Are you thinking of applying for a Masters degree in the UK and you have no idea where to start?  In this post I share with you how you can find a Masters course in 6 easy steps.

1.  What Is It You Want?

Finding the right Masters course starts with the question:  why do you want to take a Masters in the first place? What is it that you want to achieve?

Perhaps you…

  • … are interested in the subject area
  • … want to improve your education and get new knowledge
  • …would like to live and study abroad
  • …want to improve your English
  • …want to get a specific job or promotion
  • … are not sure what else to do right now

2. Your Wish List

Make a list of the things that you want the Masters course to include.  Don’t just think about your studies, but about your entire university experience.

Here are some things you should look at:

  • Course Content – What is it you want to learn and does the course cover these topics?
  • Entry Requirements – What are the grades and English scores they ask for, can you achieve them?
  • Cost – What are the tuition fees? How high is rent in the local area? Are there any scholarships?
  • University – Look at university facts & figures, like size, when it was built, location, and imagine yourself studying there. Would you be happy? Could you belong there?
  • Reputation and Ranking –  Ranking is important, but, remember, it’s not everything.
  • Cohort –  How many other students are there on the course? What is the typical student profile?
  • Extras –  What else does the course / university offer? Guaranteed accommodation? A work placement? Free academic support?

3.  Prioritise Your Criteria

Next, take a moment to decide which of your criteria are most important.  For example, is location as important as cost, or are some things more important to you than others?

Try this:

Give 1 star if something isn’t very important to you. If the course / university doesn’t have it, you would still apply.

Give 2 stars if something is important.  You prefer universities / courses that have it.

Give 3 stars to something that’s very important.  If the university / Masters doesn’t have it, you won’t apply.

Here are some examples:
  • The course content and qualification you will get
  • Cost
  • Student mix on the course (nationalities, age, gender)
  • Ranking 
  • English language support 
  • University location
  • Availability of on-campus accommodation 

4. Start Looking

Now you know what to look for, here are a few websites where you can get started to search for Masters courses:

This table by the Guardian newspaper has a lot of great information on Masters subjects but it’s not a ranking list.

This is the British Council’s website for international students.

If you’re going to look at rankings, look at this one as it measures the research quality at UK universities.

If location is important to you,  here’s a great map with many options.

5.  Make a List of Courses

As you find Masters courses that look interesting to you, see how they meet your criteria from step 3.  You could give points to each course, like this:

3 Points = Fits very well

2 Points = Fits, but it’s not perfect

1 Point = Doesn’t fit at all

6.  Get More Details

By the end of your search, make sure to have about ten Masters courses on your list. The next step is to find out more about each of them:

  • Download the university prospectus
  • Connect with the university on social media
  • Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Admissions Office, International Office, or academic department
  • If you’re planning to apply through an education agent, find out from the university website who they work with in your country (look in the ‘International Students’ or ‘Your Country’ section).
  • Find out if any university staff are visiting your city or a city near you.
  • If you are in the UK or are travelling there soon, visit some of the universities

Summary

Finding the right Masters course will take some work and time.  But you can make this task easier for yourself if you follow a plan.

Always start by answering some questions first, like: What do I want to achieve? What type of course am I looking for? What does my ideal university look like?

Also, don’t forget to consider your grades and financial situation.

Follow the 6 steps in this plan and let us know how they work for you.  Would you add anything? Are there other helpful sites or information that you can tell us about? Leave your comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

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