How to Write a Personal Statement for Masters Degree

What is a personal statement?

Applicants are required to know how to write a personal statement for masters because a personal statement is required as part of the process to gain admission for a master’s degree in the UK and many other countries.

In this process, you have the first opportunity to sell yourself to the university or college, and to show that you are the right candidate for the course.

If you studied for your first degree in your home country, possibly, you were not required to submit an undergraduate personal statement as a condition of admission. For undergraduate admission in many countries, you would usually be required to evidence that they passed you passed a GCSE and A-Level exam or a pre-admission matriculation test to gain admission into an undergraduate programme.

If you are an international student looking to study in the UK, you will also need to have passed an English language test or its equivalent. You may be exempted if you are from certain English-speaking countries.

If you studied in the UK, for your undergraduate degree, you would probably already have experience writing a personal statement. That may be an example for you, so you should have some idea of what to expect in a personal statement but refrain from using your undergraduate statement as a template for Masters degree study.

Since your undergraduate days, you are likely to have made academic progress, and masters degree admissions tutors will be looking for evidence of that progress. Your personal statement for masters degree should be unique and customised for each course. Take advantage of this opportunity to highlight your academic interests and abilities to demonstrate that you are as eager to study the course.

Looking at the do’s and don’ts, this page contains tips on how to write a personal statement for masters degree application that will get you noticed and accepted into a masters programme.

Additionally, we have examples of personal statements for masters degrees on our website

What is the length of a personal statement for masters degree application?

It is recommended to write a 400-600 word personal statement for a Masters degree application. This is equivalent to one side of an A4 sheet of paper.

Occasionally, some universities will require two sides of an A4 paper. Check the application guidelines before writing your personal statement if the institution sets a character limit instead of a word count.

Avoid writing autobiographical details in your statement. You don’t need to include them.

Don’t focus on what you want to study, but on why you want to study it and your ability to succeed at it.

What should I include in a personal statement for masters degree?

Research the course you are applying for, to understand how to write a personal statement for masters and why you want to study for a Masters degree.
1. Read the course information carefully so that you can answer any questions you may have. 
2. Do not use the same statement for all applications if you apply for more than one course. 

You may find the following questions helpful when planning your personal statement: 
1. How will a Master’s degree benefit you, and why do you want to study it? 
2. What skills do you have that the course will develop? 
3. Describe how you stand out from the crowd – for example, work experience?
4. Regarding your future career, what do you aspire to be/do? 
5. What are some ways in which you can contribute to your department/university/society? 

You may apply for a course in a different field than your undergraduate degree. Explain why you are changing your academic direction. 

You should consider the following in your personal statement for a masters application: how your undergraduate degree in Nigeria or elsewhere will bring fresh insight to your course, the reasons for changing your field of study and how this change will contribute to your future career.

What should I include in my personal statement for masters application?

1. Academic research skills
2. Field work experience
3. Time management 
4. Communication skills
5. Placements and internships experience
6. Public engagement activities
7. Conference attendance 
8. Extracurricular activities relevant to your course of study 

In your personal statement, describe how your skills and experience earned at university or at work, in Nigeria or abroad, will assist you in succeeding with a masters degree. Examples include: 

The purpose of your personal statement is to share your career goals and how you think this masters course will assist you in achieving them. Moreover, you can mention preliminary ideas you might have for your masters dissertation, demonstrating your specialist knowledge within the field to the admissions tutor. In the case of significant gaps in your education or employment, describe if there were any extenuating circumstances (such as illness, maternity or a gap year). Maintain a positive, optimistic tone, and don’t dwell on unfortunate circumstances.

Generally (but not always), for a master’s, students apply directly to the university. Rather than submitting one personal statement for five courses, as is the case for UCAS in the UK, each personal statement can be tailored to the institution and course in question. 

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