Can You Apply for Masters Before Graduating UK?

Thinking of applying for a Master’s but not sure when you can start applying? This quick guide tells you everything you need to know about when you can apply for a Master’s, including whether you can apply before graduating from university in the UK.

Can you apply for a Masters before graduating in the UK?

You can apply for a Master’s programme before graduating in the UK. In fact, if you want to study a Master’s directly after you have completed your undergraduate degree, in most cases you will need to start researching courses and working on your applications near the start of your final year. This is because it takes time to find the most suitable course for you and complete all elements of your application.

As part of your application, you will need to indicate when you will complete your degree and may need to include the grade you are on track to achieve (e.g. a 2:1 classification), as well as meeting the other entry requirements (such as work experience, references, etc.). Usually, you will then be made a conditional offer for a Master’s, which will be confirmed when you officially achieve your degree classification and provide evidence (such as your degree transcript) to your chosen university.

What is the deadline for Master’s applications?

Master’s courses do not run during set dates in the same way that undergraduate courses do. Each university can set its own postgraduate deadlines and these may differ between universities and between courses at the same university. It’s therefore important to check on the university website – or with them directly – what the stages of the application process are and the deadlines that you need to meet.

If you’re relying on funding to study your Master’s, there may also be a separate deadline you need to meet in order to apply for this. In some cases, you will be required to apply for any funding you require before submitting your course application, so always check this in advance.

How to apply for a Master’s

The application process for Master’s courses is different from the undergraduate application process in that you’ll apply directly to the university, not via UCAS. You will usually apply via each university’s own applicant portal, and follow the instructions provided.

Your application will typically include submitting a CV, a transcript of your previous qualification/s (or indicate that you have not yet completed them yet), a statement of purpose, additional written work (such as writing samples), and up to three referees who can provide academic and/or professional references.

Many courses also interview shortlisted candidates as part of the admissions process.
For more information and tips on how to apply for a Master’s course, read our helpful guides via the buttons below:

How to Apply for a Master’s Degree
How to Write a Master’s Personal Statement
How to Prepare for a Postgraduate Interview

How can we help?

The Profs’ postgraduate admissions experts can provide you with invaluable support with your Master’s application and help you balance applying for courses with maintaining excellent grades in your final year. More than 90% of our tutors have postgraduate degrees themselves and many have been admissions officers, lecturers and professors at top UK universities and have in-depth knowledge of the Master’s admissions process. Reach out to our team today to access support.

FAQs

Can I do Bachelors and Masters at the same time?

Bachelor’s and Master’s are two different levels of qualifications, and you typically cannot study a Master’s without first completing a Bachelor’s. The only way you can study a Bachelor’s and Master’s ‘at the same time’ is via an integrated course that means that Bachelor’s students automatically stay on an extra year to complete their Master’s qualification at the same universities. These programmes usually last for four years and many universities offer them.

When should I apply for UK Masters?

Each individual Master’s course sets its own deadline for applications. Some courses may have one fixed deadline, while others may accept applications throughout the year on a ‘rolling’ basis. There are also some courses that have multiple deadlines, dividing applications into ‘rounds’.

If the course has a fixed deadline, we usually encourage applicants to apply for their chosen course as soon as possible after applications open. This is because universities may consider applications as and when they are submitted and offer places on a first come, first serve basis. If applications are segregated into ‘rounds’, it’s important to be tactical about when you apply. Depending on the course, sometimes we recommend you apply as early as possible, while other times we recommend waiting until later rounds where you may have a higher chance of being accepted. Working with a Profs admissions tutor can be invaluable when applying for a Master’s with this type of application process, so reach out to our team for expert advice and support.

Do I need to go through UCAS to apply for a Master’s?

In most cases, you do not need to go through UCAS to apply for a Master’s course. Universities usually have their own applicant portals which allow you to apply to your chosen course directly through them.

There are a handful of taught postgraduate courses that you can apply for through the UCAS Postgraduate service. Always check directly with your chosen university how they would like you to submit your application beforehand to ensure you will be considered.

Is there Clearing for Master’s?

There is no Clearing for Master’s. Clearing for undergraduates is operated via UCAS and the vast majority of postgraduate courses do not use UCAS. However, many universities do have rolling applications for their Master’s courses, meaning there is no formal deadline and you can apply to the course year-round.

How many Masters can you apply for UK?

There is no limit to the number of Master’s courses that you can apply for in the UK. Unlike undergraduate applications, which are limited to five and submitted via UCAS, Master’s applications are submitted directly to individual universities. Although there is no limit on how many Master’s you can apply for, we recommend limiting the number to five courses to ensure that you can invest sufficient time in tailoring your personal statements and maintaining a high quality of application to each.

How much does it cost to do a Master’s in the UK?

Unlike fees for undergraduate courses, postgraduate fees are not regulated by the UK government and so universities set them themselves. Fees for Master’s courses vary greatly by university and by subject, with the most competitive courses (such as MBAs) usually costing the most. Fees will also depend on if you are a home or international student and if you are applying for a taught or research Master’s.

It’s important to research your options when it comes to funding your Master’s as application deadlines for funding are often different to specific course application deadlines. You may be eligible for additional funding from universities via bursaries and scholarships and, if you are a UK student, you can apply for a student loan. Some universities also offer discounted postgraduate courses for their own alumni (for example, Lancaster University offers its alumni a 10% Master’s fee reduction if you achieved a 2:1 in your undergraduate degree and a 20% fee reduction if you achieved a first). Some universities will also conduct a fee assessment to ensure that you can fund the course as part of the admissions process.

Can my Masters be different from my Bachelors?

In many cases, you will be able to study a Master’s in a different subject than what you completed your Bachelor’s in, so long as you can demonstrate a keen interest in the new subject and demonstrate the necessary skills to succeed at it. However, some Master’s courses do specify a degree in a certain subject (or set of subjects) as an entry requirement. For example, MSc Maths and Science courses typically require applicants to hold an undergraduate degree in Maths or Science in order to qualify for entry. This is because the level of knowledge and mathematical skills required is extremely high and the course is designed specifically for Maths and Science graduates.

Bear in mind that whatever Master’s course you choose (even if it is the same subject as your Bachelor’s course), it will be vastly different from studying at undergraduate level. You will usually be required to study far more independently and become more specialised in one or multiple area/s of your subject. Make sure to always do your research into the Master’s course you are applying for and the entry requirements in advance.

Can you apply for Masters loans before being accepted?

You can apply for a postgraduate loan from the UK government before you have been accepted by a course. You will be required to submit details of your intended degree and university when you apply, however you can change your mind and update your application later. The deadline for applying for a Master’s loan depends on when you would be due to start your course, so make sure to check this in advance.

Do A levels matter for Masters applications?

Universities will not usually look at A levels as part of a Master’s application and A levels are rarely listed in the entry requirements for Master’s courses. Instead, universities will be interested in your most recent academic qualification, which should be your Bachelor’s degree. The grade you achieve in your Bachelor’s degree and any specific subject/topic requirements will be the most important element of your application.

Who can do pre-Masters in UK?

You can apply for a pre-Masters if you would like to study a Master’s in the UK but do not currently meet the full entry requirements for your chosen course. For example, your undergraduate degree may not meet the academic requirements of your chosen Master’s, you may need to improve your use of English, or you need to improve your academic study or research skills. The entry requirements for pre-Masters differ depending on the university you’re applying to, so make sure you check directly on the relevant website page or reach out to the admissions office.