Applied Biology postgrad student

Choosing the right course

A wide range of opportunities for postgraduates 

There are many reasons why people choose to become a postgraduate student at LJMU. Whatever your motivations are, we are confident that we can help you fulfil your professional ambitions and enable you to achieve more than you ever thought possible.

We think our postgraduate students are truly inspirational – watch these films to find out more.

Taught masters and research opportunities

LJMU has an extensive range of both taught programmes and research opportunities available, so there will be a pathway that best suits you and your goals.

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In my understanding, people study for a Masters for one of three reasons: to specialise in their field, to change their field or to progress in their career. I would advise anyone who ticks any of those boxes to take that next step.

Tomas Roca Killick - Marine and Offshore Engineering MSc student

Take a look at the descriptions below, which provide information about entrance requirements and learning formats:

Taught Masters (MA, MSc)

  • Normally studied over one year (or two years part-time)
  • Builds upon skills gained from an undergraduate degree
  • Provides an opportunity to study a subject in greater detail
  • Many courses allow you to select specialist option modules based on your own interests
  • Typically includes the completion of a dissertation
  • Master of Arts (MA): awarded in arts, humanities and social sciences, Master of Science (MSc): awarded in subjects based on scientific learning
  • Classes and lectures are usually smaller and often less formal than at undergraduate level
  • Provides an opportunity for students to gain critical, creative and independent thought
  • Some courses are designed for students with little or no academic experience in the subject area

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Postgraduate certificates and diplomas

  • Often these courses are requirements for professional and career advancement
  • Offers less time commitment than a Masters degree so these courses are particularly suitable for people with busy lives
  • Can act as the first step towards a Taught Masters award
  • Don't include a research element

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Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)/School Direct

  • Offers a route into primary and secondary school teaching
  • Aimed at those holding an undergraduate degree
  • LJMU offers PGDE in place of the typically provided PGCE so you will gain Qualified Teacher Status for the same cost and length of study as a PGCE
  • Includes time spent teaching in local schools
  • School Direct is an alternative route into teaching from traditional PGCE and PGDE programmes and offers trainees a more school-led approach
  • Upon completion, you can progress to the MA Education Practice which will enable you to complete a full MA during your first year of employment
  • Some PGDE subject conversion courses are available, see our postgraduate course finder for further information

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Master of Research (MRes)

  • Ideal for those wishing to pursue a research career
  • One year full time
  • Typically taken as preparation for doctoral research and you can gain useful experience prior to undertaking a doctorate
  • Focus is on independent project work
  • Students gain the qualitative and quantitative research skills required to carry out a long-term project
  • Assigned dedicated academic mentor who will become your Director of Studies should you progress to a PhD programme

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Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

  • Conduct an independent enquiry
  • Use appropriate research methods and techniques
  • First year is often the equivalent of a taught Masters, second year makes up research project
  • Regarded as a senior or second Masters degree, standing between a taught Masters and a PhD
  • Can be completed in one to four years depending on your mode of study (full or part-time)

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Doctorate or PhD

  • Allows you to acquire mastery of a specialist field
  • Make an original personal contribution to the understanding of a problem, the advancement of knowledge or the generation of new ideas
  • Normally takes between three to six years to complete depending on your subject and mode of study (full or part-time)
  • Thesis is between 40,000-80,000 words

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Pre-Masters programmes

International students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for postgraduate study have the option to complete a Pre-Masters Programme at the LJMU International Study Centre:

Professional Doctorates

Reserved for programmes where students have made a significant contribution to the enhancement of an occupational or professional area through the application, development and testing of theoretical frameworks.


After 20 years in management consultancy it was great to be back at ‘school’. The way to learn has changed and I enjoyed being part of a learning set.

Marion Kahrens, DBA - Marion, who works in a senior position for One-to-One Internet AG, examined approaches for strategic real estate management and decision making for her degree.

Need more information?

Why not visit us during an open day where you can:

  • Find out about specific courses and research opportunities
  • Tour the libraries and facilities
  • Speak to staff and current students about what it’s like to study here

Visit us on our next open day

Contact us

For more information on postgraduate courses get in touch with us using our online form.
Or call: +44 (0) 151 231 5090