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Finding and Applying for a Master's

Discover how to find a Master's course that suits you and get advice on your application.

Finding a Master's

Undertaking further study can be time consuming and expensive, so it's important to do your research. We’ve included resources here to help research Master’s courses.

Finding the right Master's for you

You might want to find out answers to the following questions when doing your research.

Questions about the course:

  • what are the entry requirements?
  • how long has the course been running?
  • which institutions offer the course?
  • how is it delivered? Full-time, part-time, distance learning?
  • what is the teaching style on the course?
  • will you be able to cope with the academic demands of the course?
  • how much flexibility is there of module choice/research topic?

Questions about the institution:

  • what facilities are available?
  • who will be delivering/supervising the programme?
  • is accommodation available for postgraduates?

Questions about your career prospects:

  • what have past students from the course gone on to do?
  • how is the course viewed by employers?
  • is it accredited by a professional body? eg NCTJ for journalism courses, CIPD for human resources, RIBA for architecture

Questions about funding:

  • how will I fund the course?
  • how can I apply for funding?

Questions about location:

  • am I comfortable here?
  • are there many opportunities for part-time work to help support my studies?
  • what is the cost of living (rent, transport, etc) like in this area?
Where to find a Master's

The following websites list Master’s courses. They also provide further information about postgraduate study:

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

The following websites list MBA programmes:

More information

There are other resources that can help you research courses and institutions. These include study fairs, graduate destination data and comparison data.

Postgraduate study fairs and open days

Visiting universities is often a good way to find out if you are going to be comfortable studying there. It's also a good chance to explore the surrounding area.

Prospects universities and departments has open day information or contact details where you can find out about these.

Newcastle University
  • Explore your options at Newcastle by attending one of our Postgraduate Open Days
  • Learning providers often attend recruitment organised by the Careers Service.

National Student Survey and graduate destination information

Compare institutions using data obtained through the annual National Student Survey (NSS). NSS results are publicly available on the Discover Uni undergraduate course search.

Visit the website of the institution you're interested in to view their destination data. They should give you employment and study data for graduates from different degrees.

For examples of what Newcastle University graduates do after their studies, you can browse our NCL Graduate Employment Outcomes directory.

The data is from graduates finishing between 2017-2020 who completed HESA’s annual Graduate Outcomes survey.

It shows records of employment, including full-time, part-time and self-employed work.

You can explore the information by school and individual course. To protect graduates’ confidentiality, we can’t provide course data where the sample size is too small.

Comparison data

You might also want to look at comparison data when finding your Master's.

University league tables can be a useful point of reference. However, it is unwise to base your choice of course or institution solely on this kind of data. The methods used to create each league table differ, so take care when drawing conclusions.

These are some of some of the main university league tables:

Who to talk to about doing a Master’s

The following people can be helpful when you are decision making:

  • the course provider. This could be recruitment or admissions staff, or the programme leader. They should be able to answer many of the questions you might have
  • current students or graduates from the course. The institution will usually put you in touch
  • employers you're interested in working for. How do they view the course?
  • you could also talk things through with friends, family, or your personal tutor.

If you're deciding if a particular course is right for you, it might help to talk with a careers consultant.

Applying for a Master's

Find information on when and how to apply for a Master's. We also have advice on writing a personal statement.

When to apply

Applying early gives you the best chance of securing a place and any available funding. During the autumn term (or about 12 months before planning to start your course) is an ideal time to start.

You might make a late decision to pursue postgrad study. If so, make direct enquiries to the institution to see if places/funding are still available.

There are no official closing dates for applications to most postgrad courses. There are however, often cut-off points by which you must apply for any available funding.

Some popular vocational courses have application deadlines in the year preceding entry. This is to allow time for interviews and assessment to take place.

If you are unsure about a course deadline, check the website for the course/institution. For specific queries contact admissions departments.

We've listed some deadlines for applying to some specific vocational courses below.

Specific deadlines

  • medicine, dentistry, veterinary science: 15 October
  • social work and nursing: by UCAS 'early application' deadline (usually in January)
  • music performance: 1 October
  • most dance, drama and screen production courses have a 15 January deadline. Check the conservatoires' websites for details.
How to apply

Applications for most postgraduate courses are made to the course provider. This is different to undergraduate entry. There are a few exceptions. Some are listed in the Vocational courses section below.

