Postgraduate education, or graduate education, involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees, academic or professional certificates, academic or professional diplomas, or other qualifications for which a first or bachelor's degree generally is required, and it is normally considered to be part of higher education. In North America, this level is generally referred to as graduate school.
The organization and structure of postgraduate education varies in different countries, as well as in different institutions within countries. This article outlines the basic types of courses and of teaching and examination methods, with some explanation of their history.
These are sometimes placed in a further hierarchy, starting with degrees such as the Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, then the Master of Philosophy degree and finally the Master of Letters degree.
In the UK, master's degrees may be taught or by research: taught master's degrees include the Master of Science and Master of Arts degrees which last one year and are worth 180 CATS credits, whereas the master's degrees by research include the Master of Research degree which also lasts one year and is worth 180 CATS or 90 ECTS credits and the Master of Philosophy degree which lasts two years.
In Scottish Universities, the Master of Philosophy degree tends to be by research or higher master's degree and the Master of Letters degree tends to be the taught or lower master's degree. In many fields such as clinical social work, or library science in North America, a master's is the terminal degree.
Professional degrees such as the Master of Architecture degree can last to three and a half years to satisfy professional requirement to be an architect. Professional degrees such as the Master of Business Administration degree can last up to two years to satisfy the requirement to become a knowledgeable business leader.
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