A strong masters personal statement is an essential part of your postgraduate application. It is your chance to convince admissions tutors that you are the right fit for the course and deserve a place in their programme.
In this comprehensive guide on how to write a personal statement for a master’s degree in the UK, we covered everything you need to know to write a successful postgraduate personal statement. Plus, real student examples.
We really understand how challenging and stressful can be to write a personal statement for a master. Let’s start.
What is a Masters Personal Statement?
A personal statement is a written type of essay that you submit as part of your postgraduate application. It is an opportunity to introduce yourself to the university and demonstrate to admissions tutors that you are a good fit for the course. Admission tutors need to choose among lots of applicants, essay can make a big difference in your postgraduate application.
How long should a personal statement be for masters?
You should aim to write a masters personal statement of around 500 words.
However, some universities may require more, often up to 1000 words. Hence, it is important to check the application guidelines before writing your statement for a specific university and course.
How should I structure my masters personal statement?
When it comes to writing your personal statement for masters or postgraduate, it’s important to have a clear and logical structure in mind.
Starting with a strong introduction that captures the reader’s attention and explains why you’re interested in the specific Masters programme you’re applying to.
Use the following paragraphs to discuss your academic and professional background, highlighting the skills, experience and knowledge that make you a strong fit for the programme. Emphasize how the course aligns with your future career goals.
Keep in mind that you have a limited word count, so make every sentence count. Use short, concise paragraphs that are easy to read and understand.
In your personal statement conclusion, summarise why you’re the ideal candidate for the programme and leave the admission tutors with a good impression.
Keep it short and to the point.
Aim for a total of four or five paragraphs in your personal statement for master degree.
When applying for a Masters degree, use standard fonts and text size of 11 or 12. If you’re applying through UCAS postgraduate service, font style won’t be an issue as text is automatically formatted.
Question to ask before writing
Consider asking yourself the following questions before writing your personal statement for master’s degree:
- What inspired you to choose this specific Masters’s programme?
- What aspect of the subject matter excites you?
- How did your undergraduate studies shape your decision to apply for this programme or university?
- Do you have any relevant work experience that can strengthen your postgraduate application?
- What personal experiences can you share that align with your decision to apply to this programme?
- What accomplishments can you highlight that demonstrate your qualifications for this course?
- Why did you choose to apply to this university in particular?
- What are your future career goals?
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What should I include in a personal statement for masters?
When writing your personal statement for masters degree, it is important to tailor it to the postgraduate course you are applying for.
Some general guidance on what you should include in your personal statement for masters:
Your reasons for applying for a particular postgraduate programme and why you deserve a place above other applicants. Write about your academic interests, career goals and the university’s reputation, and write about which aspects of the specific course you find most appealing.
Address how undergraduate study has prepared you for a postgraduate course, mentioning your independent work (e.g. dissertation) and topics that most interested you.
Highlight relevant skills and experience that will enable you to make an impact on the specific course, summarising your abilities in core areas including organisation, communication, time management, and critical thinking.
You can also cover any grades, include awards, work placements, extra readings, or conferences that you’ve attended and how these have contributed to your Master’s study.
Explain your career aspirations and how the course will help you achieve them. Describe how studying your chosen course fits in with your long-term ambitions and career path.
Tie in your undergraduate studies – for example, if you did your dissertation on something and you’d like to expand on it in your master’s. Trying to link the two together is distinct from the undergraduate personal statement.Shona Barrie – Director Of Admissions, University Of Stirling
How to start a personal statement for a master?
At the start of your personal statement for a Masters’s programme, it’s important to make a strong and lasting first impression. Admissions tutors read hundreds of applications per course, so you want to make sure that your opening sentence is concise, clear, and impactful.
Instead of trying to come up with a catchy opening, focus on getting straight to the point and highlighting your qualifications for the course. Avoid over-the-top statements, gimmicks, or popular quotes as they can come across as contrived and make it harder for admissions tutors to take you seriously.
Here are a few examples of strong opening sentences to consider:
“With a background in Environmental Science and a passion for sustainable energy solutions, I am excited to apply for the Masters programme in Renewable Energy at your university.”
