A mere few decades ago, holding a bachelor’s degree was a rarity, a distinction enjoyed by only the wealthiest, brightest, or most fortunate in a society.

Now, however, in many countries — and particularly major cities and financial centers — a bachelor’s degree is the absolute minimum one must hold in order to secure employment and begin building a career. Many college graduates are returning to school to pursue postgraduate degrees, and this will become increasingly essential as more people go for these advanced degrees.

University of Derby Business School

Pic: University of Derby Business School

But the benefits of a postgraduate degree go far beyond a nice line on a resume. Postgraduate programs allow students to delve deeply into their interests, to develop a field of expertise, to spend time interacting with professionals in their chosen field and gain real insight into the challenges and opportunities there.

Oftentimes, undergraduate students are required to study a range of core subjects, which means that they are exposed to a number of study areas. However, it also means that for those with a clear goal of what they want to study or do with their lives, they are forced to spend time on other matters, rather than focusing their training and education solely on that field. A postgraduate program allows for a much greater emphasis on the area they intend to center their careers or lives around.

The specific nature of postgraduate degree programs allows for students with a bachelor’s degree in a certain field to further their studies in that field. On the other hand, it often happens that individuals who have studied in one discipline as undergraduates find they are more drawn to another. A postgraduate program will help them switch tracks.

After working for several years in one industry or another, professionals may decide to take their lives in a different direction or find that they have hit a wall in terms of how far they can advance at their companies. A postgraduate degree, such as one in management or an MBA, can help them overcome those obstacles by providing them with the training and resources to push their skills and thinking forward.

In some fields, a postgraduate is essential due to licensing or certification requirements. Those seeking legal careers, as attorneys, public defenders and litigators must earn a juris doctor degree and pass the bar exam before being allowed to practice.

There is a plethora of universities that offer postgraduate programs, but be advised that simply because a university as a whole enjoys a prestigious reputation, that does not mean they are the strongest in your field. It is important to define for yourself your career goals and your aims when enrolling in a postgraduate program. Then narrow down your choices to those that offer the best internship, research, and classroom opportunities.

University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

Pic: University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

Different schools and programs have varying enrollment requirements, so be sure to find out in advance if a university insists upon a particular standardized test as part of the application process. Students whose first language is not English may also be required to demonstrate proficiency in English or another language before being allowed to enroll in a psotgraduate course.

International students will find that relocating to participate in a postgraduate degree program abroad will open numerous doors to them career-wise, and will provide a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience. They will have the opportunity to travel and to learn from some of the most renowned names in their fields.

The following schools offer some of the most reputable postgraduate and professional programs in the world and represent schools of law, business and international studies.

BUSINESS SCHOOLS

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, USA
George Mason’s School of Management is dedicated to excellence, providing distinctive business education programs to prepare professional leaders for the future. A graduate degree is an investment in a lucrative career and a Mason graduate degree will yield the return on investment that students are looking for. Students are engaged in innovative learning experiences, both in and outside the classroom to provide them with the management skills they need to handle the challenges of business management for their long-term career success. The world-class faculty at George Mason provides students with a rigorous and innovative curriculum that both challenges and engages them. Read full profile… 

George Mason University

Pic: George Mason University

UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, SOUTH AFRICA
Rated as the best business school in Africa with the best value-for-money MBA in the world, the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) is gaining global recognition for its vibrant and pioneering spirit. Although a small school by international standards, it holds a reputation for innovation and excellence. Its full-time MBA is the only one in Africa that is ranked in the Financial Times Top 100 survey, and in 2011 the school was also rated top in Africa by the Eduniversal World Convention and the Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) report. The UCT GSB is a values-driven program, and has has full EQUIS accreditation from the European Foundation for Management Development. Read full profile…

UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN SYDNEY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, AUSTRALIA
The University of Western Sydney (UWS) is a dynamic, inclusive institution that’s mission is to “bring knowledge to life” through high quality education programs and research excellence. The UWS educational approach applies to three areas: study, work and innovation. The aim is to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to succeed, as well as the practical ability to solve problems and move forward in their careers. UWS staff are leaders in their fields and work hard to share their knowledge and passion with every student. Students know from the outset that they will receive a quality, worthwhile education at UWS. The university has consistently placed at the top in Australia for teaching excellence, and has been recognized for outstanding contributions to student learning. Read full profile… 

