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Assessing your master's application

The University of Manchester provides many postgraduate taught courses. These are advanced level qualifications normally taken after a bachelor's or undergraduate degree.

Most postgraduate taught courses involve 12 months of full-time study and lead to one of the following qualifications:

  • postgraduate certificate (PGCert);
  • postgraduate diploma (PGDip);
  • master’s (MA, MSc).

The University of Manchester seeks to recruit students of outstanding achievement and potential from all educational backgrounds.

Good degree results from recognised institutions are the main factors in assessing postgraduate taught applications. However, we also use other sources of information to ensure we admit students with the most outstanding potential. These might include:

  • prior and predicted grades;
  • evidence of knowledge and commitment in your application;
  • academic references;
  • professional expertise;
  • performance at interview.

We receive many excellent applications each year. Many of our courses receive numerous applications for each available place so regrettably we can’t offer places to all applicants who attain the minimum entry qualifications.

Where places are limited we offer them to those eligible applicants who best meet our selection criteria and who, in our view, are most likely to benefit from their chosen course and contribute both to their academic School and the wider university.

For more information on the key principles of our recruitment, selection and admissions policy, download our Student Admissions Policy (PDF document, 326 KB).

Taught master's admissions framework

Our admissions framework supports our principles of fair and transparent admissions. It outlines the different stages in our selection process and demonstrates how we form a final decision via an overall consideration of each application.

Our admissions framework comprises four stages:

Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4
Achieved and predicted qualifications – the required degree classification as outlined in the course entry requirements or overseas equivalent. All applicants will need to meet our English language requirements. Additional requirements, as evidenced by your references and supporting information submitted with your application. Aptitude test and selection processes. Confirmation, offer and acceptance.

Course information

Our academic Schools decide which stages are used in selecting students for each course. You can find this information in our individual course profiles. You can find the course listings for taught master’s study programmes on the main site.

The information on the course listings includes: entry requirements; course specific selection and assessment criteria and processes; course structure; teaching and learning; coursework and assessment; fees; funding; attendance requirements; professional accreditation and employability outcomes.

Stage 1 – Achieved and predicted qualifications

We consider academic achievement on the basis of the information you provide in your application. For most of our courses, a good degree classification is the main factor in securing a place. We adhere to the following key principles to ensure that we consider all applicants equally at this stage.

  • We welcome applications from students achieving excellence from a wide range of academic institutions.
  • Evidence of recent study is generally required for our courses, but we also consider relevant skills learnt through work experience or professional accreditation.

The University welcomes students from all over the world and we invite applications from students whose previous education has not included UK qualifications.

Applications from international students will be assessed against the standard entry criteria. We have experience in considering a wide range of international qualifications, and our International Office provides advice and guidance for applicants who may wish to discuss whether their qualifications will meet our criteria.

For your application to be successful you will need to satisfy our general entry requirements and also the requirements of your chosen course. This will include providing evidence of English language proficiency. More information on acceptable English language qualifications can be found here.

Stage 2 – Additional requirements

You may need to meet further non-academic requirements for admission, such as providing evidence of transferable skills or professional experience in a relevant area.

Our admissions staff consider all the information submitted as part of your application, including your academic references. If you‘re missing any documents used for the assessment of your application we’ll request these from you through the postgraduate self-service system.  We may also draw on previous applications to The University of Manchester as part of the assessment process. This assessment takes place either immediately after stage 1 or at interview.

Please note that mitigating circumstances must be disclosed at the point of application or as soon as they happen in order to be considered alongside your application.

Stage 3 – Aptitude test and selection processes

You may need to undertake an aptitude test or additional measures as part of our entry requirements for your course. If this is required it will be listed under “application and selection” on the course profile. This may include:

  • producing a portfolio of work;
  • undertaking a test, such as the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);
  • writing an essay.

We may invite you to attend an interview as part of the admissions process. In these cases please be aware of the following:

  • each course has specific criteria for interview which are explained in the course profile;
  • interviews allow our academic Schools to look for aspects of skills, suitability and experience that cannot easily be assessed by other methods.

We will consider your performance against the above measures alongside all the other information we have from your application.

Stage 4 – Confirmation, offer and acceptance

When we receive final degree results and any other academic requirements we will confirm the places of those applicants who have met the terms of their offer. In order to be confirmed as a student you will be required to accept your offer. You can do this at either the conditional or unconditional offer stage.

All applicants who are offered a place to study at the University will receive an offer letter detailing the terms and conditions of the offer. This will include details of any individual requirements that need to be fulfilled before an applicant can be admitted to the University. Offer letters will be sent out either by post or as an email attachment. The terms and conditions of any offer can be found here.

Additional information

Reapplications and registration

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.

In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service: dass@manchester.ac.uk.