Applying for a master’s degree is a stressful process and sometimes it can seem impossible.  However, don’t be dismayed we’ve got some advice that can help you get started and make your application a little bit easier as you prepare to apply for your chosen MA.

What Do You Need When Applying?

Every master’s degree course will require different things from its applicants, whether it’s a portfolio of work or evidence of real-world experience in the workplace (this is especially true for more practical courses).  Work experience can also give you an extra edge if you and several applicants have similar grades, setting you apart from everyone else.   Most university courses will also have application guidelines that you can read through when you start the process of applying, so you know exactly what each course is looking for and can tailor your application to better match their expectations.

Do You Want a Course that is Taught or Research-Based?

While your undergraduate degree was probably a taught course, master’s degrees can be taught or research-based, and it’s important to know which one is best for your when you’re applying as the structures are different.  A taught master’s degree is fairly similar in structure to undergraduate degrees in that you have a timetable with scheduled seminars, lectures, and other events that you attend in order to complete modules.  All your work is done independently, but you have course leaders to guide you through it.  A research master’s on the other hand will have fewer timetabled events to attend and will focus on longer projects based on your own research.  You will still have support from your professors but overall the course is more independent.

Are You Going to Study Full-time or Part-time?

Another aspect that is important to consider when you’re applying for courses is whether you plan to study part-time or full-time.  A full-time master’s degree is usually completed in a single year while part-time degrees will take two possibly even three years to complete.  This means that a full-time course is more intensive, but you earn your degree quicker; on the other hand, part-time courses take longer, but allow you to work or fulfil other commitments alongside your studying.  Plus, while part-time courses are more flexible, weekends are no longer off limits and you may be required to attend lectures etc. on Saturdays and/or Sundays.

What Makes a Good Personal Statement?

When applying for a master’s degree your personal statement is important, it’s a chance for you to really emphasise your achievements and allow your personality to come through.  It can be hard to talk about the things you’re good at as it can feel like you’re boasting, but don’t let that put you off.  You need to lay out everything you’ve done and explain why these experiences make you a great fit for the course. This includes any extra-curriculars or volunteering, don’t sell yourself short!  Once you’ve done all that don’t forget to check and double check your spelling and grammar, it could be really embarrassing if the admissions team find typos in your work!

What Do You Want Out of the Master’s Degree?

Talking of personal statements, that is the section of the application where you should talk about your aspirations and you motivations for doing a master’s degree.  It’s perfectly fine if you don’t know exactly what you want to do after graduating, but make sure to talk about why you’re applying, even if it’s as simple as being interested in a certain topic and wanting to know more about it.  If you don’t outline your motivations you might end up giving the impression that you’re just applying for the sake of it and that’s the last thing you want.

The trick to any application is to stay calm and work through everything you need to do knowing that you are working to the best of your ability.  There’s plenty of help available if you know where to look.