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Posted Aug. 18, 2019

How To Create A Masters Shortlist

Masters shortlistThere are so many masters degree courses to choose from so how do you go about narrowing down your options?

Postgraduate Course Search

One way is to create a shortlist of masters courses to apply to. But just how do you go about creating a masters shortlist and what should you initially be considering about a masters course?
Let’s take a look.


The content of the modules you select on the masters programs will reflect the interests and research work of the academic staff, so checking which modules will be available when you study is a vital part of your research.


How the modules are assessed will have an impact on how well you do in your masters program, and the method of testing might make a big difference to you. Do you thrive under the pressure of exams? Or do you perform better doing coursework? If you are studying full time, then you will most likely only have a year to make the best of your grades, so don't go in blind. 

Study Modes

Would an online course suit you better than attending lectures and having to move to another city or town? Perhaps a blended learning course of online and on campus classes would suit you. Or do you need to make the choice between full-time or part-time study? There is more than one way to study and you need to check which mode of study will suit you and your life the best.

Internships & Placements

When you are shortlisting masters courses you need to consider both the immediate future of the course as well as the more distant future of your career. Internships, work experience and work placements will all help you with both valuable experiences but also meeting people and networking. If you are thinking about a postgraduate course to further or start your career, then you should think hard about including courses that have work placements as part of the course. 


Going abroad for a masters course is an amazing experience, if you're able to, and will give you global contacts for your future career. However, you might find that the local university is both easier for you to attend and you will find that they have substantial contacts in the local community. If you know that you want to live your life in a particular town or city, then choosing a university there will help build your career there too. 


Formal rankings are helpful, but they all consider different elements of the course or university and some are more useful than others. If you find an independent ranking, then check the methodology and consider the ranking of the course you are shortlisting carefully. It’s important to also speak to those who are already working in the field you wish to enter to check the standing of the course and institution you are considering.

Department & Institution

Check what else the institution offers. Are there any extra-curricular activities that you would love to be part of? Does the department you are applying to have any societies related to your course? What kind of support systems are in place that you might need to take advantage of and are they well reviewed? 

International students’ top 5 reasons for picking their course

Here’s a table illustrating the top five reasons international students in the UK give for choosing their postgraduate program.

Masters shortlist table

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