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How to choose the postgraduate course that's right for you

Ready to take the next step in your education journey? Here are a few things to consider when making the big decision.


Studying a postgraduate course is a great way to future-proof your career. People tend to complete postgraduate education to upskill, increase their job prospects, make a career change or gain registration in their chosen field.

Taking the time to consider your options for postgraduate study can set you up for long-term success. So how do you choose the course that is right for you?

1. Understand what you want to get out of your postgraduate course

The first step to choosing a postgraduate course is knowing what you want to get out of it. Completing a master’s degree might appear to be the most obvious choice because it includes the most units of study. But if you’re looking to acquire new skills and knowledge to apply for a promotion or upskill, a graduate certificate or graduate diploma may be all you need to reach your objectives. Write down why you want to study a postgraduate course and what you want to achieve by completing it. From here, you can narrow down the options that align with your goals.

2. Consider how postgraduate study will fit into your schedule

Balancing study, work and your personal life doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you plan in advance. Before committing to a course, take a look at the expected time commitment per week, when assessments and exams are due and if there are placements you will need to complete. Some courses have more of a theoretical focus whereas, others are more hands-on and require more of your time. For example, the Master of Counselling course offered by universities such as Edith Cowan University or University of Canberra requires students to complete an in-person placement. Courses such as University of Technology Sydney's Master of Public Health or Southern Cross University's Master of Healthcare Leadership only include coursework. Figuring out how much time you can dedicate to completing a postgraduate course can help you plan ahead. 

3. Do your research

Completing a postgraduate course is an investment of time and money. By taking the time to research your options, you’re more likely to enrol in a course that ticks all your boxes.

Many health-related postgraduate courses offer specialisations or majors with core units and electives. Master’s degrees tend to have graduate certificates and graduate diplomas embedded in them. You can work towards a master’s degree by completing a graduate certificate or graduate diploma first. Reading through course brochures or speaking with a Student Enrolment Advisor can help you gather the information you need. 

Some students choose to return to university to enhance their career prospects, which in turn, can increase their salary. If this is a motivator for you, check the average salary for relevant roles relating to the courses you are interested in studying alongside future job growth predictions.

To gain more insight, we spoke to Izad Iqbal, Senior Program Lead in the Enrolment Team at the University of Technology Online.

According to Izad, if you’re serious about taking the next step in your career, there are a couple of key points to remember.

"You should do your research and choose a reputable institution. A lot of people don’t realise the importance of choosing the right institution to give you that credibility when you’re looking for work in a competitive field or looking to make a switch. A good university will step up in providing the best possible student services, like employment opportunities and a nurturing environment, which includes course flexibility and support," he says. 

4. Decide on a study mode

Gone are the days of having to travel to and from university for lectures and tutorials. Many Australian universities now offer online courses with a dedicated online course structure. Online courses make it easier for students to work and make time for other commitments while completing coursework and assessments during their spare time. The online courses available via GlobalHealth Education’s partner universities have six intakes per year and can be studied part-time. Read our online vs on-campus courses guide to see the pros and cons of each study mode.

If you have previously completed a university course and had a positive experience, it’s worth checking if they offer relevant postgraduate degrees. Completing a postgraduate degree at a familiar institution can make the transition back into learning easier. It can also be beneficial to reach out to your colleagues and mentors who have completed postgraduate study and ask for university and course recommendations.

6. Check the course fees and financial support options

There are different course fees associated with each course. The price of a course is determined by the cost of each unit. For this reason, graduate certificates sit at the lower end of price, graduate diplomas are around the middle price range and master’s degrees are on the higher end of the scale. If price is a factor in your decision, look at the cost of each unit as not all units are the same price. The FEE-HELP loan scheme is available to eligible postgraduate students with postgraduate tuition fees.

Start your postgraduate healthcare journey today

Finding a postgraduate course to suit your lifestyle and goals is a great way to set yourself up for a smooth and successful postgraduate journey. GlobalHealth Education’s partner universities offer courses across nursing, public health, psychology, leadership, mental health and counselling

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