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UCAS Postgraduate & Postgraduate Applications

UCAS PostgraduateIf you are planning to undertake postgraduate studies one of the big questions you will probably have is how do you actually apply for your course? As a wannabe undergraduate student in the UK, the application process is made very simple and all kept under the umbrella of UCAS. UCAS collated your application information including your top five choices and personal statement, sent them off to the universities for you and even let you know if you’d achieved your first choice on A Level results day…

But who is there to help would-be postgraduate students

Where to start

As you have probably realised by now, postgraduate applications in the UK are rather different from undergraduate applications in the UK. You don’t apply for five different postgraduate courses on the same form at the same time using a ‘one size fits all’ personal statement and then narrow it down to the best two based on offer grades, location, modules, etc. Instead you can apply directly to the individual universities tailor-making each personal statement to the course, admissions officer, leading academic, department, faculty and university. 


Apply directly to the university

All UK universities offering postgraduate programs will have a comprehensive section on the postgraduate course application process for applying for a masters degree or applying for a PhD – like this one on The University of Edinburgh website. The individual universities will offer advice on all postgraduate application essentials, including crafting the perfect personal statement and their reference requirements. Each university's postgraduate course application form will also contain useful advice to guide you through the process.

And once your direct application has been submitted you should be able to keep track of its progress through a university portal or hub. And don’t panic if for some reason you are unable to submit an application online as the university will almost certainly have a facility to allow you to submit an application by post – so get in touch with the university’s admissions department directly if this is the case for you.

Postgraduate university applications

What other options are there?

Some UK universities are signed up to the UCAS Postgraduate service, a service provided by UCAS that potential postgraduate students can use to apply for some postgraduate courses. This service doesn’t cover all of the PG course and universities in the UK by any means, but by using the handy UCAS course search tool you can quickly find out if the course(s) that you’re interested in are covered by UCAS Postgraduate. Postgraduate program providers signed up to provide their details through this search tool and accept applications through UCAS Postgraduate include the University of Dundee, University of Westminster and Ravensbourne University London. If the course and university you want to study is listed then you can register an account with UCAS Postgraduate and start the application process.

UCAS postgraduate exceptions

However, applying through UCAS Postgraduate is not quite as simple as that because if you are applying for an MA or MSc in Social Work, Nursing or Medicine, an LLM accelerated program or a Teacher Training program in Scotland, UCAS states that you should use the UCAS Undergraduate application scheme. And if you want to use UCAS to apply to study for a postgraduate teacher training qualification in England or Wales, you’ll need to apply through UCAS Teacher Training.

How does UCAS Postgraduate help?

If you’ve navigated your way through the UCAS website and discovered that your postgraduate course is covered by UCAS Postgraduate, what do you do next? Well, once you’ve got your account up and running, UCAS will hold your hand through the whole application process in much the same way that it did when you were doing your undergraduate application to universities. As with your undergraduate application, the UCAS postgraduate application doesn’t have to be completed all at once – you can dip in and out, adding, changing and updating it as you go along, and helpful information is also available to help you complete each section.

Here is a step-by-step guide to the UCAS Postgraduate application process:

UCAS Postgraduate application

As you can see the UCAS Postgraduate Apply system is very similar to applying to the universities directly. As the majority of universities are not signed up to UCAS Postgraduate the easiest way to start your postgraduate application is probably to find the university's postgraduate application's page and see if you can apply directly.


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