UNIVERSITY OF DERBY BUSINESS SCHOOL, UK
The University of Derby Business School is a learning institution that encourages careful, thoughtful study and welcomes students to truly engage with the subject matter and achieve all they can in their degree courses and their careers. The Accounting and Finance department at the University of Derby Business School offers exceptional programs, through which students will become well-versed in all aspects of these subject areas. The department is ACCA and CIMA accredited, and well-respected in the UK. The MSc in Accounting and Finance grants successful students master qualification, and helps ready them for the ACCA Professional Level examinations. Read full profile…

BRADFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, UK
Bradford University School of Management is one of the UK’s oldest university based business schools, and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2013. As a full-service business school that offers undergraduate, masters, MBA, Executive Education and PhD/DBA level degrees to more than 6,000 students across the world, Bradford has developed a reputation for graduating future leaders. Bradford’s School of Management is ranked among the world’s top business schools, with more than 70 nations represented among the student body. Bradford’s programs are accredited by EQUIS and AMBA, and all MBA programs here are accredited by the Association of MBAs. Read full profile…

AUDENCIA NANTES SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, FRANCE

Audencia Nantes is a leader among European academic institutions, thanks not only to its high academic standards but also to its commitment to being a socially minded, progressive establishment. It was the first school in France to sign the United Nations Global Compact, which brings together businesses, labor organizations and societies to advance the causes of human rights, environment and labor standards. Students at Audencia Nantes learn to address global social challenges and are groomed to become effective leaders and managers. Audencia Nantes is accredited by EQUIS, AACSB, AMBA. Programs here include a master degree in Management, MBA and International Masters.

LAW SCHOOLS

UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON LAW CENTER, USA
The University of Houston Law Center is a tier one law school, meaning it is one of the top in the United States. There are a number of renowned specialty LL.M. programs here, with two (Health Law and Intellectual Property & Information Law) ranked in the Top Ten according to U.S. News & World Report. There are more than 200 courses offered at the school. Students will also find that they are at a great advantage by studying in Houston, which is the fourth largest city in the United States and is a a global leader in healthcare, energy, international business and other disciplines. Read full profile…

DICKSON POON SCHOOL OF LAW, KING’S COLLEGE LONDON, UK
The Dickson Poon School of Law is notorious for its excellent academics and overwhelmingly positive student response to its programs. This King’s College London establishment has been named one of the top 10 law schools in the UK by the Good University Guide 2013: Law. Because of its advantageous location, students will find themselves surrounded by the country’s finest legal and business minds and with a wealth of networking opportunities. The Dickson Poon School of Law is a research-led institute that honors the traditional philosophies of law while also examining the role of law and its responsibilities in modern communities and settings.

MONASH LAW SCHOOL, AUSTRALIA
Australia’s Monash Law School is part of an internationally renowned educational institution, as Monash University was recently named one of the top 20 universities in the world in the QS World University rankings. As one of the largest law schools in Australia, Monash maintains strong ties within the international community and offers students excellent career and networking opportunities. Graduates of Monash Law School tend to fulfill their career goals as leaders in their fields, holding positions of great influence. At Monash Law School, instructors place an emphasis on ingraining in students a solid foundation in the law so they can apply that to their practice, wherever they make take their careers.

Bradford School of Management

Pic: Bradford University School of Management

UCL FACULTY OF LAWS, LONDON, UK
As one of the most reputable universities in the UK, one would only expect the same high standard of excellence and intellectual rigor in University College London’s law program as is demonstrated throughout the rest of the university. UCL’s Faculty of Laws is exceptionally well-equipped to meet all law students’ needs. The school is located within a short walk’s distance to the main UCL law library and campus. Other facilities include teaching rooms, a courtroom for moots, a spacious student lounge, a coffee bar and two computer cluster rooms. Students will learn how to address legal issues in the public and private sectors and will have thriving London as a test case on which to stretch their legal thinking.

