Postgraduate education has a long association with tedious navel-gazing and theoretical beard twiddling. The idea that advanced education is somehow superfluous or indulgent is a misguided one. There are plenty of highly practical, career-orientated postgraduate qualifications to choose from.

Many jobs simply can’t be undertaken without having advanced training. Medical, technical, and computing roles all require a high level of knowledge that is best gained through the structure of a course. A career-minded graduate can increase their chances of breaking into their chosen field by taking on further education. Networking is one of the most important aspects of any vocational postgraduate degree. Studying is the easiest way of building a network of like-minded peers. Critical analysis of your chosen field is also developed during postgraduate study. Knowing the unique factors that affect your industry is absolutely crucial.

Here are five kinds of postgraduate courses that help to set people up with pathways into successful careers:

Engineering Management

Engineers are in high demand all over the world. Somebody has to manage these engineers as they plan and complete projects. Engineering management emerged as a field in the United States in the middle of the 20th century. It involves the planning and management of complex projects and requires both engineering knowledge and the ability to step back and look at the bigger picture. Engineering managers typically take a relatively senior role in a corporation and earn relatively large paychecks. Postgraduate courses in engineering management are myriad, but you won’t be able to progress far in one unless you have a demonstrable engineering skillset.


In recent years, nurses have been entrusted with more and more complex medical and social tasks in healthcare. They have been pioneers in social health, hospital structuring, and medical contingency planning and often take a role in medical centers that people would traditionally associate with junior doctors. For people that want to find a role in advanced nursing, there are plenty of specialist postgraduate courses that can be studied. A master’s degree, post master’s certificate, or doctorate in nursing allows for a deeper critical viewpoint to be achieved and further medical training to be undertaken by an aspiring advanced nurse practitioner.

Within nursing, there are plenty of specialisms that can be studied further. Postgraduate qualifications in pediatric, palliative, and mental health nursing are all worthwhile if you know what kind of area you want to provide care in. Specialist qualifications in public health nursing are also extremely useful. As we have seen in the past year during the coronavirus pandemic, public health planning and care are vitally important in modern society.


Law is, of course, deeply reliant upon theory. Taking a postgraduate law degree, however, is a highly practical step. A postgraduate degree in law isn’t just practical if you want to find a job in court. It can also help you develop a further understanding of commercial legislation if you want to go into business. Law qualifications involve diligent research, strategic planning, and the fostering of interpersonal professional relationships.

Postgraduate courses in law are often paired with classes on philosophy and politics. Understanding the wider legislative world is crucial if you want to enter the courts or deal with commercial intellectual property.

Heritage Studies

If you want to work in museums, conservation, archiving, community engagement, or any other field related to the understanding and interpretation of the past, then you might want to consider taking a postgraduate course in heritage studies. Heritage studies is a rather broad field, so you’ll have to find a specialism related to your desired career if you want to actually progress in the industry. Heritage is important – our interpretation and engagement with the past is a crucial part of our understanding of the world. It is also connected to a flourishing industry with a wide variety of job opportunities.

Computer Science

Computer science dominates the underlying technological mechanisms driving change in the 21st century. Computer scientists are in high demand, but they require a whole host of skills in order to be competitive in the employment marketplace. Postgraduate degrees in computer science are aimed at giving engineering, coding, and physics graduates the tools they need to succeed as software engineers, systems analysts, data scientists, and machine learning engineers. Graduates who have completed an MSc in computer science have been shown to earn a great deal of money in the careers that follow, with graduates in the United States earning an average of around 103,000 dollars at the height of their careers.