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Careers and Employability ServiceStudents

Postgraduate Taught Programmes: What Next?

If you are studying full time then it is likely that your Postgraduate Taught Programme lasts a year. In order to successfully move on to the next stage you should start to think about your next steps as soon as you start your course. Many graduate schemes close during the autumn term so if you want a role lined up for when you finish your course then the time to act is now.

Student using the Careers & Employability Ask the Adviser Service
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Graduate schemes: These open from around the end of August and generally close between October and December. These are hugely competitive so make sure you gain some work experience.

Graduate entry into SME companies: Often overlooked, these make up the majority of the private sector. Opportunities will be open year round and you can apply at any time. As a minimum you should start looking 5 months before you wish to start a job.

Further study: Most commonly in the form of a PhD. You can apply at any time of the year and should make a start on your application as soon as possible. PhD Studentships begin around September/October time with competition increasing as these months approach.

Search graduate opportunities on MyCareer

I used the Drop-in Service [now Ask the Adviser appointments], attended lectures through my MBA course and took advantage of the longer guidance appointments. The Careers Service helped me to see myself clearly, to recognise my qualities and what I want, helping me to make some big decisions.

While you will have built up technical or subject specific skills as a result of your postgraduate study you certainly have increased your analytical and organisational abilities as well as your communication and problem solving abilities. All of which are very attractive to a wide range of employers.

  • Holding a Masters qualification won't guarantee you a job, but the government's Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2019 show that graduates had higher employment rates than non-graduates
  • Postgraduates were also more likely to be in high-skilled employment (professional or managerial roles). For example, almost 79 per cent of all working-age postgraduates were in high-skilled employment, compared with nearly 66 per cent of all working-age graduates
  • The statistics also show that the unemployment rate of postgraduates was lower (1.9 per cent) than that of undergraduates (2.6 per cent) and considerably lower than non-graduates (4.8 per cent)
  • Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2019 reports that full-time employed, working-age postgraduates had a median salary of £42,000 in 2019, compared with £34,000 for working-age undergraduates

For further, subject specific information on your options use our subject sites to find out what you can do with your degree.

Student and staff member talking

Ask the Adviser appointments

Our advisers will be happy to discuss your options with you following Postgraduate study.

See our appointment times

Search MyCareer for a range of opportunities including internships and graduates roles, and full and part time positions. 

You can use TARGETjobs for national graduate opportunities and internships.

For PhDs, try, PhD portal and to find advertised opportunities. Additionally, we have books and e-books available for loan which may be helpful for preparing a PhD application. Please see our Careers Library and e-books webpages for more information.

You may also find it useful to send a speculative CV and covering letter to academics working in a field of interest to you. 


Whatever your reason for choosing to study a Postgraduate Taught programme, your degree has given you the opportunity to increase skills that are key to what employers look for in their recruits, and are amongst the leading factors you should be identifying and marketing when applying for jobs.

Additionally, your Postgraduate Programme has helped you to become a specialist within your area of study and quite likely equipped you with a more mature outlook on the world.

Follow these steps to success to help you reach your goal:

Step 1: Conduct a skills audit

Consider the skills you have developed from

• your present studies
• key projects (dissertation/thesis)
• other qualifications both academic and vocational
• past and present work experience
• responsibilities and achievements in wider life outside of academia

Also think about the skills you have gained such as teamwork, giving presentations, multitasking and meeting deadlines. You may also consider specialist software such as analytical tools you may have used during your study.

Step 2: Work out what they are looking for

Read the job description carefully and pick out the key skills required for the position. Then evidence your skills that match.

Step 3: Market your skills

You will need to do this at every stage of the recruitment process, from the job application, CV and covering letter to assessment centres and the final interview.


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