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Education Systems

Degrees and education systems vary from country to country, with different programme structures, lengths of study, and processes, whether it is an undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral degree. But don’t worry! Your Intake advisor can help you thanks to our considerable experience advising students on their overseas study plans. Let’s take a look at the differences between the education systems of different countries like the UK, US, Australia, Ireland and Canada.

Master's degrees are a top choice for those who want to study abroad. It will be an important benefit for your future career, no matter if you go to study abroad after you graduate from university or want to enrich yourself after working for several years. There are differences between master's degrees in various countries. Let’s take a look at the different master's degrees in the UK, the US, Australia, Ireland, and Canada. 

Postgraduate degree

Postgraduate Degrees in the UK

Taught master’s programmes in the UK are very popular with international students and can generally be completed within 9 to 12 months. A Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is research based and usually takes 2 years. Master's courses in the UK can also be divided into conversion courses and professional: conversion courses are provided to students who want to study in a field different from their undergraduate studies; professional courses allow students to continue to study further in the same field as their undergraduate degree. 

The titles associated with UK master's degrees are diverse. The most common are Master of Science (MSc) and MLitt (Master of Letters), which is usually used for a liberal arts degree, similar to the MA (Master of Arts). Most universities use the title MA, but some universities (usually universities with a long history) prefer to use MLitt, but it will not affect your qualifications. If you want to inquire further about the types of courses at British universities, please speak with your Intake advisor and find out which course is most suitable for you. 


Pre-sessional Courses  

A UK master's degree only takes one year, so universities usually require students to have a good level of English before they begin the course (usually IELTS 6.5). If a student does not meet the English requirements, the school will suggest they first take English pre-sessional courses to improve their English ability as well as learn how to write a report and other academic skills. 

The length of a pre-sessional course depends on the student’s IELTS score. Most students can start their degree course after they complete the pre-sessional course and pass the final exam without having to retake the IELTS test again, but there are still a few schools that do ask students to retake the exam. But there is no need to worry, your Intake advisor will give you all the information you need before you sign up for the course. 

USA Postgraduate degree

Postgraduate Degrees in the USA

American universities have multiple ways of dividing up the academic year such as: semesters, quarters, trimesters, 4-1-4, etc. The start date of each year is usually in late August or early September and ends in May or June of the following year. US graduate schools usually have smaller class sizes. Students have to study independently, actively participate in thematic discussions and independently complete a thesis or qualification examination under the guidance of their professor. 

There are more than 1,000 universities in the United States that offer master’s and doctoral degrees. There are many types of master’s degrees. The most common ones are Master of Science (MS/MSc), Master of Arts (Master of Arts), Master of Arts (MFA), Master of Engineering (MEng). These are further divided into academic master's degree and vocational master's degrees. The former requires a dissertation or oral examination and can allow one to continue on to doctoral research; the latter is aimed at a specific industry and usually has no thesis requirement. 



Business programmes are one of the few subjects that can award either a Master of Science or a Master of Arts, so you may see different universities use different titles for the Master of Management, such as MS Management or MA Management. In general, the MS title awarded by a Master of Management degree is more than an MA. US universities have a complicated classification of departments, and there are some more practical graduate diploma courses, and some also use a diploma course as preparation for a master's programme. You can ask your Intake advisors for more details about US master's degrees. 

AUS Postgraduate degree

Postgraduate Degrees in the Australia

There are 42 universities in Australia. Only the Australian National University (ANU) is a national university, while most of the rest are state universities with three private universities. 


Australia offers a wide range of master's degree programmes for university graduates to consider. We welcome you to consult with your Intake advisor, and we will assist you in exploring the most suitable courses based on your academic background and career plans. 


There are two types of master's degrees in Australia: by coursework and by research. 


Master’s by Coursework

Students must have completed a three- or four-year bachelor's degree with a specialized area of study. This degree usually requires one to two years to complete. It is suitable for students who wish to enhance their specialization in their area of study. 


Master’s by Research

Students must have an honours bachelor’s degree or have completed the pre-master's programme. This degree usually takes two years to complete and is suitable for students who wish to pursue academic research in their field of study. 

IRE Postgraduate degree

Postgraduate Degrees in the Ireland

Irish universities offer a wide range of study options and opportunities in various fields such as IT, engineering, art or science. As local companies are booming, they can provide many internship opportunities for international students. 


Higher Diplomas 

These require one to two years and are usually conversion courses. These are very common in the fields of management, IT and psychology. Regardless of your undergraduate major, you can study a one-year advanced diploma course and obtain a qualification equivalent to an Irish honours degree. International students from different fields can study on this type of course to increase their competitiveness. 


Postgraduate Diplomas 

Postgraduate diplomas are usually related to specific occupations but can also be extended to obtain a full master's degree. In recent years, postgraduate diplomas have become more and more popular because they are more economical than a master’s degree and take a shorter time to complete. They can usually be completed in one year (60 ECTS). 


Research Master’s Degree 

The research-based master's degree focuses on personal research and is a stepping stone for future doctoral studies. It usually takes about two years to complete (120 ECTS). 


Taught Master’s Degree 

The taught master's degree is the most common type of postgraduate degree in Ireland, and usually takes 1.5 to 2 years to complete (90-120 ECTS). 

Canada Postgraduate degree

Postgraduate Degrees in the Canada

Canada’s thriving research culture has allowed its influence in many fields to exceed the G7 average, such as clinical medicine, biology, agriculture, and global environmental sciences. 

The title of a Canadian master's degree is usually (MA) or Master of Science (MSc), and there are also professional master's degrees in some disciplines, such as Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Master of Engineering (MEng), and Master of Business Administration (MBA). 

In addition to traditional lectures, a master's programme may also include internships, special or group topics, usually takes one to two years to complete, and most degrees require a dissertation.