How do I apply for a postgraduate course in the UK?

Foreign Students's picture

For most postgraduate programmes, you should apply directly to the institution. Most institutions don't have exact closing dates for postgraduate applications, but you should try and apply as early as possible. Most courses fill up quickly and the earlier you apply the more likely you are to get a place.

After you have sent your application form, some institutions will require you to go for an interview, whilst some will base their offer solely on your application. If getting to an interview in the UK is a problem for you, most universities offer the option of a telephone interview or one in your home country.

Some universities allow you to apply to postgraduate courses through UKPASS, a common application system.

How long do postgraduate courses take to complete?

Foreign Students's picture

This really depends on the course you decide to take. Postgraduate courses can range from few months, to 5 years. Some courses specific to careers can run for only 3 months but involve intensive work, whilst more academic 'Masters' courses usually last for one year but have fewer hours each week in lectures and seminars. Whilst studying for a Masters, students are expected to study far more on their own than at undergraduate level, particularly on their dissertation which they are expected to research and write almost completely on their own over the course of the year.

After completing a Masters, some students choose to continue even further with their education, by doing a PhD. These are the highest form of education in the UK and once completed, students are considered 'Doctors' of their subject. PhDs take about 3 years full time and 5 years part time, during which time students work almost entirely on their own, researching and writing a 'thesis', which is an original piece of writing in their field that is sometimes up to 100,000 words long.

What are the fees for postgraduate courses?

Foreign Students's picture

The massive range of postgraduate courses offered in the UK means that the fees vary hugely too. The type and length of course, the institution and where you are from all affect how much you pay.

For non-EU students, postgraduate full time Masters courses currently cost between £10,000 and £15,000 per year. However, there are quite a few that cost significantly more than £15,000. For example many Masters in Finance or Business can cost over £20,000 for one year's study.

Part time Masters courses are usually about half the cost of full time courses, ranging from about £5,000 to £7,500 per year for foreign students. For full time PhDs, international students pay an average of about £10,500 per year on fees, or about half that for part time PhD courses.

Starting in 2012, the fees for all students in the UK are increasing, and so postgraduate course costs are likely to as well. The details about postgraduate courses are a little confusing at the moment but as soon as new information on costs is revealed, we will let you know.

To help with the costs, there are a number of scholarships for international students hoping to study postgraduate courses in the UK. Have a look at our guides where you can find university scholarships and college scholarships.    

What qualifications do I need to apply for a postgraduate course?

Foreign Students's picture

You must have an undergraduate degree, or the equivalent, to study on a postgraduate course, though it really varies hugely depending on the course and institution. Check with the institution of your choice for what qualifications are required.

Where can I study a postgraduate course in the UK?

Foreign Students's picture

Postgraduate courses in the UK vary hugely as they range from vocational courses for specific careers (such as Journalism), to more general academic courses such as Maths. The course you choose will affect where you study it.

Vocational courses are often best studied at colleges that specialise in that subject, whilst academic postgraduate courses at universities often have a better reputation. For which ever course you choose you should keep your options open and research where would be best for you to study.

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