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Applying to a PG course in the UK? How different is it from a UG application?

17 Aug 2022 Author : Scholab

'Undergraduate' refers to a Bachelor’s degree and 'postgraduate' refers to a second qualification taken by a study, typically a master’s degree, postgraduate certificate (PGCert), or postgraduate diploma. In the United Kingdom, applying to a postgraduate (PG) course is different when compared to applying for an undergraduate (UG) course.

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) are involved in the admission processes in the United Kingdom. However, in the UK, very few universities are involved with UCAS. Some of them expect students to apply to them directly. So, the rules and regulations tend to be different in universities.

Students are expected to do enough research about the university and study what and how the admission processes are like.

How is the application process different?

The basic difference between UG and PG applications comes from the rules and regulations of the university itself. It depends on what they are looking for from their applicants and overall processes like interviews, SOPs, entrance exams, etc.

However, the competition tends to be much higher in the PG application process when compared to UG. So, students should not compromise on quality while preparing CVs, personal statements, entry essays, etc.

UG program assessment

Since the competition is higher, the stakes are much higher. For PG admission, the authorities will take a look at how well students utilized their time while doing the UG program. For example, they will want to know about academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, research (if any), and work experiences like an internship.

If you have participated in major projects or undertook responsibilities at the college or university, then you can mention that. Accomplishments in extracurricular activities or participation in projects and societies reflect your motivation, dedication, commitment, and time management skills.

Postgraduate degrees will involve a higher level of expertise in the topic chosen by the student. This is a factor that the committee will pay attention to while going through your SOP or during interviews. They will want to know how proficient you are and how well you have utilized your time while doing UG.

Student's passion for subject

Student's passion and commitment towards the subject is important because they have to do more individual study instead of getting lectures. People who choose the same course need not have the same study plan due to this reason. PG students are expected to participate and engage more in the tutorial process when compared to undergraduate students.

Master of Research (MRes) or PhDs are completely self-driven. During the admission process, the committee will look for the level of passion exhibited by the applicant towards their subject.


When it comes to eligibility, students will need relevant A-levels and GCSEs or equivalent such as the IB to do an undergraduate degree. Some universities will accept students with work experience in that field.

For a PG degree or diploma, UG grades are relevant. Grades itself reflect the student's commitment and passion towards the field. Students with 2:1 or 2:2 are considered better.

Students who are opting for a subject that requires research than all the knowledge and experience they have had while UG will become handy. Staff will be available to help students to explore a subject they have picked out.

Essay length

For PG entrance, the SOP length is expected to be longer than the one submitted for UG admission. Undergraduate students are usually expected to write essays that are 1,000 to 3,000 words long. Postgraduate admission essays can be over 5,000 words.

Certain universities expect students to submit a "thesis" that is as big as 30,000 words long. Follow the instructions they provide.


PG courses have higher annual fees than UG courses. If the university requested international students to submit information regarding the availability of funds, students need to keep this in mind. PG courses provide more time for students to do part-time work.

Applying for a PG degree in the UK?

Are you planning to apply for a postgraduate course in the United Kingdom? Here are some things you need to keep in mind while applying:

● If you have zeroed in on a course, apply for it as soon as possible. Samantha Matthews, head of admissions at the University of Westminster, said that some courses see high competition. Especially amongst international students, so, apply as soon as possible.

The ideal time is at least six months before the course begins in the university you have chosen. Before applying for scholarships, International students need an unconditional offer.

● UCAS provides application management for a small number of universities and colleges in the UK. Otherwise, students must submit their applications to the university or college directly. It is crucial for the student to research the application process. Different universities set their own timeframes for processing applications, be aware of that.

● In most universities, students need to submit a personal essay regarding their motivations to do the course.

● They should also include documents like a CV, a portfolio, and a research proposal if it has been demanded.

● International students need to submit a copy of their passport, proof of language proficiency. Students can present scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) certificate or a GCSE in the English language.

Having all the required documents can help in speeding up the student's application process.

Planning to move to the UK for higher studies? Do you seek consultancy?

Contact our team at Scholab Overseas Education, who are top-notch in their skills as an overseas education consultancy provider. We will provide all the necessary guidance to ease up your way towards your dreams.