

Increasingly, research degrees that contain some structured teaching are being offered, such as our Master of Research (MRes) programmes, Professional Doctorates, and our PhD in Economics, providing advanced research training and specialist knowledge.

The type of research you are engaged in and your experience will differ depending on whether you are studying for a lab-based research degree or within the humanities and social sciences.

Degree classification Mode of Study Period of Study
PhD full-time 3 to 4 years
part-time 5 to 7 years
EngD full-time 4 years
DClinPsy, DEdPsy full-time 3 years
EdD, DSW, DHS, SPPD part-time 4 to 7 years
DNurs part-time 4 to 7 years
MD full-time 2 to 3 years
part-time 3 to 5 years
MCh full-time 1 years
part-time 2 to 5 years
MPhil full-time 1 to 2 years
part-time 2 - 3 years
MScD by research full-time 1 to 2 years
part-time min 2 years
MRes full-time 1 year

See also the Academic Regulations Handbook

The results of the research are written up in the form of a thesis or dissertation that demonstrates the design and execution of an original piece of research. The length of the document depends on the chosen research degree.

Doctorates and MPhils will also be assessed by an oral examination (viva voce).

Where the research degree incorporates taught elements, these may be assessed independently.

PG Taught and Research degrees

Postgraduate