“As someone who has always been interested in the field of Artificial Intelligence and has gained experience in coding and machine learning, I am eager to further my studies in the Masters program in AI at your university.”
“Through my undergraduate studies in Psychology and my professional experience as a mental health counsellor, I have developed a strong interest in neuropsychology. That’s why I am excited to apply for the Masters course in Clinical Neuropsychology at your university.”
In each of these examples, you can see that the students are specific about their backgrounds, interests, and experiences, and how they align with the postgraduate programme they are applying to.
How to end a personal statement for masters
When it comes to ending your personal statement for a Masters application, it’s important to impress university admissions tutors.
Your conclusion in the master’s personal statement should be short, and to the point, and leave no doubt in the mind of the admissions tutor that you are the perfect candidate for the course.
One way to do this is by summarising your key points and highlighting how they demonstrate your qualifications for the programme. Keep it concise and avoid repeating yourself or going off-topic.
Instead, focus on making it clear why you would be a good student at the university.
To give you an idea of what a strong conclusion can include, we wrote a few examples:
“With my background in X and passion for Y, I am confident that I would thrive in the Masters programme at your university. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the department’s research and further my professional growth.”
“I am eager to bring my experience in X and my interest in Y to the postgraduate course at your university. The opportunity to learn from and collaborate with esteemed faculty members is truly exciting for me.”
“As someone who has always been passionate about Y and driven to make a difference in the field of Y, I am confident that the X course at your university is the perfect fit for me. I look forward to the opportunity to grow as a professional and make an impact.”
Work Experience in a personal statement for masters
Including your professional experiences in your masters personal statement can provide valuable insights into your interests and understanding of your chosen area of study.
This is especially crucial when applying for postgraduate courses, as it demonstrates your proactivity and dedication to your future academic or career goals, which universities look for in postgrad applicants.
Instead of simply listing your work experiences, it’s important to reflect on them.
Share with admission tutors not only what you did on your job but also what you learned from it and how you plan to apply those lessons in your postgraduate studies.
This highlights your ability to reflect and learn from your experiences, which is an essential skill for postgraduate students to have.
What should you avoid in a personal statement for Masters?
When writing your personal statement for a Masters courses, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid and ensure it stands out and increases your chances of being accepted to the study programme.
- Be original: Avoid using quotes in your statement, instead use your own words and voice. This will make your essay unique and more personal.
- Avoid clichés: To make your statement stand out, avoid using templates or commonly used phrases. Instead, use your own words to express yourself.
- Keep it concise: Keep your statement to around a single page and make sure it is relevant to the programmes you are applying for.
- Be selective: Only include hobbies or experiences that are relevant to the courses you are applying for and explain why they are important to you.
- Show, don’t tell: Instead of saying you’re passionate about the subject, show it through your words and experiences.
- Tailor it: Make sure to tailor your personal statement for each programme you are applying for.
- Avoid lists: Instead of listing your qualifications, explain how they make you a strong candidate for the masters programme.
- Proofread: Before submitting your application, make sure to proofread your personal statement for any errors or typos, and double-check that it is for the correct programme and university. It is always a good idea to get help from professionals, to check grammar and proofreading.
By following our guidelines on what to avoid, you can ensure that your personal statement is clear, concise, and tailored to the programme you’re applying for. Increasing your chances of being accepted.
Difference between personal statements for postgraduate and undergraduate
A personal statement for postgraduate study and one for undergraduate study are similar in that they both serve as a way for you to introduce yourself and demonstrate your qualifications, but there are some key differences to keep in mind when writing each.
For postgraduate study, personal statements tend to be more specific and targeted. Instead of providing a broad overview of your interests and experiences, you should focus on how your background, skills, and goals align with the specific courses and field of study you’re applying to.
This requires you to do more research on the programme and its entry requirements, and you should highlight how you will be able to contribute to the university and chosen programme.
Postgraduate personal statements require a more detailed explanation of your academic and professional experience. This could include discussing your previous coursework, research experience, and any relevant work or internship experience, and how they have prepared you for masters study.
Also, you will need to mention in a postgraduate personal statement your long-term goals and career aspirations in more detail. This will give the admissions tutors a sense of how you plan to use the learnings from the programme to achieve your career goals.
