5 Things to Expect from a PGT Degree

27 June 2024

Congratulations on earning a place to study at UCL. You might be a recent graduate. Or maybe you’re returning to education. Either way, you are probably wondering what to expect. You will notice some differences from undergraduate study. So here are five things you can expect!

1) Diverse Postgraduate Population   

UCL’s postgraduate degrees attract international and UK students. In 2022/23, UCL had a postgraduate taught population of 19,745 students. 

This community welcomes people from different stages in their careers. You will meet students balancing study with work, parenting, or caring responsibilities. Some students live near campus, while others travel to class or study remotely. 

As a postgraduate student at UCL, you will become part of this diverse group. You will meet and learn from people from all walks of life. 

2) Independent Study  

Lectures are a big part of being an undergraduate. This might not be the case at PG level. PGT courses vary, but independent study skills are essential. As a PGT student, you can expect group work and presentations. You might be asked to step back and reflect on your learning.  

Classes could be discussion based or include practical tasks. Classes might use a ‘flipped’ model. This is where you are assigned a task before having a lesson on the material.  Also, postgraduate courses may not have the same breaks or reading weeks as undergraduate courses.  

When you start, you will have access to your course handbook. This will be your guide to course content, assessment, and important dates. 

3) Workload will Ebb and Flow  

With independent study, your workload can vary from week to week.  Proper planning and regular breaks will help you get through busier times. It can be helpful to remember that a quiet period will soon follow. 

During slower periods, you might like to revisit material or seek academic support. Remember to make use of quieter times to relax and catch up with other interests. You will find a rhythm to the workload in your course. If this does become difficult, reach out to your module leader. They might be able to flag upcoming tasks. This could help you plan your time. 

4) Career Development Opportunities  

There are plenty of activities to get involved in at UCL away from your PGT course. The Students’ Union UCL is an excellent starting point to browse societies and volunteer rolesKeep up with events by checking out the What’s On calendar. You can use the tags and search box to check out activities for postgraduate students. 

There are lots of opportunities to develop your CV. For example, employer-led sessions share a glimpse into different industries. And there are practical sessions to help with job searching or presentation skills.  Sign up for UCL careers and PG mailing lists to hear about events tailored to your course. You can sign up to the mailing lists as soon as you get your UCL student login. Your department will also keep in touch through email with news on upcoming events.  

With so much on offer, it is easy to overcommit yourself. But do not worry: many sessions repeat throughout the academic year. If you miss one, you can register your interest and attend next time. 

5) There is Lots of Help Available  

There is lots of support available to you as a PG student. The UCL Go app is useful for finding your way around campus. You can use it to check your timetable and log in to Moodle and Outlook. The askUCL portal is a great first stop for finding answers to your questions. You can also access it through the UCL Go app. 

When it comes to managing your mental health, Student Support and Wellbeing hosts interactive events throughout the year. You can access advice, support, and counselling through the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team.  

For academic support, the Academic Communication Centre offer tutorials, workshops, and seminars tailored to your faculty. For study skills, LibrarySkills@UCL has a range of online self-paced resources and training events.  

And if you do find yourself struggling on your course, remember to reach out and discuss this with your module leader or course leader.  

I hope these Five Things to Expect from a PGT Degree have helped you feel more prepared. Time will pass quickly, so enjoy the experience and seek support if you need to. Good luck!