find your perfect postgrad program
Search our Database of 30,000 Courses

Different Types of Masters Degree and PhD Program in Europe


University books There is a variety of postgraduate qualifications you can apply for at a European university, these include Masters of Arts, Science or Business Administration, Masters of Philosophy, Master of Laws, Graduate Diploma in Law, Legal Practice Course and Bar Vocational Course, PG Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate in Education and Doctor of Philosophy. To undertake a PhD you will first require a masters qualification. 

Masters of Arts/MA

Masters of Arts (MAs) are awarded by a variety of universities across the world. They consist of a studying a postgraduate course in an arts subject such as English, History, Geography, Social Sciences, Humanities, Philosophy and Fine Arts.

Masters of Science/MSc

A Masters of Science is awarded when a postgraduate course has been done in either the social sciences or in Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Other miscellaneous subjects such as Engineering or Medicine may also come under the MSc umbrella.

Masters of Philosophy/MPhil

A Masters of Philosophy is awarded as a senior of second masters degree. It comes between a taught masters and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). 

Masters of Business Administration/MBA

Masters of Business Administration were traditionally awarded by American universities, although nowadays other universities across the world have started to offer MBAs including ones as diverse as the University of Karachi in Pakistan and the London School of Business. They are now becoming more common across the world than they were previously and are readily available at many European business schools.

Master of Laws/LLM

An LLM is awarded when someone does a Master of Laws program. It is most commonly studied after an undergraduate degree in law has been achieved and is seldom done after a non-law specified undergraduate degree.

Graduate Diploma in Law/GDL

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is a postgraduate law course that is suitable for non-law graduates who wish to pursue a career in law. The GDL is also known as a conversion course. It covers all of the core modules of law and is usually taken as an intense one-year course but can also be done part time over two years. 

Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Bar Vocational Course (BVC)

The Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) are both taken either after a law degree or a GDL. The LPC is a one-year course, which is studied by those who wish to be a solicitor before they start work as trainee solicitors. The BVC is also a one-year course suitable for those who wish to become a barrister. The LPC and BVC can also both be done part time over two years.

Postgraduate Diploma/PG Diploma

The Postgraduate Diploma is awarded across the world (excluding America) after an undergraduate degree as been done and is considered to be a vocational course and typically last less than a year. An institute rather than a university normally awards PG Diplomas.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education/PGCE

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education is a teaching qualification that is undertaken after an undergraduate degree and is awarded by some UK universities and colleges. This qualification provides students with the teaching skills and qualification to become a teacher in the UK. A PGCE can last up to a year for a full-time course or two years for a part-time course. Funding is available from the UK government for this course and applications can be made through the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR) only.

Doctor of Philosophy/PhD

A PhD or Doctor of Philosophy is studied after the successful completion of a masters degree. PhDs involve an area or research topic, chosen by the individual to investigate and study for a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years. Universities award PhDs after the student has submitted a 100,000-word thesis, which they are then interviewed about. Upon successfully completing a PhD the student is rewarded with the title of Doctor/Dr.


Related articles

Types Of University In Europe

European University Search

European University Rankings

European University Tuition Fees

Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries