Applying for a Masters in the UK? Everything you need to know

Oct 13, 2019

We’ve put this guide together for international students who have made the decision to study for their Masters in the UK. 

This guide will help you to gain a better understanding of postgraduate qualifications in the UK. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about studying in the UK. 

1: You can apply to as many Master’s courses as you like 

It is vital that you conduct in-depth research into the courses that you wish to study. 

Create a spreadsheet listing all the courses that you wish to apply for. 

You can apply to as many postgraduate degree courses as you wish when you are applying to do a Masters in the UK. 

It’s a good idea to submit more than one applications to “spread the risk”, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket. 

Bear in mind that some universities will have an application fee which will vary across institutions. 

As some will require you to pay a fee to submit your application, it is very important that you conduct thorough research to ensure that you meet the entry requirements. 

The fee will be stated on the websites for the universities you wish to apply for. 

To apply to do a Masters in the UK you will submit your application directly to the university.

The tuition fees for international students will usually be listed on the course pages. If you can’t find the information regarding the fees do not hesitate to contact the admissions department. 

2. You’ll need to meet the academic entry requirements 

Most of the Master’s degrees at the top universities in the UK will require that you have a 2:1 (upper second class) in your Bachelor’s degree.

This is equivalent to getting a 3.0 to 3.5 GPA score. 

Some universities will accept applications if you have lower academic grades and if you experienced mitigating circumstances they will take this into account if you inform them.

The admissions team will also take into account any relevant work experiences that you have gained. 

Undergraduate degree classifications in the UK 

1:1 (First class) 70% and above

2:1 (Upper second class) 60 – 69%

2:2 (Lower second class) 50-59% 

3 (Thrid class) below 49% 

You’ll need to work out what you got in your Bachelors, to see if you meet the entry requirements for a Masters in the UK. 

3. There are different types of Masters degree in the UK 

  •  Master of Arts MA 
  •  Master of Sciences MSc
  •  Master of Philosophy MPhil
  •  Masters of Research MRes
  • Masters of Business Administration MBA

There are also a number of other postgraduate qualifications such as a postgraduate certificate or a postgraduate diploma.  

4. There will be English Language requirements 

Applying for a masters in the UK

If you wish to study for your Masters in the UK, your course will be taught in English. 

Therefore, as well as meeting the academic requirements of your course, you will also need to meet the English language requirements. 

If English is not your first language, or if you’re not from a majority English speaking country, you’ll need to provide evidence of your English Language skills. 

You’ll be able to demonstrate evidence of your English Language skills if you have: 

  • Completed a minimum of twelve months of academic education in a majority English speaking country. 
  • Undertaken a minimum of eighteen months of work experience in the United Kingdom. 
  • Completed a English language certification. 

It is important that you check the English Language requirements for every university as the requirements will vary. 

There are a wide variety of English Language qualifications that you can take in order to prove your English language skills. Some examples include:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 
  • Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English

It is important to check the required scores required by the universities you are interested in applying to. 

5: You’ll need to submit a personal statement and your CV 

Your CV (resume) will outline your education and your academic history. 

It is important that you tailor your CV for the course that you are applying for. Ensure that your CV is 1-2 pages long. 

Your personal statement needs to convince the admissions team that you will excel on the course. 

It must also explain your motivations for deciding to pursue higher education. 

6: All universities will have different tuition fees. 

Master’s degrees are not capped at a specific price in the UK. 

Therefore, the tuition fees will vary across institutions and courses. 

You may find that the more prestigious universities have higher fees. 

Most universities offer scholarships, therefore, be sure to check with each of the universities you are interested in to see if you are eligible. 

7: You do not need to study a Masters in the same subject as your undergraduate degree. 

When applying for your Masters, it is a good idea to include your career plans in your personal statement. 

You do not need to do a Masters in the same subject as your undergraduate degree. 

For example, if you studied Geography for your undergraduate studies, you could study Accounting and Finance for your Masters. 

It is important that you demonstrate a genuine interest in the course that you are applying for. 

Students studying Masters degrees get the opportunity to specialise in an area of interest. 

Whilst studying for your Masters it is a good idea to also work on improving your employability skills. 

8: Masters courses usually last 1 year 

There are different modes of study for Masters degrees in the UK. 

You can either study full time for 1 year or part-time for 2 years. 

If you are studying for a PhD, MBA or a DBA, the course duration will be longer. 

We hope this guide comes in handy if you have decided to study in the UK. 

If you are still considering if a master’s degree is the right decision for you, read our post called: “should I do a master’s?

For some help to secure a job in the UK after you graduate, get in touch with our graduate coaches here at Graduate Coach. 

We offer one to one coaching to help you to find the right graduate-level career.

Useful videos if you are considering studying for your Masters in the UK

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