Growing numbers of students attending university have resulted in a shift in the graduate pool and in employers expecting more from the recruitment process. As Bachelors become the norm, however, increasing numbers of graduates pursue their education at postgraduate level in a bid to gain specialist skills and stand out in their search for employment. Bachelors and Masters degree holders have seen their income increase by 13% and 23% respectively since 1984. And with a recent £25 million funding scheme announced in the UK to support postgraduate students at more than 40 universities, those numbers aren’t set to decline any time soon.

The funding announced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England will be used for projects that address some of the issues that postgraduate education is facing, such as lack of funding or support. Nottingham Trent University was awarded £1.5 million to design courses where students spend time in industry during studies. The University of Oxford received £3 million to provide a match-funded scholarship program and internships for students from under-represented groups. These projects drive research and boost the profiles of postgraduate programs.

London Bridge

The UK and the US have always been destinations of choice for international students and for professionals working abroad who want to update their qualifications. In 2011-12, 60% of full-time postgraduate students were from outside the UK, highlighting the popularity of British universities and the reputation of their courses abroad.

As with undergraduate courses, there are many criteria that prospective postgraduate students may consider. Dr Sabine Braun, Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey, says choosing a postgraduate course requires some forward planning, and it is important to consider what different universities have on offer. “Different departments focus on different things,” says Braun. “Look at the websites of different institutions and see what they specialise in and if it suits you.”

Anglia Ruskin University

Some universities might be renowned for their exceptional research department and facilities, whilst others might offer the best Business programs. Choosing the right program and university for a postgraduate degree can be a very different process to selecting an undergraduate program. Often, prospective postgraduate students have a clearer idea of what they want to study and can make a decision based on reputation, quality of the teachers, facilities and the professional opportunities the course will create for them.

For international students it is always important to consider the level of support offered by the faculties, as well as potential opportunities to work alongside the program. All universities have different selling points and websites such as the new Guardian’s postgraduate hub can be starting points for prospective applicants to get useful information. Attending open days when possible is always a good idea so that students can familiarise with what universities have to offer. Some institutions will hold meetings so prospective students to interact with their future lecturers. Depending on the course chosen, the amount invested in new facilities might be a priority; or it might be more relevant to look at the credentials of the faculty professors. Links with industry and professional outputs usually are a good indicator of what options graduates have for the future.

In light of this, here are some of the best Postgraduate schools for international students:

SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES (SOAS), LONDON
The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London is the only Higher Education institution in Europe to specialise in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. Its course offering is unique and SOAS scholars are true specialists in issues such as democracy, human rights, identity, legal systems, and poverty. SOAS offers over 200 taught Master’s degrees, as well as MPhil and PhD. With more than 5,000 students on campus and a further 3,600 engaged on a distance learning program, SOAS creates an international community for its students who come from all over the world. Read the full profile here…

ROYAL ROADS UNIVERSITY, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Royal Roads University (RRU) is a Canadian public institution in Victoria, British Columbia. Royal Roads offers applied and professional undergraduate and graduate programs for experienced and aspiring professionals. International students are an integral part of RRU’s multicultural community of more than 60 nationalities. Programs are and offered full-time on-campus or in a blended format, combining on-campus classrooms and online learning. The Royal Roads campus is a national historic site and an exceptional learning environment where rich history and tradition meet innovative programs. Read the full profile here…

Royal Roads University

FACULTY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY – ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, UK
Anglia Ruskin is one of the largest universities in the East of England, and has undergone a £81 million investment over the past five years.  The Faculty of Science & Technology offers Postgraduate programmes in five Departments: Computing and Technology, Engineering and the Built Environment, Life Sciences, Psychology, and Vision and Hearing Science. Students at the Faculty have access to the latest research facilities, fully furnished teaching laboratories and excellent library facilities. Many courses are accredited by recognised professional institutions within the UK and worldwide, and Anglia Ruskin takes pride in the high employability of its graduates. Read the full profile here…

NOTTINGHAM BUSINESS SCHOOL – NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY
The Business School at Nottingham Trent University is internationally known as one of the UK’s top business schools. The postgraduate courses it offers focus on education and research in business, management and economics. The School works with more than 900 companies, and public and third sector organisations, and provides them with graduate and leadership talent. These partnerships also help ensure that programs and courses are up to date and industry relevant. The Nottingham business School is EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) accredited and the Association of MBAs (AMBA) has accredited their MBA programs since 1993. Nottingham Trent University has invested over £130 million in new facilities and offers students a modern environment to complete their studies. Read the full profile here…

Nottingham Trent University students

INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF MONACO BUSINESS SCHOOL, MONACO
The Monaco Business School at the International University of Monaco prepares students for successful careers as leaders and entrepreneurs. All courses are fully taught in English and students come from more than 60 countries to get a reputable education. Small class sizes allow for individual contact with faculty and close attention is given to all students. International students feel at home in a thoroughly multi-cultural environment which brings together people from all over the world to share ideas on a global scale. Monaco offers a unique study experience in a safe environment. Programs on offer include Masters and MBA Programs in Finance, Marketing, Sport Business Management, and Luxury & International Business.

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND
The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is Scotland’s largest modern university, and upholds a reputation for the vocational courses it offers on its four campuses. UWS offers a number of postgraduate courses ranging from MSc, Postgraduate Diploma and research Masters that offer students a competitive edge in the job market.  UWS conducts world-leading research and works with universities, research centres and industry experts worldwide to deliver cutting-edge knowledge. Postgraduate programs are available in a wide range of subjects including Business, Computing and IT, Education, Engineering, Health & Nursing, Music, and more. UWE welcomes more than 1,400 international students from all over the world and offers a welcoming and supportive learning environment.