Personal statement

Writing your personal statement for a postgraduate application is different to previous statements you may have submitted for undergraduate study or other courses.

There are various differences in personal statements for a first degree, but it is also a good idea to think of the statement like a job application. The word limit is higher, so you are expected to provide more detail and you will need to provide evidence of critical thinking and research skills, since these are more significant components in Masters courses. When reading your statement, our Admissions want to see your interest and commitment to the subject. Follow our guide below to ensure you address the above in your statement.

Do your research

  • Research the course and its links to careers, and the example modules within the course
  • Think of some reasons why you want to do this particular course
  • Read through the entry requirements and course description very carefully: identify the keywords and phrases and think about how you can provide evidence of these skills

Writing (‘the four Ps')

  • Passion for your subject – Demonstrate your academic interests, eg, further reading, favourite modules, related events like exhibitions, conferences and workshops.
  • Person – Why you? Give evidence of your previous experiences, motivations, career goals.
  • Preparation – Apply your skills to the skills listed in the entry requirements and course description. Always give evidence to prove you have these skills. These skills could be from academic work, employment, research placements, internships, societies or other roles.
  • Place – Why here? Tailor the personal statement to the particular course: you can apply to more than one Masters course but each personal statement should be slightly different so that it is relevant to the individual course. Demonstrate that you have researched the course and the University. What do you like about Birmingham: staff interests, modules, resources, the postgraduate community?

If you are returning to study after employment

Think about how you can relate your current and previous employment to the skills required for studying this programme. Admissions tutors are looking for your commitment to the course, so if you can display your time management and project management in a working environment, this will show your transferable skills (much like a job application).

What next?

Once you have written your statement, you can ensure you have the other documents and references for your application.

The application process