Difference in a postgraduate course compared with an undergraduate course

An image of a bookNow that I am entering into my third week of postgraduate study, I thought I would talk a bit about the difference in structure and style between the two courses.

For my course in particular, Applied Linguistics, the first real change is that there are no separate seminars and lectures. Instead I have four, two hour sessions that have a combination of lecture material alongside more practical seminar activities. Personally I find that this works a lot better for me as a student, rather than having seminars a few days after the lectures, or in some strange cases before the lecture, it is all in one session, I can allocate each day for each of my four modules and it is a lot easier to comprehend.

Postgraduate study is obviously pushing students to work at a higher level than an undergraduate programme, but the overall premise is the same. There are allocated readings for each module although they increase in intensity and length and there is a lot more dependence on having those readings completed and understood. One big change, however, that I find to be really useful and interesting is the amount of out of lesson activities there are. For example in my course we have fortnightly reading groups for the majority of our modules, therefore if a topic is unclear or there are elements you wish to use in your final term dissertation, further discussion with each other can really bring the best out in a topic.

Another optional extra is fortnightly lectures from guest speakers. It is all well and good hearing what you need to hear from your course in lectures and seminars but postgraduate students should really be invested in their course, it should be something that they want to do advanced learning in and something that they enjoy. Therefore it is really great to hear from other linguists and specialists who can come and talk about their areas of expertise, areas that one may not even cover in their postgraduate course, but may want to pursue further after their studies or within a dissertation proposal. The amount of extra material that can enhance your postgraduate study is fantastic.

At the moment I am thrilled to be studying a postgraduate course in something that I am so passionate about, although this may fluctuate when all the assignments hit! If you are contemplating doing a postgraduate course just make sure you take every bit of extra material and help available, it really does help to take your work from a good undergraduate student into one at postgraduate level.

This post is by Oli McVeigh