Find further study: choose a course
Find out about factors to consider when choosing a postgraduate course.
UK course directories are available in the Information Room or you can search by course, region or university online. See the further study and funding section of our resources catalogue for links to online databases of UK and overseas courses, for example the Prospects database, Find a Masters and Find a PhD.
Whilst looking at courses, be sure to look out for funding information.
Factors to consider
Here are some factors you may want to take into account when choosing a course:
- How long has the course been running?
- How well known/respected is that course in its field?
- How good are the University/course links with employers?
- What has happened to graduates from the course?
- Who are the lecturers for that course and in that department?
- How useful/relevant to your needs is the course content - consider topics, skills, placements?
- How much will it cost?
- Are there significant pros and cons of the institution's location?
Here are some resources to help you find out more about institutions and courses:
This link to Universities and departments includes information on the postgraduate courses, facilities and support provided by UK universities.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs).
The Library Reference Collection on Level 2 includes league tables and university guides.
Some newspapers maintain online league table information e.g.
- Times Online: Good University Guide (website now by subscription only. You can use the book version in the Information Room)
- Education Guardian: University Guide - profiles of courses and institutions
- Times Higher Education Supplement World University Rankings
- The Complete University Guide - has profiles of universities, and university league tables
- Postgrad.com - information on courses, universities and funding, as well as a student forum and blog
All universities survey their graduates to compile statistics on what their undergraduates and postgraduates do after graduation. When you have a shortlist of courses, ask either the careers service or the academic department at the institutions concerned about getting access to this data.
Prospects.ac.uk has a Postgraduate fairs page - these events could be useful in allowing you to meet representatives from many institutions in one day. For individual university open days, see their websites or ask the relevant academic departments about visiting.