Staying at Reading for postgraduate study
Postgraduate study will be a step up from undergraduate study both in terms of depth and in terms of the independent learning expected of you, but most people make the transition comfortably and there is excellent study support available at Reading. Taught postgraduate degrees have structured teaching in the same way your undergraduate degree does.
How much will it cost?
The standard Master's fee at the University of Reading is £6,000 a year for UK and EU students and either £14,165 (classroom-based) or £17,350 (lab-based) a year for international students. Whatever your nationality, as someone who has already done one degree at Reading, you would receive a 10% discount (up to a maximum of £1,000), making the fee £5,400 for UK/EU students (and £13,165 to £16,350 for international students).
Master's degrees at the Henley Business School at Reading tend to cost more than £6,000, ranging up to £22,250.
PhDs and other postgraduate research degrees charge fees of between £1,000 and £4,000 a year for UK and EU students (and between £3,000 and £15,000 for overseas students).
Living costs for a year are estimated at between £7,500 and £15,000 (depending on lifestyle).
There are currently no government loans for postgraduate study in the same way as undergraduate study but the UK government recently announced its intention to invest in postgraduate education and will provide £50 million to be used for bursaries for postgraduate study in 2015/16. Full details are yet to be announced, but will be posted on this website when they are finalised.
Bank loans are available and many postgraduates fund their study in that way. Many others have bursaries or scholarships from a range of sources. If you are moving from undergraduate study at Reading into a Master's degree at Reading, you could be eligible to apply for the Reading Alumni Scholarship worth over £10,000. Other help is also available, whether through bursaries, scholarships or Research Council grants.
If you thinking of taking a PhD, or going onto doctoral-level study, please also check our regularly updated pages on funding opportunities for research students.
Why do postgraduate study?
Postgraduate study allows you to deepen or broaden your knowledge, either by continuing to study your chosen subject at a more advanced level, or extending your field of expertise to a new subject area. Some people need a specific qualification for their chosen career, such as teachers. Some postgraduate qualifications are accredited by professional bodies (ranging from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors to the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy).
Postgraduate study also broadens your skills and helps prepare you either for the world of work or for an academic career. Many of Reading's programmes involve a significant practice-based component allowing students to work on real-world projects and to connect with relevant employers.
Postgraduates are more likely to be professionally employed
Six months after graduating, 95% of postgraduates nationally are in work or further study or otherwise occupied, compared to 91.5% of those with a first degree only. Over nine in ten (90.9%) of those in work are in professional or managerial occupations, compared to 64.9% with a first degree only. So if you have a postgraduate degree you are more likely not only to get a job, but to have an interesting high-level career.
For University of Reading graduates, the figures are even better: 95.2% of postgraduates are in work or further study or otherwise occupied (92.2% with first degree only); and of those working full time 95% are in professional or managerial occupations (74% with first degree only).
Source: Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 2012, from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
Those with postgraduate degrees tend to earn more than those with first degrees only. For the University of Reading, the average starting salary for postgraduates six months after graduation in 2012 was £35,000, compared to £20,000 for graduates with a first degree only.
It is worth bearing in mind that postgraduates are on average older, and are therefore likely to have more work experience; this and other factors will increase their earning potential, not just the postgraduate degree itself. However, the qualification itself is thought to make a significant difference. A 2013 report looking at national figures and controlling for variables estimated that postgraduates earned £5,500 more each year on average than those with a first degree only of the same age ('The Postgraduate Premium: Revisiting Trends in Social Mobility and Educational Inequalities in Britain and America', Joanne Lindley and Stephen Machin, February 2013, for the Sutton Trust).
Benefits of staying at Reading
If you have already studied at the University of Reading you will get 10% off the fees of a master's course or the first year of another postgraduate degree (up to a maximum of £1,000).
For most master's courses this will mean 10% off the standard £6,000 UK/EU fee, making the fee £5,400 for UK/EU students (and £13,165 to £16,350, rather than £14,165 to £17,350 for international students).
(Please note that the discount applies to 'next level' programmes of study which comprise at least 120 credits. The alumni discount will not apply to students whose fees are wholly paid by a third party and the discount is for one-year only.)