Master your application: Applying for Masters

14 / 03 / 17

4th year is a difficult time for a law student. On top of a mammoth dissertation and crucial exams, students must also take considerable effort to prepare for life after university. Not tempted by the thought of an immediate graduate job or the diploma, I decided to apply for a few master’s degrees abroad. I liked the idea of studying in a foreign country and gaining specialist knowledge in a subject I was really passionate about.

As I have now finished applying for international master’s programmes, I figured it would be useful to share some tips and knowledge with those of you who may decide to follow the same path as I.


Research thoroughly…

Please be sure to research degrees thoroughly so that you make the right choice of where to apply. For research, look no further than This website is honestly amazing. It gives you all the information you could possibly need, with details of pricing, admission requirements, language requirements etc. on each individual course. It also provides links to the specific programmes on the university websites which is really useful.


Check deadlines

Be sure to check deadlines for applications as early as possible. I didn’t realise until after Christmas that one of the degrees I wanted to apply for had an application deadline in mid- January, which meant that I had a hectic few weeks trying to get everything ready in time. Avoid being unorganized like myself and do your research well in advance!


Apply early

Be sure to apply early, as early as you possibly can! A lot of foreign universities operate on a first come, first served basis so you increase your chances of admission if you submit your application quickly. Even if you are applying to universities that do not operate in this way, it is always useful to apply early anyway, as you will most likely receive a decision on admission quicker. I know that Dutch universities, for instance, aim to give students a decision on admission within 4 weeks of an application being submitted.

Early application is also important from a workload point of view as it will be a lot easier completing applications when the workload is low e.g. in January when you are not yet overly stressed about the dissertation.


Prepare the correct documents for the application

Be aware that the application process takes a lot of time and you will be expected to supply your potential university with many different documents.

Underneath I have provided an overview of the documents you will be expected to provide as part of your application;

  • a motivation letter (documenting why you want to study your chosen course),
  • a CV,
  • 2 recommendation letters (written by lecturers/advisers or those that know you in a professional capacity),
  • a copy of your current transcript of grades (you have to request these from Dundee University Registry beside the Union, £10 a copy or £12 if it has to be delivered to your potential university),
  • A letter containing date of expected graduation (again, can be requested from registry).

It does take time and effort to get this ready so I again stress the importance of being organised!


Meet your conditions

If you, like me, are applying for a master’s course without having completed an undergraduate degree first, you will receive conditional offers. Try your very best to meet these conditions, otherwise the hard graft you put in for the application will mean nothing.

So those are my best tips for applying for a master’s degree abroad. If I had known all this before I applied, life would have been so much easier! I can only hope that my advice will find somebody who can make good use of it! If you are thinking of applying – I wish you the best of luck!

This blog was written by our fundraising Vice President, Euan Arnott