Application process

Applications for further study


Application processes for postgraduate study vary by institution. Make sure you give yourself enough time to do your research, understand what's required and prepare the strongest application you can.

What does an application involve?

Applications typically require a personal statement outlining your motivation for undertaking further study as well as details about why you have chosen to apply to a specific programme and institution. You may also be asked to submit a CV and complete an application form. Other evidence, including academic transcripts and references, will be required. If you are applying to several programmes, or to different institutions, you will need to submit separate applications. Planning ahead will enable you to obtain all the documentation needed and will also ensure you can access advice and support in good time.

Personal statements

A personal statement should present your interest and suitability for a chosen programme of study. It’s important to follow the specific guidelines you're given, but the questions below can provide a structure for communicating your motivation and your relevant skills and achievements. If you are applying to more than one university, make sure your application is targeted and includes specific information relating both to the programme and institution.

Think about:

  • why you want to study this subject

    If you have previous experience of studying the subject, include details of areas have you have enjoyed and found interesting, where you have excelled academically, and why you wish to deepen or expand your knowledge. If you are applying to a new area of study state what has motivated your interest and what you have already done to gain an understanding of it. 

  • why you have chosen this specifc course and institution

    Include details of any specific modules or options that interest you. This could also include opportunities for undertaking team-based projects, placements or exchanges. Highlight any areas of expertise within the department/institution you are applying to. 

  • how your experience and skills make you a good candidate for the programme

    Add specific examples which demonstrate your academic ability. These could focus on how you have acquired relevant subject knowledge and developed the skills required for further study, for example research, analysis, and effective time management. Include any academic awards and scholarships. Skills gained through work experience and extra-curricular activities can also provide additional evidence of your suitability for a programme.

  • where might further study lead you

    Include information about how the programme could support your career interests and help you to achieve any longer-term goals. Don’t feel you have to include a detailed career plan if you are still undecided about exactly what you want to do. Further study provides an opportunity to explore options but demonstrating that you are aware of the opportunities that a programme could lead on to will support your application.

CVs for further study

When applying for further study ensure academic achievements are clearly presented on your CV. 

This could include:

  • details of relevant modules, grades, coursework, projects and dissertation, particularly if a requirement of your programme

  • any academic prizes or awards you’ve received that highlight your academic achievements 

  • skills and experience relevant to the processes involved in undertaking further study: data collection, critical analysis, delivering presentations, teamwork and project management all provide evidence of your capacity to learn, reflect, and acquire knowledge

  • details of any events you have attended, or professional organisations you are member of, in addition to the requirements of your academic programme at LSE can further demonstrate your motivation including conferences, external lectures, professional organisations or special interest groups.

Top tips

  • Applications for further study, particularly personal statements, take time to write. Seek feedback from tutors, peers and careers consultants to ensure you are effectively communicating your motivation and skills.

  • Ensure your personal statement and CV meet any requirements in terms of word count and formatting. For personal statements, if no word count is provided, aim to write two sides of A4 (1000-1500 words).

  • Use evidence throughout your personal statement and CV. This can take the form of specific awards and achievements and examples taken from your academic, work and extra-curricular experience.

  • The personal statement and CV provide evidence of your written communication skills. Good spelling and grammar are essential. The documents you submit when applying for further study should demonstrate your capacity to use language in an informative, interesting and professional way.

Help and support

  • Speaking with your tutor, supervisor or other staff in your academic department at LSE will also provide information which will support you in the application process. 

  • Gain insights into the experience of further study by talking to current postgraduate students at LSE.

  • Go to a writing skills one-to-one with an LSE LIFE study adviser.

Related pages

Cover letters

Cover letters

Application forms

1on1 Meeting with Student