How to apply to our taught courses
Applying to your postgraudate taught programme can be done in a few simple steps.
Find your course
Apply for your postgraduate course using your course page. By clicking on the specific programme you wish to apply for, you will be directed to an application specifically designed for your programme. You will then be able to create your account with the University and submit your application and supporting documents online.
Your application is specifically designed for the programme you choose to apply for and it is sensitive to the answers you provide as you proceed through the application.
Please read through the following information carefully before submitting your application. Doing so will help to avoid any unnecessary delays in processing your application.
1. Choose your course using course finder
2. Consider whether you meet the entry requirements:
- General requirements for postgraduate entry
- General requirements for Dubai
- International entry requirements
- English language requirements
3. Check the specific course entry requirements, which can be found on individual course listings in our course finder
4. Contact the department if you need any advice about a particular programme for example, if you need advice on which specific course to apply for
5. Consider the supporting documents you might need to upload as part of your application - see below for more detail
6. Apply through our online portal, by clicking the ‘Apply now’ button on your chosen course page.
If you are not able to apply online, or should you have any other general queries please go to our postgraduate FAQ page or submit a query through our online enquiry form. In any communication, please quote your Applicant ID number.
If you run into any technical issues with your application then please contact us at: email@example.com
You can apply to up to five different courses in any one academic year through our website. Please note that each course you apply for will require an individual application.
Once you have submitted an online application you will be sent details of how to enter your applicant portal.
Your portal experience will allow you to send and receive communications to and from the University. You will be able to track the progress of your application at every stage of the admissions process; update your personal information, view decisions and accept any offers you may receive.
If you need to add or change details or documents on your application after you have applied, you can update some of your details on the applicant portal.
Alternatively, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be able to update your application accordingly and to upload additional supporting documentation on your behalf. Please also remember to include your applicant ID number in your email.
When you apply for a postgraduate programme via course finder, you will have the option to upload your supporting documents. The following information will usually be needed before a decision can be made on your application.
Please allow 10-15 working days for any supporting documents to be reviewed and processed. Should we require any additional information or documentation, we will contact you directly.
You can also see our guidance notes for a break down of each section of the application form.
University of Birmingham graduates do not need to provide transcripts or copies of degree certificates, however we advise applicants who graduated prior to 2000 to provide copies of their qualifications as they may take longer to verify.
If you have completed your qualification/degree
You will be asked to upload a scan of your original or certified copies of your relevant academic certificate(s) and transcript(s) on the Application Portal, otherwise your application cannot be considered.
Please be prepared to send in your original or certified copies of your documents if the Admissions team requests to verify them.
If you are currently a student studying for a degree or higher level qualification
You will be asked to upload an interim transcript from your latest exams, otherwise your application cannot be considered.
Please be prepared to send in your original or certified copies of your degree certificate and final transcript upon graduation if the Admissions team requests to verify them.
Explanation of key words:
Certified – having your original documents copied and then officially recognised with an official institution’s stamp or watermark so you do not need to send off the original.
Verified – checked by the University/Institution or our representatives that the document is official and genuine.
Certificate – degree certificate/academic certificate(s) stating your name and degree/qualification awarded from your previous institution/institutions.
Transcript – usually an additional document which comes with your certificate, detailing your grades achieved per module of your degree/academic programme(s) and the overall grade.
Notary - A notary is usually a lawyer (though not necessarily so in the United States) or person with legal training who is licensed by the government to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular witnessing signatures on documents. The form that the notarial profession takes varies with local legal systems.
The British Council – has offices all over the world and support the educational and cultural exchange of students coming to the UK for university.
University of Birmingham Overseas Representative – The University has overseas representatives listed on the Overseas Offices webpage, who can offer advice and certify your documents as well as verifying your documents on site rather than sending to the UK.
For the full list of suitable documents which you can use as your proof of English proficiency, you can visit our English language requirements page.
Make sure that your test results are no more than two years old from the start date of your course* at the University of Birmingham.
You can scan and upload a copy of your results to the application portal. You do not need to send in a copy of this to the University or bring it when you are verifying your documents with our representatives in your country as the University can verify the certificate using the reference code.
*If you are deferring your offer by one year, please make sure your test results will still be valid for when your course starts next year.
For those who have recently graduated from an accredited institution in the UK or majority English speaking country (e.g USA, Australia, New Zealand or Canada) you may be exempt from taking English language test.
You will still need to present evidence of your qualifications studied in English to meet our entry requirement. Our admission office will then review your application and if exempt you will not be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency. You may also want to check our country pages as some countries may have certain exemptions such as those who graduate from the University of Malta.
Personal statement, approximately 5,000 characters, explaining why you are interested in studying on your chosen programme. This can be uploaded to the personal statement section in PDF or Microsoft Word format. Alternatively, you can type this within the application portal.
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).
On your application, you will be asked to supply contact details of two academic referees (or one academic reference if applicable to the course/programme applied for). Employment references may be acceptable for certain courses which require them. Please note that the contact email address of the referee must be an official email address and not a personal one (for example, gmail).
Please make sure you tell your referee(s) to expect an email from the University of Birmingham, requesting them to write a reference. We recommend that the referee sends back the reference in a PDF format as it is preferred that:
- The reference is on official headed paper with the organisation or institution’s logo and address
- It includes the date, your details and the details of the referee
- A summary of how they know you and confirm your suitability for studying on the course you have applied for
- It should be signed by the referee with their official contact details.
If your referee(s) send back references which are not on official headed paper, you may be asked to send in additional references.
If you already have a written reference(s) and want to upload it on behalf of your referee(s), make sure the reference is a scanned copy of the original and that it is on official headed paper.
Your referees will have received a reference request email from us as soon as you submitted the application (unless you uploaded the references yourself). When a referee provides the reference by clicking on the link in the reference request email, it will be automatically uploaded to your application.
A referee can also provide a reference by emailing it to us directly via email@example.com, it should be sent from their official email address and contain their full name and role. Once the email has been received, it will be sent for processing so that it can be uploaded to your application.
Your online portal will be updated when a reference has been received and processed but please allow at least 15 working days for this. If your portal has not been updated, this does not necessarily mean that the references have not been received as there can be a delay with the processing of references.
Please note that for the vast majority of our programmes, we do not require references in order for a decision to be made and your application will still be processed as usual. If an offer is made and the references are still outstanding, they will form part of the conditions of the offer.
International students issued an offer to study a taught postgraduate programme are required to pay a non-refundable tuition fee deposit of £2,000 to secure their place. The deposit payment will be deducted from the tuition fee at registration. Find out more about the terms and conditions.
Applications for the following postgraduate programmes should be made through the appropriate central Clearing House:
- For the MA Social Work, applications must be made through UCAS
- For Post Graduate Certificate in Education qualifications in the UK, applications must be made through UCAS-TT
- For Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies (CPE) applications must be made through the Law Central Application Board
- For all other postgraduate courses, requiring a specific method of application, other than our usual online application, information on ‘how to apply’ is available through course finder.