Applying for Postgraduate Studies in the UK

The thought of it can be daunting!

Applying to a University in the UK all the way from Nigeria? How do you achieve that?

Till date some people still contract their UK admission processing to a consulting firm when there is really no need to. Applying for and processing admission to study in the UK is a simple and straightforward process that anybody can do.

Even you.

The first thing to know about applying for a UK post graduate degree is that, unlike undergraduate courses, there is no central admissions system or middleman (like Jamb). Having a first degree automatically qualifies you and you would need to approach the university directly.

You will need to research available schools and courses, and put together all the requirements in order to make the application yourself.

Most schools in the UK have made their admission procedure as easy as possible by enabling online admissions.

So if you have made up your mind to travel to the UK for further studies, the first thing you should do is to search for available universities and courses in the UK.

The most effective way to do this is through referrals – ask your friends or family who either live in the UK or have attended University in the UK.

Alternatively, you could search on the Internet. You would get a list of schools as well as ready-made comparisons of different schools with regards to tuition fees, location, job placement, reputation etc.

Select your school and start the admission process. Most of the schools have the option for you to apply online and submit all your documents online.

The first step after you have selected a school will be to download an application form directly from the university website. Please make sure you for cross check exactly when the course starts and if there are any deadlines for admission – you may have to wait a full year if you miss the deadline!

Usually, courses tend to start around September so be sure to start your application with plenty of time to spare.

If you meet all the requirements for admissions, then you need to start putting together your documents.

post graduate studies in UK

The documents you would need are:

Academic transcript from your undergraduate university.
This is a report from your university that provides details of the subjects and courses you have taken and the grades you have obtained.

Getting a transcript may be tedious in most Nigerian universities so you need to start on time. The procedure may differ from school to school but usually, you would apply and pay a certain amount and provide details of where you want the transcript to be sent to. You would have the option to collect your transcript by hand or have the university send it directly.

Usually, you should opt to collect it by hand because you would only be sending a scanned copy to the university you are applying to. But different schools may require a hard copy of the transcript so please confirm from your particular school.

With your transcript in hand, you can apply to as many schools as you desire using that single transcript.

Your Degree certificate. 
You will be asked for evidence of your first degree qualification. Send a scanned copy of your degree certificate along with your application. Some schools may also require your WAEC or NECO result with at least 5 credits including credit in English language and mathematics.

Two references (including an academic and employer reference). 
One of the most important parts of the application process is the references you’ll be asked to supply.

The school would normally ask for two referees, usually lecturers or supervisors from your undergraduate studies. These are referred to as academic referees. Some schools also require a professional referee if you are employed.

Ensure you get referees who would show you in the best light possible for you to be offered admission.

A personal statement (or a statement of purpose)
You will also be required to submit a supporting statement as part of your application. Now, this is something you need to think about carefully and have a clear plan before writing it.

You would need to give the reasons why you want to study in their university, what you expect to achieve during and after the programme, your previous work experiences, any extracurricular activities and any other reason why they should consider you over other applicants and offer you admission. You need to make this statement very strong with relevant examples.
Try to show your enthusiasm for the course and the university and your reasons for wanting to pursue that course.

Your Resume or CV. 
Some universities in the UK may want you to include your CV. This does not mean that they would not offer you admission if you do not have work experience.

It is just to see what you have done in the past, except in some cases where the school would require you to have at least 2 years working experience before you can apply. Most universities do not really care about work experience.

Funding. 
You will also be asked questions about how you intend to fund your postgraduate study. While you don’t have to show them your bank statement or anything like that, it’s a good idea to convince them that you are able to fund your studies.

These are usually all that is required to apply for a UK postgraduate course.

Fortunately, most schools in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) recognize Nigeria as an English speaking country so TOEFL (or other English language proficiency tests) is not usually required for admission.

After putting all your documents together, you can now upload them to any university of your choice and make your application.

If you presented everything they asked for, I see no reason why they would not offer you the admission you so desire.

Now it’s off to the UK embassy to get your student visa.

Also See…
Top UK Universities for Art and Humanities
Graduate study guide for Intl students
UK scholarships for International students

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