Applications

Applying in the UK

First off, it is important to note that there is a linguistic difference in what postsecondary education is called in the UK versus US. In the UK, a “postgraduate” degree can mean any degree beyond a Bachelor’s, while in the US the same degree would be referred to as a “graduate” degree. Do not be fooled into thinking one is higher than the other – the level is the same, the name is not.If you’re interested in earning a postgraduate degree in the UK, here are some questions you should take into consideration as you embark on the application process.

  • Are deadlines the same for all programs?
  • Which (if any) exam scores are required?
  • What type of language certificate is required?
  • What kind of financial requirements does each program have? Do you need to prove a certain financial status? Do you have to have a scholarship in order to attend?
  • Does the program require a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check?

Additionally, there are some things that tend to be required for applications in any country. These include:

  • A letter of interest/personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts/proof of prior education

If you are applying from outside the UK, it is good to be aware of visa issues while applying to postgraduate programs, though you should not try to apply for your visa until you have been accepted into a program. Some programs ask you to include the photo page from your passport with your application, so be sure to have a valid passport prior to beginning the application process.

Applying in the US

First off, it is important to note that there is a linguistic difference in what postsecondary education is called in the UK versus US. In the UK, a “postgraduate” degree can mean any degree beyond a Bachelor’s, while in the US the same degree would be referred to as a “graduate” degree. Do not be fooled into thinking one is higher than the other – the level is the same, the name is not.Prior to applying to graduate school in the United States, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the programs to which you are applying, often even reaching out to faculty or current students to show interest and establish a relationship.Unlike in the UK and Europe, when you apply to a PhD program in the U.S. you do not need to already have a full research plan laid out. It is good to show strong interest and prior experience in a specific area, but it is assumed that your research interests will form during the first years of study.If you are applying to graduate school in the U.S., here are some questions to keep in mind:

  • Are deadlines the same for all programs?
  • Which entrance exams are required?
  • What type of language certificate is required?
  • What kind of financial requirements does each program have?
  • Does this university offer scholarships? Are they based on need or merit?

Additionally, there are some things that tend to be required for applications in any country. These include:

  • A letter of interest/personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts/proof of prior education

If you are applying from outside the U.S., it is good to be aware of visa issues while applying to graduate programs, though you should not try to apply for your visa until you have been accepted into a program. Some programs ask you to include the photo page from your passport with your application, so be sure to have a valid passport prior to beginning the application process.