Masters degrees and taught programmes

What is a Masters degree?

A Masters degree is a qualification awarded for demonstrating a high level of expertise in a specific field. It's at level 7 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), above Bachelors but below Doctoral. Masters study is intense and ends with a thesis.

We offer a range of taught postgraduate programmes, including:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Research (MRes)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Laws (LLM)
  • Postgraduare Certificate (PgCert)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)

The MRes degree (not to be confused with the Masters by Research (MbyRes) degree) is highly valued by employers, and combines advanced subject-specific tuition with high level training in the methodological, analytic and research skills which are vital for the undertaking of further research. We also offer specialist taught postgraduate degrees, such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Master of Laws (LLM).

PgCert and PgDip

Some of our Masters degrees can be taken in a shorter form, by omitting the dissertation or some of the taught modules. Full Masters programmes consist of 180 credits of which around 60-90 will be for the dissertation element; Postgraduate Diplomas (120 credits) and Postgraduate Certificates (60 credits) covering only taught modules are also available in a number of subject areas.

Details of which programmes offer PgCert or PgDip options are on individual subject pages.

Can I study a Masters degree via part-time study or distance learning?

Most Masters programmes are 11-12 months full-time, with many programmes also available for part-time study and lasting roughly twice as long. Please note that international students are subject to visa regulations which normally prevent part-time study.

Increasingly we offer distance-learning programmes which require little or no attendance at our campuses and enable you to study for a postgraduate qualification from Exeter, anywhere in the world. Some programmes are delivered via ‘block teaching’; intensive 1-2 week bursts of on-campus lectures, seminars, and activities, which can fit more easily around your working life.

Details of which programmes offer part-time or distance learning are on individual subject pages.

What sort of contact hours do Masters degrees have?

Contact hours vary widely between programmes: science courses can involve an almost 9-5 schedule of lectures, talks, meetings, and lab sessions; whilst humanities and social sciences degrees may feature only a few hours of timetabled classes a week, but will require you to undertake a substantial amount of reading and research outside of official teaching hours. If you are studying full-time, expect to be working approximately 40 hours per week towards your postgraduate degree.

Details of teaching structures are on individual subject pages.

How can I pay for my Masters degree?

The UK government has announced a new postgraduate loan scheme for 2016, allowing you to borrow up to £10,000 to help pay for a Masters degree. As well as this there are usually significant scholarships available for outstanding applicants, as well as small bursaries and grants available from charitable bodies.

You can find out more on our regularly-updated funding pages.

Tom Oberst, MA Classics and Ancient History

The life of an MA student is busy. When I applied I was aware there would be a step up, but the levels of commitment demanded from you are pretty large. Not so large that they’re unmanageable, but you do have to dedicate a lot of your life to organisation and reading.

That said, this has undoubtedly been the best six months of my life. I can’t wait to begin my dissertation in April.

Tom Oberst, MA Classics and Ancient History