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School of Social Sciences

Applying for a master's

Follow these steps to apply for a taught master's course in the social sciences.

There are two ways you can apply for a master's at The University of Manchester:

  • Apply online.
  • Via the Fast-Track Scheme, if you are a current University of Manchester student.  All you need to do is email pg-soss@manchester.ac.uk with your personal details (full name, current undergraduate course and student ID number), along with the name of the School of Social Sciences master's course you wish to be considered for (for example, MSc Economics).  We'll do the rest and, where possible make you a conditional offer for your chosen master's course.

As well as the online application form, we will need some supporting information.

The normal supporting documents required are:

  • copies of degree certificates and transcripts;
  • IELTS/TOEFL certificate (if you are not a native English speaker).

Optional supporting documents are:

  • CV;
  • personal statement (compulsory if applying for the MA in Visual Anthropology);
  • references. 

Please note that references are NOT compulsory at the initial application stage, but we do require that you include the names and contact details of two academic referees on your application form.  If we subsequently require references we will contact them directly.

Please ensure that you check the course information details for further information on what other supporting documents are required for your chosen course.

Find out about our fees and our current funding opportunities for postgraduate taught programmes.

How to write a personal statement

A personal statement is only compulsory in the School of Social Sciences if you're applying for the MA in Visual Anthropology. However, you might still like to submit one if applying to another master's course.

Your personal statement should give convincing reasons why you want do the course and why you're a suitable applicant. 

Your interests

State why the subject interests you, and the areas of study within the subject you find particularly interesting. Demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm by specifying fields of interest within the subject area and talk about them in detail. (For example, if you know that within economics you would like to focus on microeconomics or econometrics - let us know.)

Your evidence and academic credentials

Explain what drives your interests and provide strong evidence to back up your claims. For example, include authors you admire, theories or problems that interest you, conferences you have attended, or relevant work experience.

If you are applying to a conversion course or if your undergraduate degree is not directly related to the graduate programme, it is even more important to demonstrate your commitment.

Will you cope with the academic rigours of the course? Tutors will want to know and will consider:

  • the level of your degree;
  • final classification or average grade;
  • the standing of the institution where you are studying / have studied.

Many applicants will have similar academic backgrounds to you. So, if you have achieved anything that makes you stand out, mention it in your application (eg a particularly high mark, an award for academic achievement, or a prize for project work).

Your skills and experience

Look closely at the course information and pick out key skills and knowledge required. Then use specific examples from your academic studies, work experience or extra-curricular / practical experiences to show what makes you a good candidate. Your relevant experience is extremely important.

Explain your skills in detail - don't assume the admissions tutor will understand your capabilities just by reading the title of your final year project. If relevant, explain:

  • specific hard and soft skills gained;
  • research methods used;
  • techniques you are familiar with;
  • equipment / resources / software packages used;
  • why you find the course particularly attractive.

Don't forget to tailor your statement to the course you are applying for.

Writing tips

  • Start positively - grab the reader's attention.
  • Keep your comments brief and focused.
  • Put the most important information first; don’t save your best selling points until last.
  • Plan a basic outline first and think about how many words you want to use for each section.
  • Use your statement to show that you can structure your thoughts and write coherently; each topic must lead logically onto the next.
  • Get your facts right; stating that you want to be supervised by an academic who no longer works at the University will not impress admissions tutors.
  • Stick to the word limit if applicable.

Contact our admissions team

Postgraduate Admissions Team
School of Social Sciences
Email: pg-soss@manchester.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 4471 or +44 (0)161 275 1296