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How to apply for a Master’s degree | A guide for students

How to apply for a Master’s degree | A guide for students

by Jenny Shippen

Thinking of studying for a Master’s degree? It could be the best choice you can make to further your education and advance your career.

Whether you’re finishing up your Bachelor’s degree or returning to higher education, read on to find out more about how to apply for a Master’s degree, available funding opportunities, benefits, and more!



  1. What is a Master’s degree?

  2. What are the requirements to apply for a Master’s degree?

  3. What is the Master’s degree application process like?

  4. Are there any Master’s degree funding opportunities?

  5. What are the benefits of a Master’s degree?

  6. When is the Master's degree application deadline?


What is a Master’s degree?

A Master’s degree is a level 7 qualification, an intense and focused postgraduate degree, and a popular option for students wanting to continue their education after earning their Bachelor’s. Studying for a Master’s degree full-time usually takes 1-2 years to complete, while studying part-time takes 2-4 years, depending on the area of study.

Master’s degrees are split into two types:

  • a taught Master’s degree (postgraduate taught/PGT) is the most common type and is delivered through lectures and seminars by academics specialising in a chosen subject
  • a  research Master’s degree (postgraduate research/PGR) offers a mix of taught modules and a research project - this helps you develop a deeper knowledge in your chosen subject area, giving you more insight into what it like to work in research

If you choose to take your higher education further, with a taught or research Master’s degree, you may also be eligible to apply for a PhD.


What are the requirements to apply for a Master’s degree?

The requirements to apply for a Master’s degree vary from subject to subject, but most require at least a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree. For more information, check out the course summaries available online.




What is the Master’s degree application process like?

Once you have researched the available courses and made a decision, it’s time to start your application. Unlike undergraduate courses, most Master’s degree applications are made through the universities, with some exceptions being made through UCAS Postgraduate.

At Newcastle, the application process for a Master’s degree is quick and easy. Current students should apply through the Apply to Newcastle Portal using their existing Student Self Service Portal (S3P) login details, while new students and Education Agents will need to register for a new account. You should provide details, such as:

  • personal details
  • programme of study
  • academic transcripts or progress to date
  • English language requirements
  • educational and professional experience (CV)
  • intended funding sources
  • postgraduate personal statement
  • referees
  • relevant supporting documents (degree transcripts, research proposal, etc)

Potential Master’s students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible – at least 6 months before the beginning of your course – especially in highly competitive fields where places may fill up faster. You can apply before receiving your academic and English Language results; any offer you may be given would be conditional upon receipt of these. Newcastle University aims to respond to your application within 30 days, and you can track the progress of your application via the Apply to Newcastle Portal. If you are successful, you will be given an offer to study and can start making arrangements for finances and accommodation. This will begin your journey into postgraduate education!

If you are an international student, you will need to secure an unconditional offer first before applying for your visa. You will also need to include a copy of your passport and proof of English language proficiency.


Are there any Master’s degree funding opportunities?

Students in the UK usually fund their studies using a combination of formal funding such as scholarships and bursaries, together with loans, savings and part-time work.

Most funding opportunities are advertised between September and May, and it is recommended that you start your research for funding early – up to 12 months before your year of entry – as formal funding is very competitive.

  • Tuition fee discounts
    • All students: 2% discount if you pay your annual fees in full before the end of registration week. A tuition fee instalment plan is available to spread the cost of your studies.
    • UK students: 20% Alumni Progression Discount for eligible Newcastle University alumni from disadvantaged backgrounds.
      International students: 10% discount to close relatives of Newcastle University students and graduates.
  • Awards, bursaries and prizes
    • All students: support to meet additional costs associated with studying specific degrees. Non-repayable and awarded by various organisations, including charities and trusts.
  • Loans
    • UK students: the Postgraduate Master’s Loan Scheme is available to help with course fees and living costs. This is administered by Student Finance England. Where you live and your awarding body will dictate how much you can apply for; other eligibility criteria may also apply.
  • Scholarships
    • All students: £1,000 Alumni Progression Scholarship for eligible UK and International Newcastle University alumni (not available for students receiving the 20% Alumni Progression Discount).
    • UK students: funded or partially funded scholarships are often based on academic merit or specific eligibility criteria. Non-repayable, they can be awarded by a variety of organisations, including Newcastle University, private companies, professional organisations, charities, trusts and the UK government.
    • International students: we aim to create a strong global community and support this via scholarships for international and EU students. We also participate in prestigious scholarship schemes such as Commonwealth and Fulbright.

To get all the latest funding opportunities, use our searchable funding database, which is updated weekly.




What are the benefits of a Master’s degree?

Choosing to do a Master’s degree is a big step in advancing your career. Whether you launch straight into a Master’s after your Bachelor’s, or return to university after some time away, the career benefits of a Master’s degree can give you the edge and help you stand out in a crowded job market. This can greatly increase your chances of finding employment, especially in highly competitive fields. It can also help you define your career path, and focus on areas you want to specialise in.


When is the Master's degree application deadline?

Most of our courses don’t have an application deadline. For courses that do, you’ll be able to find this information in the ‘How to apply’ section of each course online.