University of Bath

Find further study: why do postgraduate study?

Find out about good and more problematic motivations for postgraduate study.

Getting started

If you're considering going on to do postgraduate study, we can help by providing information and impartial advice.

Any funded postgraduate opportunities which we hear of are advertised as vacancies in MyFuture - you will need to select 'Finding further study and funding' as the opportunity type when searching.

We also advertise postgraduate open days and other updates on postgraduate study in MyFuture. To make sure you see these, include 'Finding further study and funding' in your preferences.

Reasons for postgraduate study

If your response to any of the following statements is yes, then you are probably thinking of postgraduate study:

  • I want a research career
  • I've a strong interest in an aspect of my subject and I want to pursue it
  • I want to convert to another subject
  • I need the professional qualification for my chosen career
  • My course was non-vocational and I'd like some vocational training
  • I don't feel ready to apply for jobs
  • I'd get great satisfaction.

So there are many good reasons for postgrad study... and some not so good.

Be careful if you identify with any of the following:

  • I failed all my job applications, so I'll do another course (Why? Is the course the right way to help you get through selection processes?)
  • I was offered a PhD unexpectedly, and as I had postponed job-hunting, I took it (Is it what you really want?)
  • My parents want me to become a Dr (Who's going to do all the work?)
  • I enjoy student life (Will it be the same?)
  • It will give me more time to think about what career I want (Wouldn't it be better to do that before choosing a course?)

Think carefully about what you want out of postgraduate study, and where it will lead you. Will it help you achieve your long-term goal? We recommend that you speak to a careers adviser if you need help with exploring your motivations or deciding whether postgraduate study is right for you.

Further reading

If you're considering postgraduate study, you might find it helpful to read the following guides available on

Other pages on finding further study