The supervisory committee is the group of faculty members that supervises and approves the student’s graduate program. The committee’s function is to guide the student through his/her thesis research and to administer the oral final examination. The supervisory committee should be selected as soon as possible but no later than the end of the second semester. After the committee has been determined, the student should obtain a Supervisory Committee Form from the ECE Student Services Office (230 Larsen) and have the professors sign the form indicating their willingness to serve on the committee. The Graduate School may deny degrees to any persons who have failed to comply with this regulation at the proper time.

Most of the confusion with Australian postgraduate programmes occurs with the research-based programmes, particularly scientific programmes. Research degrees generally require candidates to have a minimum of a second-class four-year honours undergraduate degree to be considered for admission to a Ph.D. programme (M.Phil. are an uncommon route[24]). In science, a British first class honours (3 years) is not equivalent to an Australian first class honours (1 year research postgraduate programme that requires a completed undergraduate (pass) degree with a high grade-point average).[25] In scientific research, it is commonly accepted that an Australian postgraduate honours is equivalent to a British master's degree (in research). There has been some debate over the acceptance of a three-year honours degree (as in the case of graduates from British universities) as the equivalent entry requirement to graduate research programmes (M.Phil., Ph.D.) in Australian universities.[26] The letters of Honours programmes also added to the confusion. For example: B.Sc. (Hons) are the letters gained for postgraduate research honours at the University of Queensland. B.Sc. (Hons) does not indicate that this honours are postgraduate qualification. The difficulty also arises between different universities in Australia—some universities have followed the UK system.

The old Spanish degrees of Licenciado (Licenciate), Arquitecto (Architect) and Ingeniero (Engineer) are also equivalent to master's degrees. They were integrated programmes of study that combined first and second cycles and led to a second cycle qualification. The Spanish government issued a royal decree in 2014 establishing the official equivalences between the Spanish pre-Bologna degrees and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) levels.[92] Most (if not all) Licenciado, Arquitecto and Ingeniero degrees were placed in level 7 (Master) of the EQF. These programmes have been phased out and replaced with the new Bologna programmes of Máster, to be completed after completion of a programme of Grado (Bachelor's).
Most universities award honorary degrees,[15] usually at the postgraduate level. These are awarded to a wide variety of people, such as artists, musicians, writers, politicians, businesspeople, etc., in recognition of their achievements in their various fields. (Recipients of such degrees do not normally use the associated titles or letters, such as "Dr.")
Over the past two decades, it has become ever more apparent that many of the most serious problems faced by the nation have both an economic and a political component. Graduate education, however, has remained largely compartmentalized, with most programs producing students who, while well trained in economics or in political science, are not trained in both. The Caltech Ph.D. program in social science is designed to graduate scholars who are well grounded in the theoretical perspectives, the quantitative techniques, and the experimental methods of economics and of political science and who also have been introduced to quantitative history, law, anthropology, and psychology. In addition to providing students with a solid foundation in the underlying disciplines, the program has a substantial policy component that brings institutional design to policy studies in a way that is done at no other institution.

Currently, the department is concentrated primarily on earthquake engineering, a field in which Caltech researchers have been important contributors since the 1920's. Research is currently being conducted in areas such as seismic early warning, characterization of near-source motion in earthquakes, soil-structure interaction, nonlinear finite element analysis of civil structures, structural health monitoring and earthquake loss-estimation.
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Funding for postgraduate study in the UK is awarded competitively, and usually is disseminated by institution (in the form of a certain allocation of studentships for a given year) rather than directly to individuals. There are a number of scholarships for master's courses, but these are relatively rare and dependent on the course and class of undergraduate degree obtained (usually requiring at least a lower second). Most master's students are self-funded.

A French diplôme d'ingénieur (postgraduate degree in engineering) is also the equivalent of a master's degree, provided the diploma is recognised by the Commission des titres d'ingénieur, as are qualifications recognised at Level I of the répertoire national des certifications professionnelles (national register of professional certificates).[81][82]

The 21-credit Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics is designed to provide advanced coursework and experiential learning opportunities to students interested in careers that involve the application of statistical modeling, data warehousing, data mining, programming, forecasting and operations research techniques to the analysis of problems of business organization and performance.

Although systems of higher education date back to ancient Greece, ancient Rome, China, ancient India and Arabian Peninsula, the concept of postgraduate education depends upon the system of awarding degrees at different levels of study, and can be traced to the workings of European medieval universities, mostly Italians.[2][3] University studies took six years for a bachelor's degree and up to twelve additional years for a master's degree or doctorate. The first six years taught the faculty of the arts, which was the study of the seven liberal arts: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music theory, grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The main emphasis was on logic. Once a Bachelor of Arts degree had been obtained, the student could choose one of three faculties—law, medicine, or theology—in which to pursue master's or doctor's degrees.