Our taught postgraduates (PGTs)

Taught postgraduates from the University of Birmingham are highly skilled and employable.

Take a look below for more information on the various courses, motivations, availability and preferences of our taught postgraduate students.

Courses

Our ‘taught’ postgraduates take a range of courses:

  • Taught Masters degree (often called an MA or MSc)
    • One year full time or two years part time
    • Two-thirds taught modules and one-third research project
    • Combined taught-and-research Masters degree (often called an MRes)
      • One year full time or two years part time
      • One-third taught modules and two-thirds extended research project or research placement(s)
      • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip): more popular in vocational subject areas
      • Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert): a shorter postgraduate degree often in a vocational area

The following diagram explains the relationship between these courses:

University of Birmingham courses

Why have our taught postgraduates chosen postgraduate study?

Taught postgraduates are extremely diverse and undertake further study for a wide variety of different reasons, at different stages in their lives. Their motivations include:

  • Specialising in a particular area of their chosen discipline
  • Changing direction and training for a new career
  • Bringing their knowledge and skills up-to-date
  • Giving themselves extra time to acquire additional qualification and knowledge that will stand out to employers
  • Up-skilling and progressing in their current career
  • Determining their future areas of interest in more detail
  • Fulfilling passion for their subject and a desire to learn more

When are our taught postgraduates available for work?

Teaching for most taught postgraduate students (PGTs) starts at the end of September. Teaching takes place September – December and January - March, with exams in January and in May/early June.

Most PGT students then work on a dissertation, project or research placement from June- September, and graduate in December.

Combined taught and research (MRes students) usually have taught modules September - December, then spend the rest of their time on an extended dissertation, research project or research placement(s).

For PGTs looking for work experience, part-time summer opportunities or flexible placements are often preferable to a full-time summer internship, as they are working on their dissertations or research projects at this time.

The majority of taught postgraduates finish their courses in mid-September, when they are then available for full-time work. This means that taught postgraduates are able to start work slightly later than undergraduates, who tend to graduate in July. 

Do taught postgraduates study subjects that are useful for you

Birmingham University is made up of five Colleges (i.e. faculties) within which our academic schools and departments sit. These are:

The College of Arts and Law
The College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
The College of Life and Environmental Sciences
The College of Medical and Dental Sciences
The College of Social Sciences

Our taught postgraduates study an array of different courses across all of these areas. You can use the links above to view listings of taught postgraduate (PGT) courses in each of our Colleges, to see how the specialist subject knowledge of our students can fit with your organisation’s needs.

To find out more about engaging with postgraduate students from particular subject areas and disciplines, contact Katie Hoare, Postgraduate Employer Liaison Officer to discuss your recruitment needs.

What kinds of opportunities are taught postgraduates seeking?

Since taught postgraduates decide to progress to further study for so many different reasons, their intended destinations after graduation are varied. Many are interested in applying for similar jobs to final year undergraduate students, whilst others want to use their postgraduate qualification to progress into experienced hire roles in their current area. Depending on their motivations and programme of study therefore, our taught postgraduates may be seeking:

  • A place on a graduate scheme
  • A (post)graduate-level role in an area directly related to their postgraduate degree, e.g. Toxicology, Biotechnology, Health Economics, Translation Studies
  • An entry-level role in their sector of choice (be this related or unrelated to their degree subject, e.g. museums, galleries and the cultural sector)
  • A graduate-level role not directly linked to their subject area, to which they can apply the transferable skills developed during their studies (e.g. recruitment consultancy, professional services)
  • A research/research and development role to practically apply their Masters-level learning to industry
  • A promotion/higher role within their current organisation or sector
  • A first role as part of a career change
  • An internship or work experience to explore their options and strengthen their skills profile
  • A PhD opportunity

If you have roles that you would like to advertise to our postgraduate students, or are interested in targeting postgraduates from particular subject areas, please contact Katie Hoare, Postgraduate Employer Liaison Officer. 

Meet our taught postgraduates

Find out more about the skills and qualities that our postgraduates have to offer in their own words: 

What do you feel sets a Masters student/graduate apart from an undergraduate?

“I think that a there is a certain level of motivation and drive that Masters students have compared to some undergraduates. A Masters also offers the opportunity to start making connections with other researchers and make a name for ourselves.”

Why might a Masters student be of value to employers?

“Masters students are trained to a higher level in skills such as researching and problem solving. Furthermore, Masters students have experienced a greater level of personal responsibility: taking a Masters degree demonstrates a lot of personal ambition.”

How has your Masters prepared you for the future?

“My Masters has been instrumental in my development as a researcher and in developing my ambitions for the future. At Masters level you are far more able to explore your interests and discover what it is you want to do for a job, or what you want to study further.”

Katie Richards
MRes Medieval Studies