PgCert in higher education

Becky Kleanthous  · Jan 4th 2024  · 2 min

A PgCert is one of the many postgraduate options you can explore and one of the most common.


What is a PgCert?

PgCert stands for Postgraduate Certificate and is one of many postgraduate study options you may take after gaining your first degree. You may also see it being referred to as a PGC or a PG Cert.

It is often referred to as a ‘mini masters' as it is the same level of study as a master's degree, but has a shorter duration and is worth less credits. In England, Northern Ireland and Wales a PgCert is considered a level 7 qualification and a level 11 in Scotland.

A PgCert is usually completed in three months of full-time study, although the PgCert Education (commonly known as a PGCE) takes a year to complete.

PGDE Degree at Uni

Why take a PgCert?

There are many benefits to a PgCert! They can be a great way to hone knowledge and skills that will look great alongside your student CV when applying for jobs.

If you're looking to re-train or gain better knowledge in an area related to your job, this may be something to explore. It can be a great extension to your first degree, as well as an opportunity to gain a further qualification years after your undergraduate.

What subjects can you study a PgCert in?

There are many subjects that offer a PgCert qualification, from Architecture to Veterinary Science! Some of the more popular subjecrs include education (PGCE) as well as administration and management qualifications.

PGDE Degree at Uni

PgCert vs PgDip vs Masters - what is the difference?

PgCert, PgDip and Master's are all postgraduate qualifications, but they do differ in what they offer and how they are run. They are all Level 7 qualifications, requiring a first degree. However, the credits assigned to each is different. For PgCert, this is 60 credits, PgDip (postgraduate diploma) is 120 credits and a Masters (MA or MSc) is worth 180 credits.

The credits are a reflection of the contact hours and work required to achieve the qualification. While each qualification will include different assessments, the course intensity is likely most for a Master's level.

PGDE Degree at Uni

Applying for a PgCert

PgCert entry requirements

While each course provider will have different entry requirements, it's likely they will require you to have a good and related undergraduate degree under your belt! Similarly to applying for your undergraduate degree, you will also want to have experience related to the subject of study to help showcase your passion and pre-existing knowledge of the subject.

Be sure to check out the individual course provider's requirements before applying.

PgCert fees and funding options

As a PgCert is typically a third of the teaching time of a Master's, the fees are also typically a third of the cost. This is usually around £3000 but will vary depending on the subject and course provider.

Unlike other postgraduate courses, you're unable to receive a tuition loan to study a PgCert. As a PgCert is not a complete degree, you aren't eligible for student finance. The exception here is a PGCE where the funding works a little different. You can learn more about PGCE funding here.

If you're studying a PgCert to support your development at work, your employer may have some options available to support the cost of your studies.

Studying a PgCert part-time

There are many options that will allow you to study a PgCert part-time, with many courses having this option, as well as distance and online options available.

A part-time PgCert can take between 6 and18 months, depending on how many contact hours you opt for a month. This is instead of the usual 3 months for a PgCert.

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