Applying for a Postgraduate Masters Course

How to apply for a masters degree?

We often get asked questions about how to apply for postgraduate masters course, such as ‘do I need a cover letter?’, so we have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions below, which we hope you will find helpful.

Is there a central single application system for postgraduate Masters courses in the UK?

No, there is no central applications portal for masters courses in the UK – you will need to apply to each University separately and each application differs. Completing applications online makes the process quicker.

Once I’ve applied, when will I hear about the results of my course application?

This can vary quite a lot between universities. If you are using a particular university’s online portal to apply for your course, you are likely to get an automatic application acknowledgement. You may also be able to check on your application status using the portal.

Some universities respond very quickly and will give you a decision about your application in around 7 days, sometimes three to four weeks. Applicants receive an email acknowledgement by email. Selection depends on the time of year that you apply for a masters course.

Universities have rigorous application processes for masters courses. This requires a number of people within the university to review each individual application. Longer than six weeks is unusual. You may also find it helpful to check with the course admissions tutor or administrator.

Should I attend an open day?

We would always recommend attending a postgraduate open day, and these are all online at the moment. You can attend an open day either before or after you apply. Postgraduate open days are a great way of experiencing Universities. Meeting some of the staff, finding out practical information, and also meeting current students.

It's not always possible to meet students on the specific masters course you are thinking of applying for. Contact the University in advance of the open day you can find out if it will be possible. But even if that is not on offer, we would still recommend it as a way of getting an overall impression of where you may be going to study - and its also a great way of meeting other applicants, who you may then be on the course with.

If it is not possible for you to attend an open day, you could make an individual visit - we'd always suggest organising these in advance so they know you are coming and ensure the right people are there for you to see - if you turn up on spec this may not be possible. If you are not able to visit at all, have a look and see if the University is running an online open day or chat event that you can book on to. It's also worth looking at the departmental website to see if they are running something like this. There are lots of open days coming up and you can see many of them on our open days pages here.

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