Open the door to an exciting career with postgraduate study at UNSW!

You may not know what exactly a postgraduate degree is, or which degree is right for you, here we break down everything you need to know about postgraduate study.

Postgraduate study offers plenty of options for you to propel your career or embark upon new ambitions or passions. You can learn to lead with confidence and curiosity through a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Master's Degree. 

What is a postgraduate (PG) degree?

A postgraduate course or postgraduate diploma is additional tertiary study after you’ve completed an undergraduate degree. Postgraduate study expands your career horizons and can accelerate your career. UNSW graduates have been the most in-demand graduates in Australia for five consecutive years.*

As a postgraduate candidate, maybe you studied a Bachelor of Commerce a few years ago, and you’re looking to add a specialised skill to your CV. You could enrol in a Graduate Certificate in Leadership to take your career in a new direction through new skills and knowledge.

If you don’t have a bachelor degree, but you have equivalent work experience, you can still accelerate your career and deepen your experience through part-time or full-time postgraduate study.

What are the different PG degree options?

There are three types of postgraduate degrees, graduate diplomas, graduate certificates and master's degrees. UNSW offers a range of postgraduate study options so you can choose the right degree for you depending on your career goals, areas of interest, and how much time you can invest in study. 

Check out our article on the types of postgraduate degrees, but here’s a quick comparison.

Graduate Certificate

9 months

Graduate Certificates at UNSW

A Graduate certificate is a short PG degree qualification that is made up of four subjects, so it can be completed in as little as six months. Graduate Certificates are usually designed for those who already have experience in a certain area or field of study and want to uplevel or diversify their knowledge base. Each institution will have different entry requirements too. Here at UNSW, you’ll likely need to have a Bachelor Degree or a minimum number of years’ experience - you can check with the faculty when you apply.

Graduate Diploma

12 months

Graduate Diplomas at UNSW

Postgraduate diplomas are a practical, hands-on way of learning that will help you navigate ever-evolving workplaces. Postgraduate diplomas are a great way to accrue new knowledge and learn about changing industry practice or move into a new sector.

The balance of vocational experience and academic knowledge in a postgraduate diploma will take your career to the next step and unlock the future you want. Postgraduate diplomas are also less intensive than a full master's degree, so it’s ideal if you’re trying to balance work and study. 

Master's Degree

2 years

Master's Degree at UNSW

A master's degree is a postgraduate qualification designed to make you a subject matter expert in a specialist field, developing high-level techniques and skills required for your chosen area of study. Master's degrees are either coursework or research-based. On the research side of things, you’re usually engaged in independent study, embarking on a short-term research project. At UNSW, we also offer master's coursework (also known as coursework master's), which is an advanced level, specialised offering of lectures, seminars and supervision. 

Wondering what's your best path for postgraduate study?

The best path depends on what you hope to get out of your postgraduate study once complete. With a UNSW postgraduate degree, you'll be empowered and supported to challenge yourself at a leading university, cultivating excellence in adaptive thinking. Australians need to constantly upskill to ensure that they have the right skills at the right time to thrive in their careers.

You can secure your career ambitions with UNSW’s postgraduate degrees and take your place amongst Australia’s most employable graduates. UNSW is ranked 1st in Australia for Graduate Employability^.

If you’re looking to grow your career postgraduate study is an investment in your future. Whether it’s a promotion at work, the desire to take your career to the next level or broadening your knowledge and skills, getting clear on what you want is going to help you make the decision about what to study. 

Why study a postgraduate degree at UNSW?

At UNSW, we offer options to help you make the right choice for your future:

  • Flexible study arrangements – many of our graduates balance work and study, and we have online options available to suit your needs too.
  • Practical courses – PG degrees are designed to upskill you, and uplevel your career, so we offer a range of hands-on courses in specific study areas where you’ll learn from academics with real-world experience and industry connections.
  • Transferable skills are in demand – being able to step into a new aspect of your role with ease is paramount to success in today’s changing world, and PG study will give you the edge.

Take the opportunity to join a collective that creates solutions for a better world. Have a read of our 'reasons why postgraduate study is worth the investment'.

Why a postgraduate course might be for you

Gain an edge

Postgraduate study is a great option for your career because it gives you the edge against your colleagues or other candidates. When you hold a postgraduate degree you'll showcase yourself as a leader, knowledge seeker and subject matter expert to current and future employers. At UNSW, our students are among Australia's most employable graduates, ranked #1 for employment outcomes by QS World University Rankings, 2024.

Boost your earning potential

Postgraduate study can also increase your earning power. Based on research by the National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (NAGCAS), Master’s degree graduates earn approximately 48% more than those with an undergraduate degree in the same field.


Gain the skills to forge your own path

Postgraduate study is just as valuable if you’re carving out your own entrepreneurial path or forging your own unique career path. According to Crunchbase venture capital start-up data in 2021, UNSW is ranked as the best overall Australian university for entrepreneurs. 

All this combined means you can take control of your own journey, propel your career or move into a field that matters to you.

Find out more about postgraduate study at UNSW today


*AFR Top100 Future Leaders Awards 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024

^#1 in Australia for Employment Outcomes, (QS World University Rankings, 2024)

Connect with us

 Want to find out more about your options?

If you have any questions about studying at UNSW or how you can make your studies work for you, contact us below. We’re here to help.