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What are the differences between undergraduate and postgraduate study?

What are the differences between undergraduate and postgraduate study?

Deciding to study for a degree is a big step in both your personal and professional development. But how do you know which type of degree you should study – an undergraduate or postgraduate degree? 

Here, you’ll learn the differences between undergraduate and postgraduate study. 

What is an undergraduate degree? 

An undergraduate degree is an academic qualification you gain when you complete an undergraduate programme of study/course. 

The qualification you get when you complete an undergraduate course can include: 

  • Diploma 

  • Advanced Diploma 

  • Associate Degree 

  • Bachelor’s Degree

  • Bachelor’s Honours Degree 

An undergraduate degree is typically the first degree you study for when you enter tertiary-level/university studies. It’s also typically what employers require as a minimum qualification before you apply for professional roles across a wide variety of industries. 

What is a postgraduate degree? 

A postgraduate degree is the next step after you’ve completed an undergraduate degree and successfully graduated from your undergraduate course. 

If you don’t have an undergraduate degree, but you already have significant industry experience in your field, you may still be able to apply for a postgraduate degree. 

The qualification you get when you complete a postgraduate course can include: 

  • Graduate Certificate 

  • Graduate Diploma 

  • Master’s Degree 

A postgraduate degree can demonstrate to employers that you are a highly-knowledgeable and skilled expert in your field, and significantly help to boost your career success. 

What skills do you need to succeed at undergraduate level? 

As an entry-level degree, you’ll typically need to demonstrate that you achieved good results in your secondary-level/high school studies to embark on an undergraduate degree. 

You’ll also need to be prepared with a range of attributes and skills, including: 

  • Communication skills 

  • Research skills

  • Academic writing skills

  • Time-management and organisational skills

  • Self-discipline 

Your undergraduate studies will help you to further develop and enhance these skills so that you have the confidence you need to succeed in your studies. 

What skills do you need to succeed at postgraduate level? 

Since a postgraduate degree requires more in-depth study and exploration of your chosen area, as well as rigorous assessment of your capabilities, you’ll be expected to demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge and skills to succeed in your chosen postgraduate degree course. 

In addition to the advanced skills specific to your course you’ll need to demonstrate, to succeed at postgraduate level, you’ll also need to demonstrate: 

  • Strong critical and analytical thinking 

  • Advanced academic writing skills 

  • Advanced communication skills

  • Advanced research skills

  • Advanced time-management and organisational skills

  • Project management skills 

With a postgraduate degree, you’ll be able to master these skills and position yourself as a thought leader in your chosen field. 

Which level is right for me? 

If you’re just starting out in your career, an undergraduate degree is the first step you’ll need to take to launch your career in your chosen field. 

If you’re already working part-time or full-time, there are online undergraduate courses you can take, so that you don’t have to quit your job to study – you can continue to work and earn an income while you study. 

If you’re already along the way in your career journey, a postgraduate degree can be the crucial next step that can take your career to new heights and open you up to a wider range of global job opportunities. 

If you’ve never completed a degree before, but you already have significant work experience in your chosen field, a postgraduate degree can help you fast-track your career progression and equip you with the advanced expertise you need to gain a promotion or pursue a wider range of job opportunities outside of your current organisation. 

Who is the Cambridge Education Group BA suited to and who is the MSc suited to? 

Whether you’re looking to study an undergraduate degree or a postgraduate degree, Cambridge Education Group’s online courses give you the flexibility of studying for a world-class degree online – anytime, anywhere. 

If you’re just starting out in the world of business and management, their online BA (Hons) Business Management will give you a comprehensive education in business management and empower you with the skills and confidence you need to successfully launch your career. 

If you’re already working in business and management, and keen to take the next step in your career, their online MSc Project Management will further unleash your leadership potential and teach you to solve complex business problems and deliver world-class projects and solutions.  

Find out what it's like to study for a degree online with Cambridge Education Group, including the benefits of flexible learning, in our interview with course academics:Show me more insights ❯

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