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Which postgraduate course should I choose?

A guide to help you choose the right degree

A postgraduate degree can take you in many different directions. Deciding what to study will depend on where you want to go.

Postgraduate study offers a range of opportunities and courses to choose from, so it's understandable if you feel overwhelmed and don't know where to begin.

To help kickstart your postgraduate journey, we've taken the options on offer and simplified them down to five key differences. Use these questions to help narrow your choices and find the best path for you.

Do you want to change your profession?

Many postgraduate degrees offer a pathway to professional accreditation, and for some, you can enter from any background, regardless of your undergraduate degree.

These degrees are offered in areas such as accounting, law, teaching, nursing, social work, dentistry or a health science profession such as occupational therapy or speech pathology.

Most of these have an internship or clinical placement component, and some offer part-time study.

  • Doctor of Dental Medicine
  • Juris Doctor (Graduate entry law)
  • Master of Exercise Physiology
  • Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry)
  • Master of Professional Accounting
  • Master of Social work (Qualifying)
  • Master of Teaching (Primary)
  • Master of Urban and Regional Planning

Are you interested in coursework or research?

Both postgraduate coursework and research degrees offer you the opportunity to pursue a passion, but how would you like to do it? 

  • Do you want to answer a big question and delve deep into your curiosity, not knowing what the answer may be? If yes, postgraduate research is for you.
  • Or would you like a more structured path that can allow for flexibility yet covers off key objectives and learning areas to advance your career? If this sounds right, then postgraduate coursework is for you.

Broadly speaking, postgraduate coursework takes on a similar format to undergraduate study with lectures, tutorials, assignments and exams.

A postgraduate research degree, however, will involve preparing a substantial piece of work, typically a thesis.

Do you have a question or passion you would like to explore?

Some people are drawn to a research degree because they are highly independent learners and would like to develop their own path rather than follow prescribed coursework. Some came across a specific question during their previous study and want to undertake research to find the answer. Others have a passion for a particular area they want to explore.

Research candidates are trained in general research methodology to gain transferable research skills. Previously this lead mainly to academic careers but increasingly industry have come to realise the applicable skills that research graduates have.

You will need some research experience to undertake a postgraduate research degree.

Available in all faculties:
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Master of Philosophy
We also offer specialised research degrees, such as:
  • Master of Fine Arts
  • Master of Education (Research)
  • Doctor of Arts
  • Master of Criminology (Research)
  • Master of Laws (Research)
  • Master of Music Studies (Performance)

Search all courses.

Do you want to gain industry training or knowledge?

Many postgraduate coursework degrees offer industry knowledge and training as a stepping stone to career development. For example, you may already be in the workforce and looking to get a foothold in a particular industry such as banking or finance.

Perhaps you might work in a multinational company and would like to obtain a formal qualification in international relations to reinforce your experience. Or you might have just graduated from your bachelor’s degree and want an add on qualification to enter a public health career.

Many of these degrees offer graduate certificate and graduate diploma options as shorter qualifications or pathways into the master’s degree. We also consider relevant work experience or previous study to reduce the length of your degree.

  • Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations
  • Graduate Diploma in Transport
  • Master of Agriculture and Environment
  • Master of Commerce (Accounting)
  • Master of International Business

Do you want to specialise further in your career?

Some postgraduate coursework degrees are designed to take you further in your chosen field. They typically build on your expertise and are closely related to what you studied at an undergraduate level or your work experience.

These degrees enable you to specialise and gain highly specific knowledge in the next step of your career. They are generally our shortest degrees and can be completed in one year. They are offered in a flexible environment in block mode and/or online.

  • Graduate Certificate in Architectural Science (Sustainable Design)
  • Graduate Diploma in Complex Systems
  • Master of Science in Coaching Psychology

Last updated: 17 Oct 2022

16 August 2018

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