Everything you need to know about applying for a master’s in the UK | Top Universities

Everything you need to know about applying for a master’s in the UK

By Chloe Lane

Updated May 4, 2021 Updated May 4, 2021

Sponsored by University of Reading

Studying a master’s in the UK is a fantastic opportunity to learn about a specialised subject at some of the top universities in the world – but there is also a lot of contradictory advice floating around about applying for a master’s in the UK.

There are currently 84 UK universities featured in the QS World University Rankings 2021, each offering a unique experience with dedicated lecturers, extensive facilities and useful resources – and the University of Reading is one of them.

To set things straight, we spoke to the Head of Admissions at the University of Reading, Kathryn Whittington, to uncover some hints and tips about applying for a master’s course at a UK university.

You will need a strong undergraduate degree or relevant work experience to apply

When applying for a master’s, UK universities are looking for a good undergraduate degree, preferably in a related or relevant subject, explained Whittington.

However, the specific grades and achievement levels required at each university might vary depending on the university and the course. Some universities may only consider students with high marks and some will be more flexible.

An undergraduate degree isn’t always a necessity, however. Whittington said: “If you don’t have an undergraduate degree but you have relevant experience then you may still be considered for a master’s”.

You may need to pass an English Language test

Another requirement to study a master’s in the UK is a strong basis of the English language. If you are applying from a country where English is not the main language, you may need to complete an English language qualification such as the IELTS or the TOEFL.

Whittington said: “Check which tests the universities accept and at what level. This can vary depending on the institution and the subjects.

“Normally subjects which are discursive and have a lot of essay writing will need higher English requirements than a subject like mathematics.

Some universities, such as the University of Reading offer pre-sessional English courses to provide extra support for students learning English.

Each university’s application process is different

The application process for a master’s degree in the UK varies massively from university to university.

“Unlike undergraduate study in the UK we don’t have a single organisation that manages the postgraduate application cycle so each university can do something a little different,” said Whittington.

As the application process differs so much between universities, the application deadlines may also be very different, Whittington explained. Check the websites of the universities you’re applying to for more information about their deadlines.

Some of the more selective universities will require you to apply very early in November, whereas others might keep applications open until the summer if they still have places available. Some may not even have a set deadline, but Whittington advises not leaving your application until the last minute.

She said: “It’s a good idea not to leave your application too late, as your course might fill up, so get your application in earlier.” This will also provide protection against any technical issues that may arise.

Once you’ve submitted your application, you should receive a confirmation email letting you know how long you’ll have to wait for decisions to be made.

Before putting someone down as a reference, ask them

Most universities will ask for references. These will usually be two academic references such as lecturers or tutors from your previous course. You may also want to include an employer as a reference.

Whittington said: “It’s really important that you check with the people you are going to nominate that they are happy to do so and can do so by any deadlines.

“I have spoken to a lot of academics who are surprised to get a reference request for somebody, and they can be a bit disgruntled by it!”

Universities have similar application systems for all subject areas

Although the application process might differ between universities, within a university the master’s application process is usually quite similar, regardless of the subject area you’re applying for.

However, the degree requirements are likely to differ between subjects. For example, to study mathematics at master’s level, you’ll need a mathematics undergraduate degree.

Humanities and social science subjects tend to accept a broader range of academic backgrounds “as long as applicants demonstrate genuine commitment to the subject,” explained Whittington.

It’s also worth noting that some courses that are linked to specific professions will require your undergraduate degree to be accredited.

For example, at the University of Reading, students will need to have an ARB validated undergraduate qualification to study a Master of Architecture (MArch) degree.

Some courses may require you to submit a portfolio, particularly more creative subjects like art. Others may require you to attend an interview.

Whittington said: “Very competitive courses can use interviews as a way to choose between equally qualified candidates. Some subjects which have accreditations must interview their applicants.

“Obviously the pandemic has changed the way a lot of universities work, so interviews are much more likely to be online now, which is really useful for overseas students.”

Supporting statements should be tailored for each institution

One of the big mistakes applicants often make is writing a generic supporting statement and using it in all of their applications.

Whittington said: “If you are applying to several institutions make sure your supporting statements have been tailored for each institution rather than using a generic approach.

“Explain why your background is ideally suited to the specific course that the institution is offering.

“If you are providing supporting statements or examples of work make sure they show you in your best light. Provide the best examples of relevant work.”

Emphasise relevant pre-existing experience in your application

Relevant industry experience can really help your master’s application stand out.

Whittington said: “At the University of Reading, we always welcome applications from applicants who have had a break from study or academia, or who are looking to undertake master’s study as a means of changing professional direction or boosting their pre-existing career.”

If your work experience is relevant to the course, Whittington said it is worth emphasising this on your application.

However, if the master’s you’re applying to is a completely different direction to your work experience or academic qualifications, you should instead focus on the transferrable skills you have gained.

There are funding options but be realistic about the costs of studying

Studying in the UK can be expensive, so it’s important to be realistic about the costs – particularly if you’re planning to self-fund. You’ll need to take into account your tuition fees and your living costs.

