Getting a Masters degree is a perfect start for advancing your career and gaining expertise in a particular industry. Applying for a Masters degree takes time, dedication and effort. To prepare you for this process, this article will focus on the key admissions requirements you will need for your Masters degree application.
When applying for your Masters programme, an early application increases your chances of getting accepted, securing funding and getting suitable and affordable accommodation. Though many universities accept Masters applications throughout the year, some set specific deadlines for different course programmes.
How to Apply for Masters Degree Programme
Most universities have an online application system for their Masters degree programmes. This system typically allows you to start your application process, save your progress and complete it at a later date after uploading required documents.
In some other cases, however, applications for Masters programmes are processed by an external body. For example, in the UK, seven institutions use the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) Postgraduate to process applications for their Masters programme.
Masters Degree Application Requirements
After choosing your desired course programme, you should find out the university’s general requirements and specific entry requirements for that course. Admission requirements for Masters programmes vary by course and university.
Here are 7 key requirements you will need to provide when applying for your Masters degree programme:
One major requirement your prospective university will demand during your Masters application is proof of your academic qualification. Usually, official copies of academic transcripts are requested at this stage.
When applying to an English speaking university as an international student, your transcript should be translated to English if your undergraduate education wasn’t in English.
Academic transcripts provide details of the courses you studied during your undergraduate programme and their respective grades. This helps the admissions department decide if you have the educational background and skills to be the right candidate for the Masters programme in your application.
Some technical and specialized areas of study require a specific Bachelors degree or prerequisite course(s) to be completed before applying for a Masters degree.
Your personal statement is a major part of your Masters degree application. Your personal statement should be a well written personalized essay highlighting your skills, academic qualifications and experience in a way that presents you as the right candidate for the programme in your application.
Your personal statement should be clearly structured highlighting who you are, your professional and academic journey, why you are interested in a particular programme and how that programme aligns with your future goals. To increase your chances of submitting an impressive personal statement for your application, start working on your personal statement early enough. This gives you enough time to proofread your essay.
Your personal statement should not be very long and should only include information that will be useful to your application. Some universities set a word limit for the personal statements they receive. If your university has a set limit, stick to it. If not, try to limit it to a page and a half at best.
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Some professional, creative and vocational programmes may require you have work experience before applying for a Masters degree. Your CV should include a detailed account of your work experiences, extracurricular activities and published academic papers that will be relevant to your application.
In some cases, universities are willing to consider applications that do not meet the standard academic qualification if the candidate has relevant work experience.
If you have work experience in the same industry as your desired programme, it will show your interest in the study programme and also that you have relevant industry skills needed for your programme.
When applying for your Masters degree programme, you will need to provide contact details of at least two referees who can vouch for your skills and ability to succeed in the programme you are applying for. The admissions board will rely on these references to back up your application and build a picture of each candidate during the selection process.
In most cases, you will be required to provide two academic references. However, some institutions may allow you to submit references from a recent employer if your role there reflects skills relevant to your Masters degree programme.
When including referees in your application, choose lecturers, professors and supervisors who know you well and can give a positive and personal recommendation regarding your suitability for the programme to boost your application. Ensure you inform whoever you want to include as a referee in advance to give them adequate notice to prepare your reference whenever the institution requests it.
You can also discuss your motivation and interest in the Masters programme with your referees to help them understand better what your aspirations for the programme are.
Proof of Language Proficiency
When applying for a Masters degree as an international student, you will need to prove that you are proficient in the language of instruction.
This is required at the application stage to assure the university that language will not be a barrier in your studies and that you can comprehend and communicate complex and difficult concepts in the language of instruction.
In cases where your Bachelors degree was taught in your prospective university’s language of instruction, this requirement will be waived during your application.
Universities in English speaking countries like UK, USA, Australia and Canada, typically specify a minimum score for applicants from certified language tests like TOEFL, IELTS and PTE to prove their level of proficiency in English.
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Your prospective university may require you to participate in an academic interview as a part of your application process. This interview stage is an excellent opportunity to express your interest and prove you’re a great fit for the programme.
Before your interview, do proper research on the university and your programme of choice. Prepare any questions you may have for the university, department or admissions board. Ensure you remember the content of your personal statement. Your interview should strengthen the points made in your personal statement.
The admissions board will want to know why you are interested in a particular programme at the university, your previous experience, relevant skills you have that will help your study programme and other concerns relating to your application.
Applications for Masters in subject areas like Arts, Design and Architecture will require you to provide evidence of your experience and skills in your desired field of study. This portfolio, containing your works, describes your creativity and shows your level of interest in the programme you applied for.
When creating your portfolio, you should include your best and most recent works along with any specific requirement your prospective university demands.
Again, admissions requirements for Masters programme will vary with the programme and university of choice. For example, some universities (and courses) require applicants to take subject-related tests like GMAT and GRE as a part of their application process. This is usually the case for specialized graduate programmes like MBA or some Engineering courses.
You should also know that you can apply to more than one university for your Masters to increase your chances of getting accepted. Nevertheless, limit your applications to two or three programmes per university and ensure you tailor each application to suit the particular programme you are applying for study.