Personal Statement for Postgraduate Study

A very commonly requested document for taught postgraduate courses is the Personal Statement in which you show strong motivations for applying to the course and will have to provide evidence that you have the ability to . Here are a few tips for producing an effective Personal Statement:

  • Follow the instructions carefully. If you are given a word or character limit then you must stick to it. Typically this is 1 or 2 pages long. Some course providers specify just one page which is long enough to give a detailed, succinct and convincing statement.
  • Get your application in as early as you can. Some courses have a closing date whilst others just keep receiving applications until all places are full. Popular programmes may fill up months before the course starts so you should start working on your application early so that you don’t rush it. It may take a few drafts to get it right and perhaps feedback from your Careers manager before you send it off.

Reasons for Applying

  • You need to show strong enthusiasm for choosing this course. This will come across in the language that you use so aim for a positive tone and consider what words will convey your motivations to the Admissions tutors.
  • You can also show strong motivations by showing that you have effectively researched the course and decided that it is the best choice for you. State clearly what impresses you - this could be the teaching staff, particular modules, lab facilities and/or employability ratings. It could also be the reputation of the school or institution. You could mention if you have already visited the campus.
  • Explain what you hope to achieve by undertaking this course. Explaining how the course ties in with your career goals will make your application more convincing.

Making a strong impression

To demonstrate you are a good match to the course in terms of ability try to address the following points:

  • Detail your academic achievements and successes. Explain how this has given you the knowledge and understanding to prepare for the postgraduate course.
  • If you have any relevant work experience or extracurricular activities go on to some detail of what you did and achieved and how you developed
  • Match yourself to key skills required. Give some detail to make a positive impression. You may include examples of seemingly non-relevant work experience and extracurricular activities that demonstrate the right transferable skills.
  • Show that you are ready to undertake further study and that you have clearly thought through all that this course will entail. State your confidence in your ability to cope with all aspects of the course. For example, although you don’t have to propose your dissertation topic at this stage, it would nonetheless be good to show that you fully understand what a postgraduate dissertation entails.

In a competitive process (for job applications as well as course applications) it helps your application if you can really stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to be the most amazing candidate to achieve this. Simply follow theses guidelines and you should make a lasting impression with your detailed passionate and confident application.