The Difference Between Undergrad and Postgrad

By Keighley Bradford. Published October 22, 2020.

Why hello folks. For those of you paying along at home, yes, it’s me, Keighley, back again with yet another blog series with OPUS titled “Reflections of a Postgrad Uni Student” because – you guessed it – I did not last long in the big bad world job hunting and, panicked, applied to undertake postgrad studies a week before uni returned for 2020. (Surely, I’m not the only one, right?)

Whenever I told my friends that I was back at uni, they automatically assumed that I’m doing Honours – which is logical, as Honours typically follows on from a Bachelors, however for my degree (Creative Industries), Honours wasn’t available unless I completed it under a different degree like Communications. I also didn’t have an interest in spending a whole year working on a thesis topic after I saw how much my friends doing their Honours projects struggled with it.

So instead I skipped Honours and went straight into a Master of Creative Industries.

A Masters is very much like a Bachelors – they both have core courses, directed courses, and depending on your degree, electives. The structures are very much alike, only you study in trimesters instead of semesters (which means you basically get two weeks break in between trimesters, no mid-term breaks, one exam week, and you start in January instead of February). Full-time study is also capped at 30 units instead of 40 units (and for those of you who like to pull a 50-uniter, that isn’t an option in postgrad – the system physically won’t let you enrol above the capped rate, trust me on that).

Honestly, aside from that, the only real difference is that the coursework is harder, there are greater expectations on you, and depending on the program, you can even opt to study online.

So, for those of you still curious and wanting to know what the difference is between an undergraduate and postgraduate degree, it’s what I just said, only it’s slightly more complicated than that. In undergrad you complete a Bachelor’s degree. In postgrad you can either do an Honours year to complement your Bachelors, complete a Graduate Certificate, do your Masters, or apply for a HDR (Higher Degree Research) program. All postgraduate degrees will typically require you to have completed a Bachelor’s degree, or alternatively to have industry experience (however I recommend you check the admission requirements for the exact details if you’re interested in a specific program).

If you’re interested in learning more, why not reach out to UNSA to see who they recommend you get in touch with to learn everything you need to know?

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