Posted in Intern advice, Written by Jenny

UG vs. PGT: the differences

Deciding whether or not to do a Master’s degree is a big decision! But what is the difference?

My take on the Master’s students life:

In the table below I’ve noted down the key differences between my two degrees to try and make the distinction a bit clearer.

UG (Biochemistry) PGT (Molecular Medicine)
Application via UCAS Application to the University
120 credits 180 credits
9 month academic year 12 month academic year
Guided study Self-directed study
Build on assumption of low level knowledge Assume a high amount of previous knowledge
Low expectation of technical skills Higher expectation of technical skills, improvement sought
Highly supervised (laboratory) Supervision present but self-directed research
Short laboratory project Extended laboratory project
Guided opportunities for direction and feedback Expected to seek your own opportunities to ask questions and direct your learning
Wide discipline knowledge Sub-discipline knowledge
Set hours (laboratory) Expected to manage your own time
Lecturers/ researchers are seen as senior, with a clear power dynamic Lecturers/ researchers are still seen as senior but the dynamic is more of colleagues
Research seminars may be a requirement in third year Increased invites to seminars/talks and lab meetings- expectation that they will be of interest
Large class size Smaller class size
Slow moving Fast-paced


The big differences summed up:

  • Master’s level learning comes with much higher expectations of your drive, knowledge and dedication.
  • Master’s level learning is a lot more independent. You are in control of your own work and expected to manage your own time.
  • Master’s level learning is intensive, with a heavier workload and faster pace than at UG level.

This progression is cheekily summed up below:

main-qimg-0b4ecdb832ccbfeb3577be71952f119a

The main take-home message is that a Master’s degree should not just be something you undertake as you don’t know what to do, it in itself is a choice.

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Author:

We are 301 Student Skills and Development Centre and we give academic skills advice to our students at the University of Sheffield. We offer workshops and 1:1 appointments.

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