I know for a first timer, it's a bit tedious as you have to apply on your own instead of having to use a system like UCAS. And FYI, UCAS is only for the undergraduates. Based on my experienced, the way to do it is to visit any university websites in the world of your like and they do provide you with a full instructions of applying online. all you have to do is read.
But to have a general idea of how to apply for postgraduate studies, I'll be glad to help. So here's a basic step by step guide for those who are interested in continuing their studies either in research or in taught courses.
Now, once you have chosen your taught course, or research programme, make your application online. Some of the UK leading universities or others rather, have diminished their paper-based applications. It's frendlier to the environment ya?
Make your application online to any university that you desire. This involve working your way through a series of pages where you would be ask to provide with your details and and your qualifications. You would be also asked to provide;
- A full curriculum vitae (CV).
- Your degree transcript.
- 2 letters of recommendation.
- And an evidence of satisfactory score in a recognised English Language test, or an indication that you have arranged to take one.
For those who are continuing for research programme, it is advisable to contact a potential supervisor before making a formal application to the university. You may wish to provide them with
- your CV,
- your proposed topic of study/you interested area,
- your commence date and
- h0w do you propose to fund the project.
Some university like the leading ones (oxford, cambridge, Imperial, UCL etc) might want to arrange an interview with you. Either by phone or face-to-face. I had my interview with my supervisor before in Imperial. A face-to-face as I am already in the UK. They probably want to get to know you and want to know your research interest.
Most leading UK univs require a minimum of second upper class hons degree (3.0 and above CGPA and related) and some might just require you to have a degree.
tips - It is best if you have a first class degree as this would give you a broad option of univs to apply. Work for it then!
English requirement - for countries which are not English Native.
Different univs have different entry level. Some may need IELTS, some may just want TOEFL, GCE 'O' level and some doesn't need either but have other requirement. For Imperial Engineering department, an overall score of 6.5 with 5 for writing and speaking modules for IELTS. And higher for business school. For other univs, they may have different score requirement. Please consult to the relevent department and course for the english requirement.
tips - Although some univs does not require an english requirement at the application, it is best if you have one like IELTS as this would give you a broad option of univs to apply.
I know for engineering, most of the univ does not require wroking experiences unless stated. If it is MBA or engineering bisness related courses, then it is preferable/require to have working experiences. I can only answer for my course, other than that I guess you have to check their websites.
A few tips based on what I did before I got here;
How to choose a supervisor?
I don't have a short cut of doing this for the lazy bum. The best way of choosing a supervisor is to check their websites (they do have one here) and go through their research interest and read their published materials and if not, read their biodatas.
How to know the supervisor is good?
You would know if the supervisor is good or not based on their published materials and what are they involve in. Tips - They have all in their websites.
For a personal matters, what I did was, I emailed the potential supervisor students and ask them how is it working with their supervisors. (Supervisors website do have a list of their current and previous PhD students).
And lastly, for those who feels that this is a tedious work. A short cut for postgraduates application is to have an agent to help you to apply for studies around the world. The only differences is, they require some commision for the help they've offered. I did got an agent for my application to Australia Univs, but I ended up here in the UK instead.
But for my PhD application, I applied it on my own. I've checked numerous websites and went through a series of reading from the UK, USA, GERMANY and even ITALY univs as I wanted to find my own supervisor.In the end my only univs of desire was Oxford, Cambridge or Imperial. Unfortunately Oxbridge doesn't offer what I'm looking for so that is why I am here in Imperial.
So, best wishes to those who are applying and good luck.