Postgraduate study: Unlocking the doors to your mind

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”Nelson Mandela

There are generally two types of people who are interested in postgraduate study; those who have a passion for their subject and seek deeper exploration, and those hoping to gain new-found expertise to further their careers.

If you’re in either position, postgraduate study is undoubtedly the best move you can make. Postgraduate education gives you the chance to examine the breadth and depth of a subject, fine-tuning and perfecting your specialisation.

Postgraduate study allows you to unlock the next door of knowledge. Due to the independent nature of postgraduate courses, the onus is on you alone to develop your research skills and achieve your goal. Unlike undergraduate study, the emphasis is on finding your niche within the subject. This gives you the freedom to cultivate your own unique work ethic and interests in the field.

So, whilst society progresses and research inevitably becomes outdated, the dedication to fulfil your aspiration will never cease – and neither will your appeal to employers. The skills gained during a postgraduate degree will prove to be invaluable, propelling you way ahead of your undergraduate peers. Whether you choose an MPhil in History or an MSc in Physics, you will develop your independent research skills, as well as time management and self-motivation. These qualities are highly sought by employers, making you ready and reliable in tackling responsibility within a professional setting.

Of course, the cost of postgraduate study must be considered, but there are plenty of scholarships and sponsorship opportunities to support your academic endeavour. At PhD level, research grants may be given by companies who will benefit from the research. Alternatively, students often turn to crowdfunding platforms, or consult academics who might be keen to invest.

Some industries actively seek postgraduate qualifications to allow for progression. Take Engineering, for example. This requires an MEng to achieve chartership, meaning you are recognised as a Registered Engineer. Without this, your working scope is limited, making postgraduate study essential to any serious Engineer.

Postgraduate study can deepen your expertise in an area of interest, develop your skills in a certain area to advance your career, or even widen your horizons in another field to expand your scope of potential. There’s a whole range of qualifications available to postgraduates, and choosing the right one is no easy task. From research degrees, to taught courses and professional qualifications, identifying why you are embarking on postgraduate study is essential to making the right decision.

Here are 5 leading schools for the pursuit of postgraduate education…


Having been granted the Gold Award by the innovative Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the University of Surrey is the perfect place to embark upon your postgraduate venture. The university is located only 34-minutes outside of London by train, and represents a leading university in major national university rankings, coming 10th in The Guardian University Guide’s league table for 2018.

Here, postgraduate students get the chance to work alongside some of the world’s leading academics, while also making use of a GBP£16 million (US$21 million) state-of-the-art Library and Learning Centre, as well as other campus facilities including the stunning campus lake.

Surrey is one of the UK’s top professional, scientific and technological universities, offering a wide range of programmes. Postgraduate disciplines include Civil Engineering, Psychology, English and Creative Writing, Languages, Business, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, to name just a few. Click here to view a comprehensive list of Surrey’s postgraduate offerings.


Situated in Northern Ireland’s glorious capital city, Queen’s University Belfast grants access to a dynamic city and a Russell Group-standard research institution.

The university has a dedicated Graduate School which provides a central hub for all postgraduate students, including group study spaces, teaching rooms for postgraduate taught students and skills training rooms for postgraduate research students. The school was ranked first among 159 universities worldwide in the International Student Barometer 2015, highlighting its success in terms of student satisfaction.

A broad range of postgraduate programmes can be followed at Queen’s University Belfast, with Masters and PhDs being offered in every department from Biological Sciences and Sustainability, Food Security, Pharmacy and beyond.

QS World University Rankings 2017 placed Queen’s University Belfast in the top 200 universities worldwide for 15 subjects including, Archaeology, English, Law, Geography, History, Medicine, and Electronic and Electrical Engineering. So, no matter what your academic area, Queen’s University Belfast has you covered.


Ranked in the top 50 public US universities by US News & World College Rankings 2017, the University of New Hampshire is a Research High, Land-grant, Sea-grant and Space-grant, institution that offers post-baccalaureate students the chance to excel their career at one of the best institutions in the US.

“Graduate programs foster a close interdependence between research and classroom teaching and enhance the undergraduate experience at the university. The graduate faculty and students work together to creatively generate new knowledge and disseminate that knowledge. The Graduate School is a source of intellectual capital for the University, the region, and the nation,” a university spokesperson says.

The institution boasts over 130 graduate programmes, including Accounting, Civil Engineering, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Public Administration, Intellectual Property, and Criminal Law and Justice, as well as a great range of diversity initiatives making it an inclusive environment for international students to immerse themselves within.


Durham University is consistently ranked within the top 100 universities in the world, and within the top 40 for employer reputation in the QS University World Rankings for 2018. Aside from academic excellence, the university is located in the idyllic city of Durham, UK, just a 15-minute train ride from the bustling hub of Newcastle.

Student life at Durham is characterised by the traditional collegiate system, where each student belongs to a college for the duration of their studies. This gives students a strong sense of community and comradery, making the move to a new country less daunting for international students.

There is a magnificent range of postgraduate courses to choose from including taught masters, research masters, and PhD programmes. Funding is also available from the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Science as well as the Social Sciences and Health Faculty.


The city of Helsinki is a sought-after destination among global holiday-makers as Finland’s historic capital city. With rich culture and interesting tales, the University of Helsinki is an institution of educational excellence but also of exciting opportunity. The university is ranked 102 in the QS World University Rankings 2018, and stands as the largest Finnish university.

The university has a range of Masters taught in English, including Intercultural Encounters MA, Global Politics and Communications MSc, Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age MA and English Studies MA. There are also many doctoral programmes including Theology, Gender, Culture and Society, Language Studies, Population Health and Brain and Mind.

Research is also world-renowned at the University of Helsinki. Embarking on postgraduate study here will allow you to work with leading academics and propel the frontiers of human knowledge forward.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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