If you’re planning to work while studying, be aware of visa restrictions which will limit the hours you can work, said Whittington.

She warned against underestimating the amount of work involved in a master’s degree: “They are very focused qualifications, and you may not have the space in your timetable for a part time job.”

Students should also consider external funding available to them, such as scholarships and grants. Whittington said it’s important to keep an eye on deadlines as some scholarships – such as those offered at the University of Reading – require you to apply early and you may have to submit a personal statement or an example of your work.

Take care to prevent common mistakes

Whittington outlined some of the common mistakes you should avoid in a master’s application. These include:

  • Providing incorrect or incomplete information
  • Spelling mistakes, especially in names or email addresses
  • Not verifying that somebody is happy to act as a referee before submitting a supporting statement
  • Submitting incomplete applications without the full range of documentation requested
  • Using a personal statement that doesn’t relate to the actual course and university that you have submitted the application for

To avoid these mistakes, Whittington suggested reading through the information given carefully and asking questions if there’s something you don’t understand.

Lead image credit: University of Reading

This article was originally published in February 2021 . It was last updated in May 2021

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

Written by

A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. She enjoys writing articles about a wide range of topics for a student audience. 

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post

comment above our articles.

saved this article

saved this article

Posted By lilian nikky
Fri, 04/16/2021 - 20:23

Comment

My name is Lilian N.This is a very joyful day of my life because of the help Dr.saguru has rendered to me by helping me get my ex-husband back with his magic and love spell. I was married for 6 years and it was so terrible because my husband was really cheating on me and was seeking a divorce but when I came across Dr.saguru email on the internet on how he has helped so many people to get their ex back and help to fix the relationship. and make people be happy in their relationship. I explained my situation to him and then seek his help but to my surprise, he told me that he will help me with my case and here I am now celebrating because my Husband has change totally for good. He always wants to be by me and can not do anything g without my present. I am really enjoying my marriage, what a great celebration. I will keep on testifying on the internet because Dr.saguru is truly a real spell caster. DO YOU NEED HELP THEN CONTACT DOCTOR SAGURU NOW VIA EMAIL:[email protected] He is the only answer to your problem and make you feel happy in your relationship. and his also perfect in 
1 LOVE SPELL 
2 WIN EX BACK 
3 FRUIT OF THE WOMB 
4 PROMOTION SPELL 
5 PROTECTION SPELL 
6 BUSINESS SPELL 
7 GOOD JOB SPELL 
8 LOTTERY SPELL AND COURT CASE SPELL.

Posted By Mary Jean
Thu, 04/22/2021 - 15:13

Comment

My Name is Mary Jean; I want to share my great encounter with the great spell caster. Its happened When my Husband of eight years walked out of my life for the second time and I had a bad feeling that he was not going to come back to me. We were separated for about two years when I contacted Prophet Abulele. My mom told me that Prophet Abulele helped her lose a ton of weight and that they had love spells that could help me get my Husband back. I contacted him to help me bring back my Husband and I am happy now because my Husband ended up calling me 4 days later after Prophet Abulele have cast the spell, telling me that he needed me back in his life and asking if it was okay for me to come home. I have never seen this side of my husband before and I loved it! Our marriage is much stronger than it was before and I can’t thank Prophet Abulele enough for what he has done for me! I know there are a lot of people going through same problem but I will do you a favor by drooping his contact details because I know how it pains when you loss someone you ever love You can contact him via email; {[email protected]} and chat him on Telegram or Whats-app: +2349022406159. He can help you solve any of your problems.

Posted By Chelsea Marvin
Fri, 06/04/2021 - 05:14

Comment

Contact (Dr DAVID) at [email protected] if you want to get your Husband, Wife, Boyfriend and Girlfriend back now and regain your happiness directly on WhatsApp+2347040654140

Greetings everyone, I am CHELSEA MARVIN from the UK. I have just experienced the wonders of Dr. David's love spell that have been spread on the internet and worldwide, How he marvelously helped people all over the world to restore their marriage life and get back lost lovers, and also help to win the lottery. I contacted him after going through so many testimonies from different people about how he helped to bring ex lover back, i told him about my Boyfriend that abandoned me about 8 months ago, and left home with all I had.. Dr David only told me to smile and have a rest of mind. He will handle it all in just 24 hours, After the  second day my Boyfriend called me, i was just so shocked, i picked the call and couldn't believe my ears, he was really begging me to forgive him and making promises on the phone.. He came back home and also got me a new car just for him to prove his love for me. i was so happy and called Dr David and thanked him, he only told me to share the good news all over the world .. Well if you need an effective and real spell caster contact Dr David the (AWESOMESPELLCASTER)  i give you 100% guarantee that he will help you..  Via email: @[email protected] or WhatsApp him on +2347040654140 Website: http://awesomespelltemplem.website2.me
https://www.facebook.com/Awesomelovepelltemple
 https://awesomespelltemple.blogspot.com/
https://chelseamarvin.blogspot.com/

