You can undertake postgraduate study after you have completed an undergraduate degree or have equivalent work experience. The main types of postgraduate qualifications offered by most higher education institutions are:
Graduate certificate/diploma: These qualifications are generally designed for specific vocational purposes — either the broadening of skills and knowledge already gained in an undergraduate program or the development of vocational skills and knowledge in a new professional area. The typical requirement is six months to a year of full-time study for the graduate certificate and one to two years of full-time study for the graduate diploma. Entry usually requires a bachelor degree or advanced diploma.
Masters degree: Masters degrees provide a mastery or high-order overview of a field of study or area of professional practice. They typically involve one to two years of full-time study. The masters degree may be offered in three formats:
- Masters degree (coursework): These consist of coursework, project work and research in varying combinations. Entry typically requires prior completion of a bachelor degree, a bachelor degree (honours) or a graduate certificate or diploma.
- Masters degree (research): These are at least two-thirds research and include a substantial thesis or research project, which is often externally assessed. Entry normally requires a bachelor degree (honours) or masters preliminary year.
- Masters degree (extended): These may consist of a work-based project. Entry requires a relevant qualification and professional experience, or extensive relevant professional experience.
Doctoral degree: Doctoral degrees recognise a considerable original contribution to a given field in the form of new knowledge or the adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge. They are usually completed over three or four years of full-time study. The doctoral degree may be offered in two formats:
- Research doctorate (PhD): These consist mainly of supervised research resulting in the completion of a thesis. Entry requires a masters degree by research or a bachelor degree (honours).
- Professional doctorate: These combine coursework and research for professionals wanting to advance their knowledge in their field without the research commitment of a PhD. Entry typically requires a masters degree by research or a bachelor degree (honours). In addition, considerable professional experience is required either before or during the course.