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The complete guide to Master’s applications

It is plain to see that the UK is a top choice among international students looking for a Master’s degree to advance their academic career. A Master’s from a UK university carries a lot of weight globally, and the quality of education, coupled with a unique set of cultural experiences, makes the UK a truly exciting prospect for students from around the world. 

Much like applying to a UK university for a Bachelor’s degree, completing a UK Master’s application can be confusing and stressful - especially when you are applying from overseas. 

In this article, we will explore UK Master’s applications from the perspective of international students, to help navigate the postgraduate landscape and ultimately succeed in advancing to the next stage of your education.

Preparing to complete your Master’s application

The first stage on your journey of applying to a Master’s degree in the UK is preparation. Before you can complete an application, you need to be sure that you have fulfilled the necessary requirements, gathered the relevant information, and conducted research into schools and degree programmes, to ensure that you have the best chance of success. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to prepare to complete your Master’s application: 

  1. Research courses and schools 

Having a clear idea of what you want to study is often the easy part when it comes to Master’s degrees. Knowing where you want to study, however, is another matter entirely. It is important to research courses and schools thoroughly to build a clear picture of where you want to study. University rankings can help here, but it is also worth considering where you want to live during your postgraduate study, as this will have a large bearing on the overall student experience. 

  1. Check entry requirements 

Wanting to study somewhere, and actually being able to, are two very different things. Before progressing with a Master's application, it is vital to research the specific entry requirements for both the school and the course you are applying to. For international students, universities will require a minimum standard of English language, demonstrated by an IELTs test result. 

  1. Consider the cost of studying 

Studying in the UK isn’t cheap. International students should expect to pay roughly double for their tuition when compared with UK residents. Make sure you have considered the cost of your tuition, and the cost of living, and are confident that you can adequately fund your studies in the UK. 

  1. Explore scholarship and grant options 

UK universities offer a range of funding options to support postgraduate studies. There are many scholarships on offer for those who exhibit academic excellence during their Bachelor’s degree, and there are also funding options to consider. These are worth researching fully before forging ahead, as they can help you better afford your postgraduate study in the UK. 

Completing your Master’s application

Unlike undergraduate study, not all UK Master’s applications are handled by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS.) For your Master’s degree it is possible to apply directly to your chosen university / college. 

When completing your UK Master’s application, you will need the following documents: 

  • Birth certificate

  • Passport and/or national ID card 

  • Evidence of your English language skills (IELTs certificate)

  • Academic transcripts 

  • Reference letters 

  • Copies of your degree certificate(s) 

All document copies will need to be provided by a professional authority to guarantee their authenticity. In some cases, Universities may ask for additional supporting information on a case-by-case basis. 

Top tips for your Master’s application

All university education in the UK is competitive, and therefore you need to do as much as possible to produce a compelling UK Master’s application. Here are some top tips to maximise your chances of success: 

  1. Start as early as possible 

The clichéd advice is often the best: the early bird catches the worm. Starting your Master’s application as early as possible will maximise your opportunity to research thoroughly and prepare. Leaving these things to the last minute never bodes well. 

  1. Check deadlines 

As simple as it sounds, ensuring that your Master’s application is submitted on time is vital. Be sure to research the application deadlines for your chosen school(s) well in advance, and prepare your application ahead of time. 

  1. Write a compelling personal statement

A strong academic transcript might be a fundamental component of a successful UK Master’s application, but so too is a compelling personal statement. In your personal statement, you should focus 80% on your academic background, including any super-curricular activities, and 20% on extra-curricular and other information. This should be a narrative that supports your decision to apply for your chosen course and the institution specifically. 

  1. Complete super-curricular activities 

While we are all familiar with extracurricular activities, super-curricular activities are often the lesser-explored. These are the activities that take place outside of the classroom that increase your depth of knowledge in your chosen academic discipline. Learn more about our pre-Master’s and Research courses to build super-curricular experience in your field of study. 

The benefits of postgraduate study in the UK by far outweigh the stresses of the Master’s application process, and once accepted, a world of new opportunities awaits you. We hope that this article will help you to succeed in your Master’s application. 

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