Posted By Emily Sarah
Thu, 06/10/2021 - 05:06

Comment

Get Your Husband or Boyfriend Back Now | "I suggest you read this..
I just got my husband back through the help of genuine love spell caster dr unity. My name is Emily Sarah am from Tx,USA. My husband left me for another woman, This was just 3 years of our marriage. The most painful thing is that I was pregnant with our second baby. I wanted him back. I did everything within my reach to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so badly because of the love I had for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to my friend and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back , I had no choice than to try it. I messaged the spell caster called dr unity, and he assured me there was no problem and that everything will be okay before 11 hours. He cast the spell and surprisingly 11 hours later my husband called me. I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that had happened He wanted me to return to him. He also said he loved me so much. I was so happy and went to him that was how we started living together happily again.thanks to dr unity . if you are here and your Lover is turning you down, or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact Dr.Unity for help now..Here his contact..WhatsApp him: +2348055361568 ,
Email him at: [email protected]
,Watch this YouTube channel to know how grateful I am https://youtube.com/shorts/rBPtBktMmtA?feature=share

Posted By Anny robert
Mon, 06/14/2021 - 00:56

Comment

I feel so blessed again in my marriage after PRIEST OSAS brought back my husband that separated with me for good 3 months. ANNY ROBERT by name from California. Even though I have mouths all over my body, it won't be enough to thank PRIEST OSAS for his help in my life. My husband separated with me for 3 months and has been in pain and agony without him. So, I searched for help everywhere but nothing worked out not until I meant PRIEST OSAS who I contacted online. I explained my situation to him and he promised that my husband will get back to me within 24 to 48 hours so that my heart still beats for him. I believed in him and he prepared a spell for me and my husband called me exactly when PRIEST OSAS said. He pleaded and said he needs me back and now we are living happily again for the past 9 months. Everyone out there reading my article that needs help should contact him... Email: [email protected] or WhatsApp him +2348151243832

Posted By Stephanie janet
Mon, 06/14/2021 - 11:45

Comment

My name is Stephanie Janet .This is a very joyful day of my life because of the help PRIEST OSAS has rendered to me by helping me get my ex husband back with his magic and love spell. i was married for 6 years and it was so terrible because my husband was really cheating on me and was seeking for a divorce but when i came across PRIEST OSAS email on the internet on how he help so many people to get their ex back and help fixing relationship and make people to be happy in their relationship. I explained my situation to him and then sought his help but to my greatest surprise he told me that he will help me with my case and here I am now celebrating because my Husband has changed totally for good. He always wants to be by me and can not do anything without my present. I am really enjoying my marriage, what a great celebration. I will keep on testifying on the internet because PRIEST OSAS  is truly a real spell caster. DO YOU NEED HELP THEN CONTACT PRIEST OSAS NOW VIA EMAIL:[email protected] or call WhatsApp (+2348151243832)  He is the only answer to your problem and make you feel happy in your relationship
VIA PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/Unsurpassed.solution1

Posted By Stephanie janet
Thu, 06/17/2021 - 14:23

Comment

My name is Stephanie Janet .This is a very joyful day of my life because of the help PRIEST OSAS has rendered to me by helping me get my ex husband back with his magic and love spell. i was married for 6 years and it was so terrible because my husband was really cheating on me and was seeking for a divorce but when i came across PRIEST OSAS email on the internet on how he help so many people to get their ex back and help fixing relationship and make people to be happy in their relationship. I explained my situation to him and then sought his help but to my greatest surprise he told me that he will help me with my case and here I am now celebrating because my Husband has changed totally for good. He always wants to be by me and can not do anything without my present. I am really enjoying my marriage, what a great celebration. I will keep on testifying on the internet because PRIEST OSAS  is truly a real spell caster. DO YOU NEED HELP THEN CONTACT PRIEST OSAS NOW VIA EMAIL:[email protected] or call WhatsApp (+2348151243832)  He is the only answer to your problem and make you feel happy in your relationship
VIA PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/Unsurpassed.solution1

Posted By Roxana Bush
Mon, 06/21/2021 - 05:22

Comment

This is a testimony that I will tell to every one to hear. I have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until I met a post where this man DR OLOKUM have helped someone and I decided to give him a try to help me bring my lover back home and believe me I just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, I saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why I am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self. His email:[email protected]

Posted By Jessica Smith
Mon, 06/21/2021 - 20:24

Comment

After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don’t believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: [email protected] or WhatsApp him +15068001647 blog: spiritualherbal.blogspot.com you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

Monthly updates
QS Community
QS Community

Get the latest student and graduate news straight to your inbox.

Sign me up
Course Matching Tool
Course Matching Tool
Course Matching Tool

Use our tool to find your perfect course. Answer a few questions and we will do the rest!

Start Matching
QS Leap
Test Preparations
Test Preparations

Free test prep platform with practice questions and more.

Start Now