Department of Student and Academic Administration


Writing a Personal Statement


Your personal statement is a way of conveying your reasons for wanting to do the course and to be able to demonstrate your ability to complete the course successfully.

The application process is very competitive and a strong personal statement may be crucial to optimise your chances of success.

Here are some ideas of what you might wish to include in your statement:

Your reasons for choosing the course

Here you should try to outline your reasons for undertaking postgraduate study and specifically this course. Try to demonstrate your enthusiasm for further study and/or research. This is your personal statement and it should convey your views and be written in your style but make sure that you are clear, concise and factual. Do not be tempted to get someone else to write it for you.

Write about relevant previous academic study, achievements and projects, and academic skills that you have developed and wish to develop further. Does the course link to your dissertation? Mention anything which has significantly influenced your choice. Why do you want to study at the particular institution that you are applying to? Are there academic influences such as research focus, quality of research or specific academic staff that you would like to research or study with?

What interests you about your chosen subject?

You need to demonstrate that you are quite clear about what the course will involve. What is it about this course that interests you? Are there any features of this course which are particularly attractive to you? Why? What sparked your interest in this study area and what have you done so far to develop your interest? What have you learned about yourself in the process?

Any job, work experience, placement or voluntary work you have done, particularly if it is relevant to your subject. You may want to include the skills and experience you have gained from these activities.

Reflect back on your achievements. Demonstrate how skills and experiences that you have gained outside of university could contribute to your success in further study. If relevant work/experience, how has this influenced your choices? What will you be able to bring to the course as a result? If not relevant, consider transferable skills which may be of value to you and others. Consider the skills that you will need to be successful on your course and where possible, provide evidence that you possess these skills.

How your programme choice fits with your future career plans.

Do you have a clear career goal? How does your course choice fit with this? This could demonstrate commitment to the programme in order to achieve a specific outcome. Where your chosen course is of a vocational nature this section will be especially important and you will need to include evidence of your related work experience and career exploration.

Your social, sports or leisure interests.

For some courses it might provide evidence of additional skills which may be of use in your studies. For psychologically challenging courses it would demonstrate that you have an outlet away from your studies.


International students

If you are an international student, you may wish to include the following points in your statement.


Why you wish to study in the UK.

Outline your reasons. This could include the standard of education / research, cultural
experience, desire to improve language skills.

What evidence you have to show that you can complete a higher education course that is taught in English. Please say if some of your studies have been assessed in English.

IELTS score. Do you have evidence of previous study in an English speaking environment? You should ensure that your personal statement is completed to a high standard with good spelling and grammar and make sure that the meaning is clear. Don’t get someone else to write your personal statement for you. You have to demonstrate that you have the right level of English to support your studies.