Details of how to apply should be available on the institution's website.

Check the application process for each institution.

Applications are usually made by completing the institution's own online application form. You might have to submit a and (more common for research places).

Informal enquiries about research degrees are usually encouraged before applying.

Vocational courses

Central admissions services also handle applications for several vocational courses, including:

  • - applications for postgraduate teacher training. These include PGCE, School Direct and SCITT. For a full guide see our Applying for Teaching section
  • UCAS - manage applications for MA/MSc courses in social work, nursing, medicine. They also manage LLB accelerated courses and Physician Associate courses. These are in the UCAS undergraduate section. UCAS also manages applications for UK conservatoires. These are usually practice-based music, dance, and drama courses
  • LawCAB - for full-time graduate law courses (LPC, GDL and SQE and the Costs Lawyer Professional Qualification). Part-time applications are normally made to the institution offering the course
  • Clearing House deals with applications for postgraduate courses in clinical psychology
Completing your application

Writing applications for further study is like completing job applications. You need to show relevant skills, experience and knowledge. You also need to show motivation and commitment to the course.

Personal statement

Your personal statement is a vital part of your application. It should be relevant, focused and well structured. This will create a positive first impression

Don't use the same personal statement for each application. Find out what is relevant for each course and institution. Spend time on on each individual application.

Think about the following questions:

Why you have chosen a particular course or research
  • how did you decide on this subject?
  • what has influenced your choice?
  • have certain people influenced you?
  • what did you do to find out more about it?
How your academic experience relates to the area you want to study or research

Show how your academic experience is relevant:

  • do you have knowledge gained through a module, dissertation or project?
  • how well did you perform in relevant modules?
  • have you had any scholarships awarded?
  • do you have relevant technical or scientific skills?
Non-academic experience

Consider your non-academic experience and how it may be relevant:

  • have you done voluntary or paid work in a related area?
  • do you have a personal interest in the subject?
  • are you involved in related extracurricular activities?
Relevant personal skills

Show that you have considered the demands of postgraduate study. Give details where you have:

  • carried out independent work
  • used effective communication (written and oral)
  • met tight deadlines
  • managed your time
  • shown resilience and determination

Think about demonstrating other skills specific to your chosen course or research area. Remember to give evidence. Don't just say you have a particular skill - prove it.

Why you have chosen a particular university

Think about the following questions:

  • are there certain academic staff you want to work with?
  • do they specialise in certain research areas that interest you?
  • does the structure of the course attract you?
  • does the university have a good teaching or research record?

Try not to just repeat what you have read on the university website.

Your career goals

It's not essential to have a definite plan or goal. It is important to show that you have considered your options and how this course will further these.

Presenting your statement


Your statement needs to have a definite structure. This includes an introduction, main body and ending.


  • the introduction is important. It should interest the reader immediately and lead into the main section
  • the main section could contain information on your experience, knowledge and interest
  • your conclusion should sum up your evidence and reasons for application
  • your information should relevant to the course/research area and the university

Make sure:

  • your statement is grammatically correct and has no spelling mistakes
  • you keep language simple and clear to ensure your statement is easy to read
  • you’ve used a positive and engaging writing style to show your interest in the subject


Application forms often ask you to state how you plan to finance your course. Admissions departments use this information. They want to assess how many applicants are competing for funding. If funding isn't available through the department, you should state your most likely source of funding. You don't have to have a definite source at this stage.

For more information on financing postgraduate study, see .


Tips when choosing referees:

  • consider who would be the best people to ask to be your your referees. Good academic references to support your application are often critical to selection. For example, it might not be a good idea to ask your personal tutor if you've only met with them once or twice. Think about approaching other members of staff who might know you better. Your dissertation or project supervisor might be a better option
  • if you are taking a vocational course, it might be more appropriate to choose a past employer as a referee
  • seek permission before adding details of referees to your application
  • involve your referees in the process by sending them a copy of your application or CV. They can refer to this before writing your reference
More information

The following resources offer more information on writing a personal statement.

We can give you feedback on your personal statement.

Video: How to write a personal statement for PG study