Postgraduate study

Personal statements

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Do I need a personal statement?

If you are applying for a Masters or Research degree at Essex and you need a Student visa to study in the UK, then a personal statement is required.

Your personal statement should refer specifically to your reasons for wishing to study in the UK, and why you have chosen your area of study.

For UK applicants, you don't need to provide a personal statement with your application unless you are applying for:

  • a Pre-Registration Masters course
  • our MA Social Work
  • a Masters course within our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
  • the Essex MBA

Please check our course pages for specific entry requirements for all of our Masters courses.

How to write your personal statement

This is your chance to personalise your application. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your suitability and passion for your subject. Your goal should be to convince our postgraduate admissions tutors that you are capable and motivated. Your personal statement needs to show why you want to study at the University of Essex. Clear connections between your most recent study and experience with your chosen Masters courses are essential and you should provide a commentary on reasons for your choice. You should also demonstrate how postgraduate study will build on your current level of learning.

Getting started

Why do you want to do your course? 

You should express your enthusiasm and motivation to study the course. Don’t just try to write what you think our postgraduate admissions tutors want to hear, talk about your own reasons. Write about any projects, dissertations or extended essays that are relevant or demonstrate relevant skills. Mention any prizes you've won, as well as any travel, time studying abroad and relevant employment you think may make you a good candidate for your course.  

Why your subject?

Be clear about your subject choice. When did you become interested in this subject and what have you learned about it so far? What insights have you gained? How have you learned about this subject, for example through classes, seminars, work, or even conversations with academic staff? 

How is your first degree relevant now? 

Highlight any assignments or projects which are relevant or where you’ve done well. Include relevant skills you've gained, for example computing, knowledge of data analysis software, or relevant scientific techniques etc. Explain any circumstances that may have affected your academic results, that you think should be considered. 

Why Essex? 

Give reasons why you have chosen to study at Essex and prove that you are familiar with who we are and what we stand for. Explain what you feel Essex has to offer, why that appeals to you, and how you will be able to contribute. 

Are there specific academic staff members you want to work with? 

You may want to research who you will be working with so that you can explain why you would like to work with them and what you will learn from them. Focus on what academic publications they've written and what their research is on, then explain why this interests you.

How are you going to step up to the advanced level of postgraduate study? 

Our postgraduate admissions selectors want to be convinced that you are going to cope well with this a level of study. 

What personal skills can you offer? 

Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework about the course you're applying for and that you’ve seriously considered your strengths and weaknesses for postgraduate study. If you have worked during vacations, what skills have you gained? These might include team working, communication or working under pressure. Have you had to overcome any obstacles or hardships in your life? This may show evidence of determination. 

What are your career aims? 

You may not have clear focus on what you want to do after you graduate from Essex, but you should have some ideas. A clear direction will strengthen your commitment to do well in your studies and selectors will know this. Your desire to become a lawyer or lecturer, for example, should be a logical result of specific experience in your statement.

Postgraduate admissions team
Graduate Admissions
Want to know more? If you have any questions about submitting a personal statement with your postgraduate application, get in touch with our friendly admissions team who will be able to help.