Lastly, master’s personal statements tend to be shorter than undergraduate ones, usually around 500 words. It is assumed that as postgraduate students have more academic and professional experience, they do not need as much space to prove their worthiness.
While a personal statement for undergraduate study can be more broad and general, a personal statement for postgraduate study should be more focused, specific, and tailored to the course you’re applying for.
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Masters personal statement example
I am eager to pursue a Master’s Degree in Finance as I believe it aligns perfectly with my career goals. The programme’s academic rigour and focus on corporate finance, coupled with its practical relevance to the current industry, make it the ideal choice for me. My background in the financial services industry, combined with my undergraduate studies in Electronics and Communications Engineering and my postgraduate diploma in Marketing and Finance, have prepared me well for this next step in my education.
I have a strong passion for problem-solving, mathematics, and analytical thinking, and I am eager to apply these skills within the field of finance. I believe that a Master’s Degree in Finance from your esteemed university will provide me with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical experience to excel in the industry. I am particularly interested in gaining an in-depth understanding of current techniques and developments in finance, financial applications, and financial markets, as well as honing my research skills.
My ultimate goal is to secure a challenging and rewarding role within the finance profession. I understand that there is still much for me to learn, but I am excited to embrace new challenges and become a valuable contributor to the field. I am confident that this program will provide me with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve my career goals.
Read other personal statement examples.
Research Course You’re Applying
It’s essential to research the programme and demonstrate your understanding of the field you are entering. This will show the admissions tutors that you are well prepared for the course and have a clear vision for your future research, study and goals.
One way to present your familiarity with the field is by mentioning specific scholars and researchers who work in the department.
You can find this information on the university’s website, and by reviewing the research interests and publications of the faculty members.
By aligning your interests with those of the faculty members, you can show that your research will fit well within the department and that you have a clear understanding of the master’s degree programme.
It’s also important to avoid generic statements such as applying to the school because it is the highest ranking or because you love the city where it is located.
If you have already contacted a professor or faculty member in the department, make sure to mention it in your personal statement. This will show that you have taken the initiative to learn more about the programme and that you are eager to work with the department’s faculty.
What admissions tutors are looking for a master’s application?
One of the main things that admissions tutors are looking for is an explanation of how the course links your past and future. They want to see that you have a clear understanding of how the programme aligns with your interests, goals, and career aspirations.
This can be demonstrated through your academic and non-academic experiences, as well as your skills, commitments, and enthusiasm for the field – we already discussed this in detail in previous parts of this guide.
Admissions tutors also want to see that you have a solid understanding of the institution’s area of expertise. This means showing that you have done your research on the university’s research focus and facilities, and how they align with your research interests.
Other than that, they want to see evidence of your knowledge and genuine interest in the subject, perhaps including some academic references or readings.
Another key element that admissions tutors are looking for is evidence of your abilities, commitment, and enthusiasm.
Deadline For Postgraduate Applications
The deadline for postgraduate applications in the UK can vary depending on the university and programme to which you are applying.
Some universities may have a fixed deadline while others may have rolling deadlines. It is important to check the specific deadline for the universities and courses you are interested to study. The UCAS postgraduate deadline is usually around the end of March, however, it’s always a good idea to verify with the university you are applying for.
It is also worth noting that some universities may have an earlier deadline for international students or certain programmes, so it is important to check the deadline for your specific situation.
A strongly written personal statement is an essential part of your postgraduate application. It is your chance to demonstrate your academic interests, abilities and goals, and demonstrate that you are a good fit for the course.
Remember to tailor your statement to the course you are applying for, be concise, and focus on your strengths and how they align with the programme.
When it comes to applying for a Masters’s programme, the process is often different than that of undergraduate studies in the UK. Probably you will be submitting your application directly to the university. However, it is worth noting that UCAS Postgraduate, a service provided by UCAS, has a search tool for limited master’s programmes.
Most UK universities require a personal statement when applying to a masters degree programme. However, some universities instead have a predefined set of questions for applicants.
You can submit a personal statement to as many universities as you are applying to for your Masters degree.
No, but if you have any questions regarding university programmes for masters, you can contact the admission manager and discuss.