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Posted Oct. 7, 2013

Changing Direction with a Postgraduate Degree

The majority of students study for their first degree within a year or two of finishing college. For some, this is a great way of improving their knowledge and job opportunities. There are also a significant number of people who find that by the time they have finished studying, they either no longer want to work in that sector, or struggle to find employment in the area of their study. If this sounds like you, or you have started a career that you now wish to change, a conversion degree can help.

What is a conversion degree?

A conversion degree is a vocational, industry specific course allowing you to convert the study skills learned in your first degree into the area in which you wish to work. These types of course are popular amongst those wishing to enter education, medicine, law and IT, however there are many more subjects for which conversion degrees are available.

Due to their vocational nature, many conversion courses are accredited by professional bodies, so if the circumstances are right, you might find that you are able to get sponsorship from your employer. This is particularly relevant if you have taken a job outside of your original area of study, and do not have the relevant qualifications to progress.

Picking a subject If you are already in employment and looking to do a conversion degree to increase your knowledge and improve your future career prospects, this might seem obvious. If you are just looking for a change, the first and most important thing you need to do is consider what you would like to study for your conversion degree. There is no point studying education if you can’t stand being around children, nor is there any point in studying IT if you can barely work out how to operate your smartphone – you will only end up back exactly where you are today in a year’s time.

How long does a conversion degree take?

Conversion degrees are typically studied over a period of one year, however some courses offer fast-track programmes. Taking a course over one year makes the workload more manageable, especially if you will be working at the same time, however if you are currently out of work, you might find a fast-track course is your quickest route to employment. If you are looking to find a new job once you have finished studying, be sure to read our article on getting a jump start on the job force , which is full of helpful hints that you can implement whilst you are studying.

Going back to studying If you find yourself in the position of looking for a conversion degree right out of university, you might be a little frustrated with yourself for not picking the ‘right’ course in the first place. You will however have an advantage over those around you who may have spent several years in employment, away from the world of academia, who will have to get back into the swing of studying. If it has been a while since you last picked up a textbook, you might find our guide on common postgraduate mistakes a useful read.

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Chinelo Aug. 24, 2021, 7:47 p.m.

I have a first degree in law but I want to shift into a career in Economics. Should I proceed straight or do a PGD in Economics

Charlotte King Aug. 25, 2021, 6:49 p.m.

Hi Chinelo – it may be worth getting some work experience in this new career field to make sure this is the right choice for you. A diploma in Economics is also a good idea to give you a firm grounding in this area and is only a year's commitment and a great way to make some relevant contacts. Many UK institutions such as UEA and the University of Essex do offer good options. And once you have been accepted onto a course you will be eligible to apply for one of out Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries worth £500:
Good luck.

BENJAMIN CHUKWUEBUKA Sept. 24, 2021, 1:04 p.m.

I have a first degree in law but I want to shift into IT. Is it best to do a PGD in IT or proceed straight

Charlotte King Sept. 26, 2021, 7:20 p.m.

Hi Benjamin – if you want to pursue a career in IT it is a good idea to have some academic training in this field – it could also help you to determine that this is definitely an area that you want to work in. This URL has a listing of all the PG IT courses currently available to study in the UK and Europe >
Good luck!

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