When do postgraduate programmes start?

Most postgraduate programmes start in September. A number of programmes also have a January start date.

When should I apply?

Applications can be made 12 months prior to start of programme. There is no need to have completed your current degree before applying.

It is recommended that you apply at least 6 months prior to the start of degree to allow adequate time for all paperwork to be processed. 

For international students applying to Taught programmes, there may be a deadline. This deadline is there to ensure students have sufficient time to complete the application process and apply for their visa, in order to arrive in Aberdeen on time. Some programmes may have specific application deadlines - check the department website before applying. Any applications received after the stated deadline will be considered for the next available intake.  

There is no deadline for those students classified as UK or EU applicants, but please ensure you allow enough time for your application to be processed (approximately 4 weeks) and for you to make arrangements to come to Aberdeen in time for the start of session.

Most Research programmes can be started at any time and therefore there is no application deadline (unless you are applying for an advertised studentship or research project). Start dates are usually agreed with the relevant College.

How do I apply?

Postgraduate applications are made via our online Postgraduate Applicant Portal.

For help with using the applicant portal watch this short video:



In-Service Education programme applications are made via a separate application form. Please note that applications for the PGDE in Primary or Secondary Education must be made through UCAS Teacher Training (formerly GTTR). Please do not attempt to apply directly to the University of Aberdeen via our online application system, or contact us for an application form. Applicants should note that although there is no official closing date, early application is encouraged.

What documents do I need to submit along with my application?

Until you submit your initial application, the Postgraduate Applicant Portal allows you to save your progress and return to your saved application/s to make changes whenever you like. When you are ready to submit your initial application, you will be required to include the following documents:

  • Original transcript. If your degree is not yet completed an original transcript to present date is required. A good scanned copy should be uploaded to the Postgraduate Applicant Portal at initial application stage. Full instructions are available online via your Postgraduate Applicant Portal.
  • A Personal Statement is an essential requirement of your application and is your opportunity to sell yourself to the University. Your statement can be of any length, and the Postgraduate Applicant Portal allows you to upload your statement in a choice of formats (Word, PDF etc.). Once complete, your statement should be uploaded to the Portal and submitted as part of your initial application.

You will also be required to upload the following documents (where applicable), either at initial application stage or post submission. The Postgraduate Applicant Portal is set up to allow you to upload these relevant documents even though you may have already submitted your initial application:

  • A valid IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic, or Cambridge CAE/CPE certificate (if English is not your first language). A good scanned copy should be uploaded to the Postgraduate Applicant Portal either at initial application stage, or post-submission. Full instructions are available online via your Postgraduate Applicant Portal. If you have not yet taken a test please state your anticipated test date on the application and then upload your certificate results as soon as you have them.
  • Degree certificate(s) (where applicable). A good scanned copy should be uploaded to the Postgraduate Applicant Portal either at initial application stage, if appropriate, or post-submission. Full instructions are available online via the Postgraduate Applicant Portal. 
  • Reference(s) – some programmes may have specific requirements which differ from what is stated below. They may ask for more, or they may ask for employer references instead of academic. Make sure you check before submitting your application. Please note that references can be uploaded via the Postgraduate Applicant Portal either at initial application stage, or post-submission. Full instructions are available online via your Postgraduate Applicant Portal.

Do I need to supply academic or employer references?

For Research programmes two academic references are required.

For Taught programmes (MBA, MSc, MLitt, MRes etc), if you have a first degree from an institution outside the UK, a small number of our degrees may require you to provide one reference. Please refer to the individual programme web page for more details. You can search our degrees here

Please note that your references must be on institutional headed paper and be signed by referee(s). They can be uploaded online to the Applicant Portal either at initial application stage, or post-submission (if the referee permits the reference to be shared with you), or can be sent directly to University in a sealed envelope, or emailed.

Do I need to take an English language test?
Applicants whose native language is not English will need to provide evidence of English language proficiency. This should be done via an IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic, or Cambridge CAE/CPE English language qualification. The test must have been taken within 2 years of the programme start date. For more information about the scores needed, please visit http://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/international/english-requirements.php

I have submitted my application to the University, what happens now?

Once you have submitted your online application you will receive an email acknowledgement from the University. Submitted applications are then passed to the Graduate Schools for consideration and you can keep track of the progress of your application via your Postgraduate Applicant Portal.  The School will review your application/s and decide whether an offer can be made. Successful applicants are sent either a conditional or unconditional offer via email.

How long should I expect to wait for a decision on my application?

The University endeavours to process all applications for Taught programmes within 7 days of receipt. Applications for Research degrees can take longer to process.

In both cases this is dependent upon applications being submitted complete with suitable supporting documents and references as required. The admissions team are unable to process applications until all relevant documents are received.

Do I require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate for the programme I am studying?

Overseas applicants for some Science, Engineering or Technology disciplines may require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. The ATAS certificate must be obtained before applying for a visa. For more information visit www.fco.gov.uk/atas

I have been made an offer, what do I do now?

You will be sent an Offer Letter, Acceptance/Decline and Financial Guarantee Form, via email. You must complete and return these to the Postgraduate Admissions Office, which you should do preferably via email. Once we have received all the necessary documentation, and you have met any remaining conditions of your offer (if applicable), you will be 'cleared for admission'. You will then be sent a Certificate of Acceptance which, if you are an overseas student, will allow you to begin arrangements for obtaining your student visa.