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Ways to study

The University of Manchester offers many different ways to study for a master’s degree or other postgraduate qualification.

Like most potential postgraduate students, you probably have a clear idea of what subject you're interested in, but you may be less certain of the way you want to study it, and to what level.

We offer the following types of taught courses:

Postgraduate diplomas and certificates

Diplomas usually last nine months and certificates usually last six months. Many courses cover general areas of study while others are more specialised, such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). They can be structured in a similar way to master’s courses (but without the need for a dissertation), or, as with the PGCE, are specifically vocational.

Master’s degrees

These are intensive taught courses that include a dissertation or project, and which usually last for 12 months full-time, or 24 months part-time (compared to two years full-time in most other countries). Our MBA lasts 18 months full-time and up to five years part-time. Master’s degrees include the following:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Law (LLM)
  • Master of Music (MusM)
  • Master of Research (MRes)

Master’s degrees usually involve two semesters of classes and assessed work, followed by four or five months’ research, culminating in a dissertation. The balance of taught and research elements and the methods of assessment vary from course to course.

The Master of Research (MRes) is structured slightly differently and provides you with an opportunity for extensive research training and subject-specific advanced learning, with a view to proceeding to doctoral research.

Full-time or part-time?

While most of our students study for a postgraduate qualification on a full-time basis, you may study many of our taught courses on a more flexible part-time basis.

If you are an international applicant from a non-EU country, you should note that the terms of entry into the UK normally prevent you from registering for a programme on a part-time basis.

Distance learning

Some of our master’s courses are available via distance learning (also known as distributed learning or e-learning). Distance learning allows you to progress via self-study, using printed materials and web-based resources.

We invest heavily in online and interactive technologies to allow you to connect with staff and fellow students, and enjoy the same support as you would on campus.