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Your postgraduate personal statement

How to make this key part of your application for postgraduate study stand out

Before you begin

A personal statement is a requirement for a postgraduate taught course, a Professional doctorate and some other MPhil and PhD courses.

What you write helps us to get to know you. It's a chance to highlight your personal experience, skills, academic achievements and what makes you an excellent fit for your course.

Your statement is our first impression of you so it's important to get it right. We have compiled some tips and guidance to make sure that you showcase yourself in the best possible way.

  • Taught course statement

    Your previous study and work experience are an important part of your postgraduate taught course application. Use your statement to tell us why they make you a suitable candidate for your course. Talk about the future too and what you want to do after graduation including how you want your career to develop.

    Consider the following questions when writing your personal statement for your master's or PGCE course:

    • How will your chosen course benefit you?
    • How does the course align to your current skills and knowledge?
    • What are you aspiring to in your future career?
    • What makes you stand out from the crowd? Write about your work experience, skills, personality.
  • Research course statement

    Your statement is an opportunity for you to reflect on your application for a research course and tell us about:

    • Why you are applying for a professional doctorate programme and why now
    • Your professional trajectory and current position
    • Particular areas of your professional practice / organisation / community of practice are you interested in researching
    • Any previous academic and practical experience you have gained which demonstrate your interest in your chosen subject
    • Your membership of professional bodies
    • The impact and / or outcome you envisage your professional doctorate to have.

How to structure your statement

Organise the information in your personal statement in the following way:

Introduction - capture the reviewer's interest by outlining your research interests and overall aims of the project.

Main body - inform the reviewer of how your skills, knowledge and experience in the field related to the topic of research you are interested in.

Summary - a concise paragraph covering the overall aims, objectives and possible outcomes of your research project.

Formatting essentials

Your personal statement should:

  • not exceed 2000 words
  • be written in Arial font, size 11
  • include clear headings and sub headings
  • have correct grammar and spelling throughout
  • be referenced fully
  • be proof read before submitting.

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