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE FACULTY OF LAW
Billing itself as “Asia’s Global Law School,” the NUS Faculty of Law endeavors to teach students to think about worldwide challenges and issues and how they can affect change in those areas. The school emphasizes global engagement and an understanding of international law and therefore invites academics from all over the world to speak at and exchange ideas at the school. Students can focus their legal studies on the area of their choosing, from course offerings that include Asian legal studies to banking and finance, from public international law to intellectual property, or from arbitration to jurisprudence. Here, students are encouraged to think independently and develop solutions to real-world problems.

QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY LONDON, CENTRE FOR COMMERCIAL LAW STUDIES
The Centre for Commerical Law Studies at Queen Mary University London was established in 1980. The stated focus of the institution was the systematic study and research of national and international commercial law and its social and economic implications. The school carries on that tradition today, through intensive academic programs as well as partnerships with relevant schools and departments. This include regular partnerships with practicing lawyers in the city, and the advice and insight they offer help develop students’ understanding of the legal world, particularly in London and the greater UK. Academic programs offered here include LLM and MSc degrees, as well as Diploma and Certificate courses.

INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

FLINDERS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, AUSTRALIA
The Flinders University School of International Studies offers exciting opportunities to its students and is at the cutting edge of international affairs studies in Australia. The School of International Studies is committed to the Flinders reputation for excellence in teaching and student-focused learning. All degree candidates have ready access to academic staff and to the range of Flinders’ resources. The School of International Studies offers excellent undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral studies programs. The Flinders community is a diverse one, and welcomes students from around the world to be part of this dynamic academic experience. Read full profile… 

Flinders University School of International Studies

Flinders University School of International Studies

BSIS, UNIVERSITY OF KENT, BELGIUM
The University of Kent is the only UK university to have a campus in Brussels, a distinction that speaks to the school’s prestige throughout Europe. Postgraduate courses at the Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) are taught in English, making the world-class programs here accessible to students from around the globe. There is a focus at BSIS on students interacting directly with those affected by their areas of study. Academic disciplines at BSIS include migration and conflict studies to law and international relations. The diverse student body reflects the international nature of the school, with students coming from 50 countries.

University of Western Sydney School of Business

Pic: University of Western Sydney School of Business

RSIS, NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY, SINGAPORE
The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University has repeatedly garnered acclaim worldwide. In 2011, the school was named one of the Top 50 think tanks in the world outside the United States. The school was established in 1996 as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies and was renamed in 2007. RSIS is a leader among research institutes focused on the Asia Pacific region and affords students interested in issues relevant to this part of the world to delve into serious, significant topics. RSIS students learn the theoretical and practical aspects to dealing with crises and situations in the Asia Pacific area, and are taught to think critically and innovatively.

JOSEF KORBEL SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF DENVER, USA
Located in Denver, Colorado, one of the loveliest areas of the United States, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies helps its students become ethical, effective global leaders. The school emphasizes “the impact of policy on human welfare,” and cultivates a culture in which students approach their learning and their careers with that mentality. Graduate students at the School of International Studies will learn to devise creative solutions within the context of historical events and social theories. Degree programs here incluse MA courses in Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration, International Human Rights, and Conflict Resolution, among others, as well as Ph.D., BA and joint degree programs.

DIPLOMATIC ACADEMY, VIENNA, AUSTRIA
The Diplomatic Academy of Vienna is a strictly postgraduate institution that prepares professionals and college graduates for leadership careers in business and public policy. The school has a long history of training capable, intelligent students, as it has been doing so since its founding in 1754. Degree course offerings here include a Master of Advanced International Studies, a Master of Science in Environmental Technology & International Affairs, and Cooperative Degree Programs with U.S. universities Tufts and Johns Hopkins. There are also executive training programs, diploma courses, a Fulbright Student Grant program, and summer programs in the German language and in Austrian studies.

University of Houston Law Center

Pic: University of Houston Law Center

UNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, UK
Scotland’s University of St. Andrews boasts a School of International Relations equal to the school’s fame as a prestigious, world-class institute of higher learning. It is the only international relations school of its kind in the country and prepares students well to tackle issues of global importance. Study topics here include foreign policy, international organizations and regimes, peace and conflict studies, political theory, and terrorism and political violence, among others. Students become grounded in historical and political factors that influence global conflict and development, and then pursue their goals toward internationally effective careers. Faculty members are well-trained in their fields and impart significant knowledge and insight about various aspects of international relations as students carve out their own path as global leaders.