Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


Novel Recipes




core definition

A postgraduate is someone who is undertaking study at post-first degree level.

explanatory context

Postgraduate study may be post-bachelor in some counties and thus include masters but may be post-masters in other countries. In some countries, such as the US, postgraduate students are referred to as graduate students. This confuses graduates (those people who have graduated and left the institution) with those who have graduated from a first degree (from any institution) but are studying for a postgraduate qualification.

analytical review

HEFCE (undated) defines a postgraduate students as:

A student on a course which normally requires a first degree as a condition of entry.

The UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) (undated) states:

Postgraduate student: A student who has attained a bachelor's degree or equivalent and is now studying for a qualification at a higher level.


HEA[Ireland] (2004) defines postgraduate as:

A student following a course of a higher level than a primary degree.

and postgraduate degree as:

A Master's or doctoral degree that is taken after having obtained a Bachelor's or primary degree.


ICN (2003) refers to a graduate course, which has the same meaning as postgraduate:

graduate course : a credit course that may be applied to a graduate degree (that is, a master's or other professional degree, usually requiring at least 30 hours of work beyond the bachelor's degree).

University of Canterbury
(undated) states:

Postgraduate and graduate courses can only be taken by students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree, ie, graduates.

Postgraduate qualifications involve more advanced study in the area of your first (undergraduate) degree. They include honours and master’s degrees, postgraduate certificates and diplomas, and doctorates (PhDs).

associated issues


related areas

See also



Higher Education Authority (HEA) [of Ireland] 2004, Glossary, no longer available, 29 January 2011.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE ), undated, Glossary, available at, accessed 20 September 2012, not available 20 June 2019.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) (undated), Glossary, available at, accessed 8 January 2017, not available 20 June 2019.

University of Canterbury - Christchurch, New Zealand , undated, Key terms explained, available at, accessed 20 September 2012, not available 20 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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