University of Portsmouth Featured Masters Courses
Swansea University Featured Masters Courses

 by Mark Bennett
, posted on 8 Jun '20

What You Need to Apply for a Masters Right Now

It's no secret that some of the biggest impact of the coronavirus will be faced by university leavers looking for graduate recruitment schemes and other job opportunities. In these circumstances, staying on at uni for a Masters may start to feel like a much more attractive prospect.

There's a lot to be said for spending another year improving your skills and knowledge whilst the economy (hopefully) improves, and student finance will soon be available to help you do that.

So, what do you need to apply for a Masters in time for next year? There are four main requirements, and they're simpler than you probably think:

#1 A relevant first degree

But not necessarily a first-class degree.

In fact, the relevance of your first degree matters more than whether or not you got a first, particularly if you're applying 'late'. You don't want to have to spend ages convincing an admissions tutor that your BSc in Physics really is suitable preparation for their MA in Moral Philosophy. Because, let's be honest, it probably isn't.

Sure, you'll probably have an easier time getting accepted with a 2.1 than you would with a 2.2 or below, but it's perfectly possible to go on to a Masters with a 3rd, provided you can convince the university you have what it takes to see the course through. Speaking of which. . .

#2 An obvious interest in the course

It's not rocket science – unless it actually is, in which case you should probably look really interested in rocket science (shouldn't be too hard).

Whatever subject you are studying, you don't need to prove that you're a total genius who's already written their dissertation and should basically already be starting a PhD right now to be totally honest.

The application requirements for a Masters are designed to make sure you're ready to start a course, not finish one in your sleep. You'll need:

  • Your personal statement should make a strong case for your interest in a course (and following our tips will make writing one a lot quicker)
  • References are also valuable – a former tutor is ideal, even better if they can say stuff like: 'Yes! Charlotte has always been very interested in digital marketing; this really came through in her undergraduate dissertation, which I enjoyed supervising.'
  • Having some idea of your postgrad dissertation topic might also help, as this proves you've really thought about the course and what you'd personally like to do on it

Basically, show that you care. There are thousands of Masters listed on our website alone. Whichever one you pick, make sure it's obvious why.

#3 Some idea of how you're going to fund it

Undergraduate funding is pretty much guaranteed for UK and EU students, at least so far as fees are concerned. Postgrad funding is a little bit more complicated as, in most cases, student loans aren't tied to fees.

The chances are that a postgrad loan will still get you most of the way, but a university may well ask about your broader funding plans (they want to make sure you can afford to take up the place they offer you).

The good news is that you don't necessarily need to show a complete postgrad funding plan: you just need to sound like you've put some thought in and have worked through the process of costing and funding a Masters.

The other good news is that this could also be an opportunity to ask the university about their funding opportunities (they probably do have some).

#4 A bit of persistance

So, the thing with postgrad applications is that there's usually no UCAS (there is a UCAS Postgraduate, but only 12 universities use it). Instead, the vast majority of students just apply directly to universities for Masters degrees.

This frees you from a lot of hassle with deadlines (and fees) but it does mean you may need to nudge things along, particularly if you're applying late in 'the cycle'. There's nothing wrong with doing that, provided you do it politely.

Next steps and further questions

With the right degree and right attitude there's absolutely no reason why you can't apply for a Masters starting in 2020. Courses are still running and universities are working hard to ensure they offer a safe and fulfilling learning environment.

If you do have any questions about how things are going to work next year, or want to hear a bit more about the funding and application process, 'come along' to our virtual postgraduate study fair on the 22 June. The FindAMasters team will answer your questions about postgrad study in general and representatives from over 60 universities will answer your questions about their courses. All for free.

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