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Postgraduate Taught

What is postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is the next step on from undergraduate/first-degree/Bachelors degree study, and consequently places serious academic demands on you as a student. There are essentially two different types of postgraduate study: taught programmes and research or doctoral degrees.

We offer a full range of postgraduate programmes at both taught, research and doctoral level. The information below gives you an overview of taught postgraduate study options. Please visit our dedicated page for information on our research and doctoral degrees.

The majority of our taught postgraduate programmes are Masters degrees. 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.

They are similar in style and structure to undergraduate degrees, but the tuition you receive will be more advanced. You will usually have a choice of modules so that you can tailor your programme to your own interests. They also generally consist of lectures, seminars, assessments (via essays and/or exams, dissertations or group projects, for example). You’ll be expected to work more independently than at undergraduate level, but still receive support from your tutors.

We offer the Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc) and the Master of Research (MRes). We also offer specialist taught postgraduate degrees, such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Master of Laws (LLM).

  • MA - You’ll normally find MA programmes within social science, arts and humanities, and business programmes
  • MSc - MSc programmes are typically for students in STEM subjects such as science, engineering, and mathematics. You may also find some MSc programmes in the social sciences and business, where the course involves quantitative data analysis, for example
  • MRes – This programme combines advanced subject-specific tuition with advanced level training in the methodological, analytic and research skills which are vital for the undertaking of further research.

Students also have the option of studying a Masters by Research programme (MbyRes). Not to be confused with the Taught MRes, the MbyRes is a research-level degree. Please visit our dedicated page to learn more about this and our other research degrees.

Part-time study

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 if study is not by distance-learning or online.


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.

Online study

We also have Masters programmes available for fully online study. Visit our online study site for more details.

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.