Tips on applying for a masters

This blog post is written by one of our Application Advisers Kingsley Chukwu.  Kingsley is a PHD student in the school of Global Affairs.  he studied his Masters at Middlesex University and his undergraduate degree in Nigeria. He shares both his professional and personal experience of applying for a Masters.


If you have made up your mind to do a masters programme and you are sure it’s necessary for you then you are the person I had in mind when I wrote this. You want to first choose the course by looking up related courses as they all have some modifications so you want the one that is right for you and would enable you attain what your inner hopes are.

You should ideally look up the modules being offered in the course, and these could be found on the websites of the universities you are targeting. You could create a basic spreadsheet to help you narrow down your options and to follow up on the applications as the schools would have different criteria and deadlines therefore you might want to capture all the information on your spreadsheet. The spreadsheet could include information like names of universities, application deadlines, requested documents, personal statements/cover letter specifications, cost of fees, location.

After choosing your course you want to choose the university. Think carefully about the location as that is important because not all learning is done in the classroom. If for some reason you would prefer a particular country or a particular city probably for language, networking or other reasons then you can take that into consideration when making your choice.

The money aspect is likewise vital as some universities or courses could offer bursaries and you could qualify for student loans or grants from your home government if you are in some particular universities that have affiliations or partnerships with them.

Time is always a good ally because most grants would require that you secure the admission before considering you therefore it would be good to start on time, for instance you might want to apply in January for a September start admission or as soon as the admission portals are opened. It is always advisable to have some options instead of applying to just one place however it is also inadvisable to have too many applications. A right balance would be a few numbers going from three to five applications.

It is always a good thing to familiarise yourself with the university and course choices and possibly looking them up on the league tables including their graduation rates (number of students that finish their degree in a timely manner after enrolment) and employment statistics (percentage of their graduates in permanent employment six months after graduation). These data would be necessary so that the price in money, efforts and time would be worth the spend.

To submit the application, academic references are normally required. Most masters programme would likewise require a personal statement/cover letter/ letter of motivation with specifications such as word/character/page limits and a CV could also be requested.

Funding is an important aspect in any education plan. Hence, making adequate preparations for the tuition and maintenance would go a long way in providing peace of mind so that the focus would be on studying once the admission and resumption date is close.

At King’s there are resources to assist the application for further studies. From career guidance advice which could help you decide the particular masters programme for you, to application advice where your documents would be reviewed to ensure they are ready for submission. An interview session is also available if it’s a programme that the application process necessitates an interview. There are lots of helpful online resources on our KEATS page under Explore Further Study King’s even offers a funding advice at the Student Funding Office so take advantage of all the available resources which are put in place to make sure you succeed in what you decide to do.